Island of the Sharks, originally released in the IMAX format, was written and directed by Howard Hall. Narrated by Linda Hunt, the film is set on Cocos Island, a Costa Rican National Park, which is the largest uninhabited island in the world. Along with hammerheads and white-tipped reef sharks, the film also presents the audience with images of marlins, sea lions, starfish, eel rays, manta rays, hermit crabs, flounders, green turtles, and goat fish, among others.
IMAX films are generally known for their ability to captivate audiences with breathtaking images of the subject material. Island of the Sharks is no different, as it showcases many spectacular and beautiful underwater vistas. Watching as a pack of white-tipped reef sharks hunt prey at night or seeing sea lions corral a herd of fish into a tornado-esque funnel to pick them off one by one are just two of the fantastic scenes captured in this film.
For a film titled Island of the Sharks, you would assume that the titular creatures would be the focus of the film. Not so in this case, as the footage of the several types of sharks that appear throughout the film easily consists of less than half of the 41 minute running time. Instead, the film mostly focuses on all of the varied aquatic life around Cocos Island and how life shifts and changes during El Nino. The sharks, though, are given more screen time than any other particular creature. While a few IMAX films seem to have a message, this one avoids that, focusing entirely on exposing the audience to the world of Cocos Island. Though I was a bit disappointed that the sharks weren't the main focus, Island of the Sharks was always interesting and moved at a quick pace.
Island of the Sharks is presented in 1.33:1, which is the closest aspect ratio to the IMAX presentation. The transfer is excellent, remaining well-defined throughout. Print flaws are rare, but include a few specks, some slight enhancement in a few scenes, and one or two small scratches. Colors are vibrant and rich, with natural flesh tones and deep blacks.
Island of the Sharks is presented in DTS 5.1 in English and Dolby Digital 5.1 in English or French.
With the film taking place almost entirely underwater, the tracks were not that active, mostly consisting of movement sounds. The film's score sounded fantastic, however, and added an air of suspense to several of the shark scenes. Dialogue throughout was crisp and clean with no distortion. No optional subtitles are included.
The main extra on the disc is the 'Making Of' documentary that clocks in around thirty-four minutes. Almost as interesting as the main feature, the documentary was filled with lots of information, from how the feature was primarily filmed underwater around sharks with heavy cameras, to giving more information about many of the numerous aquatic creatures that populated the film. Definitely worth viewing if you enjoyed the main feature.
Trailers for this film and Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure, as well as biographies for the filmmakers, credits, and a trivia quiz, round out the disc.
Though the title is somewhat misleading, Island of the Sharks is another great IMAX film that fans should definitely find interesting. The DVD, from Image Entertainment, presents the film with a terrific audiovisual presentation and has a great 'making of' documentary at a reasonable price.