Shark Week - The Great Bites Collection [Blu-ray]
Review by Gary Tooze
TV: Discovery Channel
Video: Discovery Channel
Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 46,911,124,992 bytes
Feature Size: 38,872,399,872 bytes
Video Bitrate: 11.97 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside a cardboard box
Release date: June 14th, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1983 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1983 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Extras: (all in SD)
• Shark Attack Files (50:01)
Description: Where in the world can you find the strangest and most deadly sharks? Why do sharks sometimes prey on humans? When are you most likely to be attacked? And what can you do to avoid becoming shark food? If you're hungry for answers, join the experts and some of Discovery Channel's bravest hosts as they go swimming with the ocean's most feared predator to answer all your biting questions.
Sharks. The allure of the unknown - the potential for danger and even death - and the educational factor all mark the appeal of Shark Week: the Great Bites Collection. Beyond reenactments you don't see any footage of live attacks on humans and there are both pros and cons to a package like this. On the positive the size - including the extras it's almost 9-hours of features and the initial 6 are in HD. It, hence, covers an immense amount of ground and is kind of nice to have in my collection for periodic reference although I wouldn't say the information factor is overwhelming - it is still viable. Negatively, there are short scenes repeated from one special to another, while it could have been even more sensationalist - it still retains some of that element and finally the video is interlaced (inherently I believe).
Content-wise there are 6 'specials' previously aired on TV entitled - Surviving Sharks, How Not To Become Shark Bait, Mysteries Of The Shark Coast, Mythbusters, Day Of The Shark and Dirty Jobs: Greenland Shark Quest. These represent the HD portion of the Blu-ray and vary between 4 at 40-minutes to 2 at 1.5 hours with the total time being almost 6 hours. Then there are 3 SD 'specials' - Shark Attack Files (50:01), Jobs That Bite (1:21:00) and Jobs That Bite Harder (41:44).
There is a huge amount of shark footage and I'd say most of each of the first 5 segments are majority of the time underwater. Being interlaced, even on Blu-ray, the image is never crisp. The proximity to sharks can be as close as possible and with remote cameras you are practically in their mouths at times. Shot on HD, there is no grain and brightness (as in sunsets) is occasionally blown out. This is only dual-layered with a pretty puny video bitrate of less than 12 Mbps. The appeal lies more in the footage than the image quality which is probably close to how it was originally shot. In short, you won't be blow-away by the image quality. Nothing stands out as brilliant - not colors, detail or contrast.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is DTS-HD 5.1 at 1983 kbps but doesn't have notable separation beyond the occasional intense musical rift. It is mostly narration since on-boat communication is limited. It's clear and clean but reasonably unremarkable. There are optional English subtitles. My Momitsu tells me this disc is region-locked to 'A'.
The supplements are 3 more specials at almost 3 hours in SD. They'd probably be considered lesser featurettes as compared to the first 6 but are still include information about sharks although the two 'jobs that bite' sections are more filler but they are still interesting.
July 12th, 2009
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Gary W. Tooze