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  Publicity Stills of "Shark Water"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Genre: Documentary
Director: Rob Steward
Cast: Rob Steward
RunTime: 1 hr 29 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.sharkwater.com

Opening Day: 17 January 2008


For filmmaker Rob Stewart, exploring sharks began as an underwater adventure.

What it turned into was a beautiful and dangerous journey into the balance of life on earth.

In an effort to protect sharks, Stewart teams up with renegade conservationist Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Their unbelievable adventure together starts with a battle between the Ocean Warrior and shark poachers in Guatemala, resulting in pirate boat rammings, gunboat chases, mafia espionage, corrupt court systems and attempted murder charges, forcing them to flee for their lives. Through it all, Stewart discovers these magnificent creatures have gone from predator to prey, and how despite surviving the earth's history of mass extinctions, they could easily be wiped out with a few years of human greed.

Stewart's remarkable journey of courage and determination changes from a mission to save the world's sharks, into a fight for his life, and that of humankind.

Short Movie Review:

Overall a good movie to highlight the plight of the sharks and Shark Water also boosts some fine underwater cinematography that should be seen in theatre to appreciate the awe of the underwater world and the creatures that inhibit it, specially the sharks. It also brought up the seedy workings of the suppliers of shark fins. However the director and main narrator/presenter of Shark Water appears to be rather narcistic as he often hogs the camera for the precious screen time that could have been spent in diving deeper into the problems that Sharks are currently facing.

Long Movie Review:

It’s about time that the plight of the sharks is being brought onto the big screen. The sharks have often been mislabel as fearsome and terror of the seas by various media, causing the general public to fear them. The Chinese appetite for their fins had made them a valuable commodity for the fishermen to haunt.

But are they as bad as it seems?

Let Shark Water paints you a different picture of what Sharks really are and the woes they are in. In this documentary, it laid out the baseless accusation against the Sharks and how the media often drum up incidents that involved with sharks to a mass frenzy.

Then it shows the awe of the under water world that the sharks inhibits. This is when it came to my mind, if anything that’s worth the reason to catch Shark Water in the theatre, this would be it. To see the majestic creatures swimming in the big screen with the amazing soundtrack would be probably the closest that most of the audience would ever get to the wonderment of these kings of the seas. Even for someone who did scuba diving, it’s still an amazement to witness such underwater cinematography.

Once this documentary was done serenading the viewers with the fabulous rich underwater world, it raise the problems that going on for the shark community. Bringing forth the issues that there no international laws governing the safety of sharks and how demand from Asia had driven the Western countries to haunt the sharks relentlessly.

This is where the tempo of the movie got excitingly faster as it showcases the mafia, the corrupted government and the seedy masterminds behind these massacres. If you ever want to see how money corrupts, this segment gives a taste of how powerful the demand of shark fin could do and how evil of men could be so triumphant. Hopefully the viewers could take home that what their demand and their money used to purchase the shark fins are actually financing and driving such evil acts against wild life.

Till a point, Shark Water was going to be the best documentary seen in recent years but there a nagging issue about this documentary that keep detracting me from overly recommending it.

Initially, the thing that kept me away from the trailer and reading the plotline was the poster itself. The main focus is on the director / presenter of this documentary, holding two fins in a brightly cartoon manner that bear resemblance to the poster for Sharkboy and LavaGirl and that really turn me away from this film project. After the show, taking a closer look, I realized that there was a shark but it only took less than 10 percent of the whole poster. In a way, it speaks volume of the director’s narcissism to me personally while other reviewer saw it as just another way of expressing the dire conditions of the sharks.

I agreed that Rob Stewart did a good job in presentation of the shark problems to the audience but I can’t shake off the feeling that he is also using the sharks’ plight to launch his bid for a space in the documentary field or other form of stardom that he is seeking for. Let’s just say his intention doesn’t seem as pure as he made out to be. Perhaps it’s his boyish good looks but somehow the manner Shark Water was handled and the frequent close up shots of himself (by himself) that make me wonder why isn’t those moments spend in exploring the deeper depths of the shark problems?

The biggest demand for the sharks’ demise comes from the Asian market and there’s definitely more to explore in the Asian culture than his single interview with an Asian Chinese couple who recently got married in the Chinese tradition or the hapless defense from a certain manager of an Asian company that sells Shark fin. Although he did a fine job in showcasing to us on one of the underhanded workings of the Shark fin supplier in the world, it seems that he barely scratch the surface of the demand that causing so much grief to the sharks.

And in this world, it’s the demands that drive the supplies.

While Shark Water didn’t take the approach to point the finger at what the main problem, let this review tell you. We the Chinese are the problem. You might not be able to sail out to the seas to fight the poachers but there’s way to stop this horrible and senseless slaughtering of sharks. If you consumed the shark fin soup, you are part of the demand. It’s also not enough that you do not order shark fin soup for your personal consumption. Stop consuming shark fin soups in wedding even it’s already ordered for and been served in front of you. If you are brave enough, you could help start a new tradition that override the old and stupid one that calls for such cruelty to such majestic creature of the seas. Don’t do something that you know it’s wrong. Don’t think it’s stupid to waste the shark fin soup because if one day, the sharks are driven to extinction, their blood is in your hand.

Movie Rating:

(A worthy showcase of the sharks’ current dire situation)

Review by
Richard Lim Jr


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