I don't know about you, but I will watch anything about sharks. To me they are some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet, some of the most perfected alpha predators, as they glide silently through the depths of the ocean. When Universal Home Entertainment sent over the Jean-Michel Cousteau documentary "Sharks" this way on Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray 3D, it was a non-brainer for me to take a closer look.
Trying to cover a wide array of different sharks, the film begins with a look at sand tiger sharks and from there continues on to visit a series of reef shark species before going into the deep blue of the open ocean.
Jean-Michel Cousteau has been following in the footsteps of his father, Jacques Cousteau, who was one of the first nature filmmakers to bring the life of the world's oceans onto people's television screens, for many years. Upon watching "sharks," however, I have to say that I was a little underwhelmed, if not to say disappointed.
The reason for that is that I felt there were a couple of things wrong with this film. While the footage of animal life beneath the sea is nice, it is also unimpressive. Starting with the sand tigers in waters so murky that you can't even see the entire animal does very little to highlight the elegance of the creatures. While the quality of footage improves over time, it is sorely lacking the hook that draws viewers in entirely, keeping them mesmerized at the beauty of the oceans.
The other issue I had was the narrator. Not only does the voice-over feel horrible detached and stilted, to make matters worse ,the narrator actually pronounces some less common fish names incorrectly. As a result, the narration always keeps viewers at a distance, never drawing them in or intriguing them.
The next big issue is the music. While the style of music might be perfectly suitable for the film, it is unfortunately so loud that it completely drowns out the narration. Whoever created the mix didn't seem to understand that the ambient music is supposed to be, well, ambiance, and should not take over the feature presentation.
Presented in 1080p high definition, the image quality of the release is very good throughout, with a high level of detail, rich colors — the blues in particular, as you might have expected — that never show any banding artifacts or limitations. Rich in texture and with good contrast, the images a very pleasing throughout. I have not been able to examine the 3D presentation on this release.
The film includes DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio tracks in a number of languages. While the quality of the track is fine, as I pointed out earlier, the mix is not, creating a very unbalanced presentation as a whole.
"Sharks" is good enough to watch, but you can get a better look at sharks during the Discovery Channel's annual "Shark Week," to be honest. This film, while nice,is unspectacular and unimpressive on the whole, making for little more than a one-time viewing.