Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shark! Shark! Fab New IMAX Documentary Great White Shark

Great White Shark - IMAX Documentary Review

By Anne Brodie Oct 17, 2013, 12:14 GMT

Great White Shark - IMAX Documentary Review
Misrepresented, maligned and on the verge of extinction, the great white shark is an iconic predator: the creature we love to fear. Great White Shark will explore the great white\'s place in. ...more

The shark is one of the most filmed and documented marine animal probably because it is probably the most feared. There is plenty of emotion attached to sharks; we’re fascinated by these predatory creatures who take their place at the top of the underwater food chain.
We have understandable fear of them and their rows of hundreds of sharp teeth, their mighty musculature and agile, skeleton-less bodies. They represent silent death, the stuff of nightmares, and maybe we’re all wrong about them.
Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1975 film Jaws set us down an unfortunate path by creating irrational fears of full scale, unprovoked attacks on humans. The media was filled with hysterical stories of shark sightings that summer. People stopped swimming. There were some shark victims, but no more than in any given time period. Shark hunting became a mania fueled in part by Spielberg’s film. It was war.
The word “shark” became part of our negative vocabulary. It’s a pejorative meaning cheater, deceiver. “Jumping the shark” became a popular phrase meaning a loss of meaning, a decline. “Swimming with sharks” means fighting for supremacy using extreme force.
What did the shark do to deserve this ignominy? And why is it now on the verge of extinction? Is it because of our irrational fears? Filmmakers Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas traveled to the world’s shark hot spots - Mexico, South Africa, Los Angeles and New Zealand to find answers.
The result is Great White Shark, an IMAX mediation and investigation into their lives, habits and history. We learn a lot in 70 minutes. The shark is most certainly unfairly maligned. It feeds like any other creature, and it also shares space with “prey” paying it no mind.
The film’s divers discovered that the sharks are many things besides aggressive. They can be friendly and shy and fun loving. After many dives without cages or even air tanks, not a soul was harmed. The film offers a fascinating and sympathetic angle on the shark question.
Speaking of diving with sharks without a cage or air tanks, that’s what happened. Hard to imagine, but “free diver” Francois Leduc says it was the best way to spend intimate, close range time with the sharks, wearing just fins and goggles, in full proximity. At points the divers were surrounded but there was never threat.
Leduc says that he detected signs of personality in the sharks he followed. A large female (females are bigger than males) hung around them for an entire day but was too shy to approach. Another shark which Leduc reckons was a teenager aggressively mock attacked them and then returned the next day only to come close with curiosity rather than aggression.
As a film produced with education in mind, Great White Shark steers clear of graphic violent images. That’s not to say there isn’t anything shocking or exciting. There is. And the cinematography is nothing short of breathtaking, giving us the full IMAX feel of the oceans and the sharks surrounding us.
It’s a terrific film for all ages, and as the producers hope, might help allay irrational fears of the Great White Shark and save its life. But it’s not simply educational, it’s a visceral experience and highly entertaining.
Written and directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, narrated by Bill Nighy
Open Now at the Ontario Science Centre in Canada, the US and Mexico
Runtime: 70 minutes
Country: USA
Language: English

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