Amanda is a junior high student faced with her father working out of town and always being left at home alone. While taking her frustrations out on the closed cannery where her father used to work, she happens to see an old man (Hume Cronyn) climbing the bridge over the ocean. After he jumps in the water she follows in an attempt to save him, only to discover that he didn't need saving at all. The old man, Mr. McRae offers to take her back to his house to clean her up and let her meet his wife. When she arrives she quickly assumes that things aren't as they seem with the McRae's.
They act strangely with her and eat things like seaweed and drink a foul tasting seaweed tea. She makes a surprise visit later in the week and finds the couple submerged in separate tanks filled with seawater. Seemingly asleep, they do not notice her hasty retreat. Later confrontations lead to understanding and she becomes friends with these sea people-the men don't like being called mermaids. The more she learns about their life and their culture, the more she applies these things to her life. Her final, heartbreaking experience with the couple teaches her a great lesson about life and about herself.
Similar in tone to a Disney film, this Showtime picture is similar to the previously reviewed DVD Restless Spirits. They are both fairly standard teen-themed dramas with all the demographic characters and problems filled out. Comparable to a lengthy after-school-special, they transcend such mundane beginnings with their touch of fantasy, and in this case the wonderful acting of Cronyn. Appropriate for all ages, Sea People is a film that parents and children alike can safely enjoy.
Video: The 4:3 presentation preserves the aspect used when broadcast on television. Like most television films, the cinematography and lighting are not up to feature film standards and the resulting picture is at times dull and flat. Still, the film boasts several underwater scenes that come through clear. Aside from an occasional spot of grain or imperfection, the transfer is perfectly fine.
Audio: The Dolby surround mix is used only sparingly. The voices are easily heard and the music, when present, isn't overpowering. There is nothing amazing on the soundtrack because there doesn't need to be.
Extras: Made for TV, there are no extras on this disc with the exception of four trailers for other similar films.
Overall: More engaging than the other film in the series, this well acted coming of age tale is worth seeking out on Showtime or in the local DVD rental store. Suitable for all ages, it touches of the fantastic make it an entertaining film and worth watching.