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Image Entertainment presents
Shark Week: 20th Anniversary Edition (1987-2007)

"Attacks on humans are so rare as to be statistically impossible. And when they strike, the only evidence is a corpse or a devastating wound."
- narration

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: October 11, 2007

Director: John Ruthven, Roberto Martha, Rodrigo Astiz, Jeff Kurr, Gavin Maxwell, Terry Ketler, Nigel Marven, Caterina Gennaro, Laura M. Seitz, John E. McKenney

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (some disturbing and frightening images)
Run Time: 11h:00m:00s
Release Date: July 10, 2007
UPC: 014381401622
Genre: special interest

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

The Discovery Channel took niche marketing to the next level way back in 1987 when they uncorked the debut of Shark Week, basically a week-long series of nightly docs all looking up close and personal at various aspects of the mysterious and misunderstood world of sharks. It was a rather clever bit of programming, one that quickly took root and became a regular thing, something that many Discovery Channel geeks ("Hello, my name is Rich") began to look forward to each year. This four-disc 20th Anniversary Collection—complete with spiffy lenticular cover a Great White in-action—compiles fourteen of the best episodes of the past two decades and delivers 11 hours worth of danger, education and beauty.

What's great about this set is that you can take your time, go out of sequence or have your own mini-marathon. There's no real connectivity between any of the episodes, save for disc three's Air Jaws and Air Jaws II, which looks at the majestic leaping attack methods of the Great Whites in South Africa followed by attempts to "teach" the sharks of Australia to do the same via a robotic seal. These two provide some great nature eye candy, as Great Whites are always the stars of any self-respecting Shark Week, even when an ep like Shark Hunter: Chasing The Great White looks at Frank "Monster Man" Mundus, the man who supposedly was the inspiration for the character of Quint in Jaws; to further that Jaws linkage, Roy Scheider provides the narration for that episode.

And this set does try to deflect a little of that resounding Great White star power with segments like Bull Shark: The World's Deadliest Shark, which does a downright scary job of reminding viewers just how dangerous these creatures can be. Anatomy Of A Shark Bite also reinforces this notion, filled with very alarming footage of a shallow water shark attack. But the recurring money shot is the Great White, because we've been more or less conditioned to think that when we think of Shark Week, and so there's no shortage of the big guy here across these four discs, even if it's seemingly softer material such as Jaws Of The Pacific, which follows their previously unknown migration patterns from Northern California to Hawaii.

There's some grim stuff here—folks missing limbs, rays getting chomped in half—as all types of shark continue to do their collective thing, and the premise of the Shark Week experience feeds of that armchair fascination by combining education with a thrill-ride mentality. I've learned to avoid Brazil's seaside town of Recife, and quite honestly there are some U.S. waters I'm not terribly interested in setting foot in. But I like learning about sharks, and The Discovery Channel typically does a very nice job blending education and entertainment, and with 14 episodes about the toothy lives of sharks they do it again.

The episodes in this collection are:
Shark Attack Rescuers
Shark Attack Survivors
Anatomy Of A Shark Bite
Prehistoric Sharks
Future Shark
Bull Shark: The World's Deadliest Shark
Jaws Of The Pacific
Sharks In A Desert Sea
Air Jaws: Sharks Of South Africa
Air Jaws II: Even Higher
American Shark
Shark Rebellion
Shark Hunter: Chasing The Great White
Shark Bite! Surviving Great Whites

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 1.33:1 fullframe transfers look solid, carrying bright colors, especially on segments like the more recent Shark Hunter. The occasional soft edge is fairly tolerable, as many of these programs were shot under diverse conditions or compiled from assorted archival clips. The prints, even on the older ones, are clean looking, with no measurable level of debris or dirt.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: All segments are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. Nothing gimmicky, just deep, clean narration and clear-sounding interviews, funneled through a mix that replicates the television viewing experience fairly accurately. A couple of the newer episodes are somewhat fuller than do the older ones, but overall the presentation is even-keeled and more than workable.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 84 cues and remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Discovery Atlas
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
4 Discs
4-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: No extras, but the packaging is nice. Each of the four discs are housed in separate thin Nexpak cases, each of which features a sequential shot of a Great White opening its big jaws. The lenticular motion cover on the slipcase is combination of these four separate images, and the effect is nicely done.

Each disc features an identical four-minute preview for the series Discovery Atlas under the heading Discovery Channel Recommends.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

There's a whole lot of shark going on here, as The Discovery Channel repackages 14 favorite episodes of their annual week-long shark-a-palooza.

This has convinced me that it is still not safe to get back in the water.


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