Tuesday, January 5, 2016

#1,968. Search for the Great Sharks (1995)

Directed By: Mal Wolfe

Starring: Joseph Campanella, Eugenie Clark, Rodney Fox

Line from the film: "Some sharks can fight off diseases, including malignant cancers"

Trivia: In Germany this film was released as Sharks: Rulers of the Sea

Sharks, those monsters of the ocean, have been demonized in such movies as Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, and Bait. But as the 1995 IMAX-produced motion picture Search for the Great Sharks reveals, they may not be so evil after all. In fact, if this film is to be believed, sharks might be the most misunderstood species on earth.

Two researchers: Dr. Eugenie Clark (who, at 70 years old, has spent more than half her life swimming among the sharks) and Rodney Fox (who, though he was nearly killed by a Great White, has grown to respect these sub-aquatic hunters), head out to sea to study various species of sharks, including the Whale Shark of Western Australia and even the dreaded Great White. Yet despite the danger they sometimes put themselves in, both Clark and Fox are quick to point out that, of the world’s 370 shark species, only 30 are known to attack man; and that these predators of the deep may hold the key to curing many diseases (according to Dr. Clark, some sharks can even fight off malignant cancers).

Via some gorgeous underwater photography, Search for the Great Sharks allows us to see these creatures in their natural habitat (the Whale Shark, the largest living fish in the world, is so docile that it let the researchers swim right next to it). Of course, it’s not all fun and games; In one tense sequence, Rodney Fox, encased in a protective tube, is standing on the ocean’s floor, surrounded by Great Whites, the very shark that “nearly tore him in two” in 1963 (it took 462 stitches to piece Mr. Fox back together). And while they do have a few close calls from time to time (at one point, while the two are in an underwater cage, Rodney Fox’s hand is bitten as he tries to feed a passing shark), Search for the Great Sharks does provide viewers with a new respect for these predators, who, as we see time and again over the course of this movie, are actually one of the ocean’s most majestic beasts.

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