Rob Stewart will fall into one of two categories, depending on how you feel about sharks; he’s either a visionary genius or a stark raving lunatic. There is no middle ground when it comes to his passion for re-educating us about one of the most feared – and misunderstood – species on our planet.
Whether or not you believe Rob’s claims that the survival of the shark is paramount to our own survival depends on your preconception of green issues and how you feel about eco-warriors. But believe him or not, I would challenge anyone to say that one of the main focuses of this documentary – shark fining – is an acceptable form of gathering food. The barbarity of cutting the fin off a live shark and then tossing it’s still living carcass into the sea to die a slow, agonising death has to be one of the most barbaric actions of all forms of ‘fishing.’
Sharkwater is an attempt at re-educating our perceptions of sharks, but it’ also a beautifully filmed documentary that can hold it’s own against anything the BBC produces, what’s more it has the fly on the wall action that wouldn’t be out of place on some of those American cop shows – with Rob’s ship being rammed, chased by machine gun toting patrol boats, or being arrested for his activities, it’s an action packed, edge of your seat ride.
The only disappointing thing about the Sharkwater DVD is the special features; the two that sounded the most interesting turned out to be essentially re-hashes of each other. Also missing, was an update on what has happened since the film was made. Having seen the documentary during its theatrical release last year, I was hoping to see Rob update us on what is happening in the world of shark preservation.
However, the funniest thing on of all, is the inclusion of a United States Air Force Training Film about dealing with shark attacks. It was produced in the 60’s and is hilarious, especially after watching Sharkwater.
For more information of the subjects raised in this documentary, goto: sharkwater.com
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read
Rating: PG – Parental guidance is recommended for younger viewers.
Released on: February 4th, 2009
Year of Original Release: 2006
Media Format: DVD
Director: Stewart, Rod
Studio: Walt Disney Studios