BMZ Review: Sharks 3D
By Ross Anthony
Wonderfully deep, blue and mysterious, the production stays underwater for the duration. Never a human on screen, sharks are the stars. But sea lions, dolphins, and a chatty sea turtle co-star.
Geoffrey Bateman narrates as if the voice of the turtle MC. Scripted in an informal teenage American text, Bateman's mature British accent contrasts. The match is odd, but works despite. Actually, at my particular screening the sound failed for the first 40 seconds. I'm sure the filmmakers were having a fit, but I kind of enjoyed the appropriately ominous silence. Ah, but then I would have missed the thunderously wonderful score (I'm listening to it now).
Prior to this press screening, we were promised a film with great shots, great direction and great score. Admittedly, I was both surprised and impressed that the promise actually holds water.
Technically, all of the 3-D is solid save for a few seconds of difficult focusing. The jelly fish scenes actually hover out into the audience, the rest is less wowing, but still solid. And despite being HD digital tape instead of film, the production works fine on the big screen. In fact, such an undertaking would have been virtually impossible if not for HD.
The silky eye of the slithering shark, small golden fish flicker by. Jellyfish float right off the screen into the seats, they fill the screen like small helium filled balloons. Shimmering schools, literally walls of silvery fish glitter, scatter, dance as a mass. They are the opening curtains for the sharks. A beautifully mysterious, eerily lovely, dangerously elegant production.
Jean-Michel Cousteau (son of Jacques) and his Oceanfutures.org support and endorse this film. In fact, he and cinematographer Gavin Mckinney hung out after the production to tell a few fish stories.
I'd assumed the film was shot on a mix of 70mm film and digital tape so I asked Gavin what format he used. Surprisingly he told me it was all shot on tape, using Cameron's HD 750 rigs. If those are the same cameras used on Ghosts of the Abyss I had to tell him, then Sharks looks much better.
The point was made over and over that sharks for the most part aren't all that interested in eating humans. In fact, Gavin told of a time when he shot the school of hundreds of hammerheads, he held his breath until his face turned blue ... not because he was scared, but because he didn't want to scare them away with his bubbles.
Cousteau bubbled over with stories. Stories of sharks mating, of orcas being the true kings of the sea. He told me of a time when two orcas that they were filming took off and then returned with a shark between their teeth -- as if to show off their power for the camera. But Cousteau says, there isn't a single incident where they'd attacked a human (the captive ones may be an exception, he added). He talked about these animals as if they were bar pals. Alluding to a shark eating shark scene in the film, "That great hammerhead is a regular, he's always waiting for that dead female reef shark."
SHARKS 3D. Copyright © 2005.
Narrated by Geoffrey Bateman.
Directed by Jean-Jacques Mantello.
Text by David Chocron.
Produced 3D Entertainment/Gavin McKinney Underwater.
Copyright © 1998-2004. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: www.RossAnthony.com. For Adult & Teen Novels written by Ross Anthony visit: www.RossAnthony.com/books.
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