Blu-ray Review: Jean-Michel Cousteau Presents SHARKS 3D

John Gholson

by: John Gholson
June 21st, 2011

SHARKS 3D isn’t a movie exactly, but a museum attraction. Created for IMAX theatres in 2004, the short film (42 minutes) is a primer for ocean life, with a focus on sharks, but also a lot of long sideways glances at schools of sardines and dolphins as well. There’s no narrative to speak of, and no real meat in regards to educational information - just some thin stats delivered by a British-accented sea turtle who serves as our narrator.

This is an all-ages trip undersea, after all, so those expecting gruesome Shark Week thrills should look elsewhere. Instead, the camera captures gorgeous images of sea creatures, set to dramatic new age-y electronica music. Every once in a while the turtle will tell you how large an animal is or crack an incredibly lame joke, but that’s really it. Mostly, it’s just you and the fishes. Yes, this is basically sea porn.

If you happen to own a 3D television, this might very well be your new demo Blu-ray. The underwater photography is stunning, even if the action is more soothing than you’d expect for a film titled SHARKS 3D. There’s more true depth here than in any of the post-converted Hollywood blockbusters that have found their way onto 3D Blu. Shots that happen to point the camera to the surface of the water from underneath are so lifelike as to make your HD television feel like an aquarium full of Great Whites.

If you don’t own a 3D television, SHARKS 3D is probably not worth your time. While it will play in standard 2D, this was never the intent of the filmmakers, who shot this primarily as a “gee whiz” 3D attraction. It’s also too kiddie to be considered a worthwhile documentary, unless you have kids, and even then, the long stretches of music and images without the talking turtle may bore them.

Universal offers no special features on the disc, other than a wide variety of languages (it also has a confusing menu, featuring unintuitive icons instead of text). Again, for a 3D owner, this is a must-have as a demonstration disc, just don’t expect an actual movie you’ll watch again and again.

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