Shark Week: 30th Anniversary Collection Review: More Bark than Bite

Other than the public's deep fascination with sharks, it's hard to understand how these oddly produced shows have been luring in viewers all these years.
  |   Comments

Available exclusively at Walmart until September, Shark Week: 30th Anniversary Collection celebrates the long-running cultural phenomenon that is Discovery Channel's Shark Week by presenting 10 programs, although the set skips over the first decade of the series. Other than the public's deep fascination with sharks, it's hard to understand how these oddly produced shows have been luring in viewers all these years.

While technically it is correct to identify itself as a "3-disc collection," that is slightly misleading as the Blu-ray and one of the DVDs both contain the same “5 Fan-Favorite Episodes”: Monster Mako (2015), Monster Hammerhead (2014), Great White Serial Killer Lives (2017), How Jaws Change the World (2012), Ultimate Air Jaws (2010). There are also “5 Vintage Episodes” on DVD: Prehistoric Sharks (1998), Sharks in a Desert Sea (1999), Air Jaws: Sharks of South Africa (2001), Diary of a Shark Man (2003), Bull Shark: World's Deadliest Shark (2004)

The shows are very similar in the way they were put together. They have a premise that incorporates very cool footage of sharks, alone and interacting with humans, combined with talking-head interviews of folks with various ocean-related backgrounds. Unfortunately, many of the programs repeat the shark scenes so often they lose their wow factor. Re-enactments are also used.

Wikipedia refers to a criticism the programming was receiving as being too fictional, which prompted a call to change direction by network executives. But the shows must have successful with viewers or they wouldn't have made so many. One of them is included: Monster Hammerhead, which refers to a legend of a shark called “Old Hitler.” Also seeming “too fictional” and utterly ridiculous is Great White Serial Killer Lives as it investigates whether the same shark returned to kill again at Surf Beach, CA.

As a fan of the Steven Spielberg film, I was very interested to learn How Jaws Change the World, but it just used scenes from the movie in order to share semi-related shark stories. Diary of a Shark Man presents Manny Puig, an animal wrangler who Jackass fans will recognize. He is fearless in his interactions with sharks.

The Blu-ray video has been given a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The picture exhibits is very good color and great depth and texture detail, such as scars seen on the shark bodies underwater. Ultimate Air Jaws delivers some of the greatest image clarity because of the use Phantom cameras, which shoot up to 1,000 frames a second. The audio is available in English Dolby Digital 2.0. The dialogue and minimal sounds effects come through clear, as does the score, which is used to exaggerated degrees at times to create tension and suspense.

Fans of the programs included in Shark Week: 30th Anniversary Collection should be happy to have them in one place. However, I didn't find there was enough shark footage to make me a fan. Your mileage may vary.

Follow Us