Monday, 15 August 2011

Shark Week Review Part 1 - "Killer Sharks"


Shark Week has been and gone and as I was in Fiji I missed it when it was aired, however, this means that by the wonder of internet file sharing, I can watch it without the commercials and thus not act as an empty vessel to be filled with desire to buy a load of crap off cynical advertisers! I believe the youngsters these days refer to that as "winning."

I thought it might be a bit of fun to watch the shows and review them here as I watch them so have decided to start off with "Killer Sharks - The Attacks of Black December" because I am a bit of an authority about shark attacks (in my own mind) and this is an area I have a bit of expertise in, plus, I intend to feature this historic event in the "From the Office..." film set in South Africa purely for a couple of fascinating elements of these attacks I am positive Discovery won't bother with in this show.

Here goes...

0:00 - 1:51 - Stupid pseudo growly American voiceover accompanies an African man being knocked from his boat and presumably eaten. This is an issue already because as far as I am aware this didn't actually happen. The first attack during Black December took place on 18th of December on a 16 year old lifesaver, not the 17th of December on an old black man in a boat...Not a good start...

1:52 - ... Black and white footage with a scripted pathe news report about the South African summer and people flocking to the beaches. Apparently news readers in 1950's South Africa spoke with American accents... as it seems, does everyone else. Obviously there is no such thing as South African actors.

2:41 - 4:41 Here we go, the Robert Wherley attack accompanied by some impressive blood and crunching sounds along with a rubber shark and a voiceover from an American man who says he was there despite most likely not having been because he's American and not South African...

5:19 "How many sharks were there?"
        "It's hard to say, the water was cloudy."

Oh right, because during the reconstruction the water was crystal clear...

5:48  Enter the mayor of Durban, Larry Vaughan. Oh, hang on, it's not the mayor in JAWS, may as well be though...

6:55  The Alan Green attack now which is preceeded by a carbon copy of the scenes before Alex Kintner is attacked in JAWS, replete with Sean-alike building a sandcastle. Will this have as much groovy gore (which admittedly looks pretty realistic) as the first attack? Let's find out...

8:54 An interesting take on the 50's bathing suit, a lot less conservative than I imagine they really were, on a rather buxom woman...We'll award one point for that. The attack isn't as gory but what's this?...A South African!!! Someone who was actually there!

10:10 A black man walks to the water's edge with a fishing rod...A black man, on a beach, with white people on it as well, during apartheid when most beaches were segregated. Nice one.

11:20 Oops I spoke too soon, the fisherman has had his rod torn from his hands and he has seen the shark so is on his toes into the "white area" to warn them of the shark. Yikes!

12:19 Vernon Barry has just been killed...by Caribbean Reef Sharks. In the Indian Ocean...

13:00  The Mayor has a touch of the "Lars Ulrich" about him and he's refusing to close the beaches. The daft sod.

14:28 "The spotter plane was a waste of time because the water was very muddy...you couldn't see the sharks"  - accompanied by an aerial shot of turquoise water and several clearly visible sharks.

16:24  Did fishermen really wear earrings in 1957?

17:20  More Caribbean Reef Sharks...IN THE INDIAN OCEAN!

18:46  A fishing boat leaves the dock to catch sharks...From Stuart Cove's in the Bahamas...with a shark cage clearly visible in the background which weren't even invented until the 1970's...

20:15 "Durban Harbour" or rather Stuart Cove's again...More shark cages in the background...

21:07 The Julia Painting attack...Some gnarly gore which is again, done well.

27:53  The Matt Hooper character is going out in a shark cage. Seriously, correct me if I'm wrong but the shark cage wasn't invented until the 70's by Rodney Fox!!?...

30:14  He's wearing modern SCUBA gear in 1957 in a shark cage which hasn't been invented yet and is being attacked by Carribbean Reef Sharks in the Indian Ocean. Attention to detail has left the building folks...

33:00  The Derek Prinsloo attack...More gore but at least it's complimented by a brief bit of input from his son.

38:00 Nic Badenhorst attack...More impressive gore. The special effects team are at least earning their money I suppose.

42:06  "Produced by Gurney Productions"...Aahhh now it all becomes clear!

Ok so my thoughts on this. Well, it was really pretty shocking. Cheap, tacky and with no real focus on what makes the Black December attacks so fascinating, instead relying on the cheap thrills. The programme finishes abruptly after the Badenhorst fatality with no attempt at an explanation for the attacks or with any attention to what happened after and the effect on Durban and its holiday communities.

It was also laden with rather amusing errors and although enjoyable in a weird way, much the same as seeing a man with a beard of bees, it also must be noted that it was completely pointless and served no purpose whatsoever.

This is good news though because when I feature it, it will help make what I do look even better. Cheers Gurney Productions!

More to come on David reviews Shark Week...


2 comments:

Shark Diver said...

Produced by Gurney Productions is to shark productions what Chinese made lead based toys are to Americas children...was that too harsh?

Nah,crap is crap no matter how you dress it up.

Gurney has formulated the 69 cent shark production and that's the only reason why DC comes back to them year after terrible programming year.

OfficetoOcean said...

Haha! hat's not too harsh at all, in fact it's very accurate AND made me laugh!

Did you see any of Shark Week this year? I have so far seen this (awful) Summer of the Shark (review to come) and Great White Invasion ditto). This Killer Sharks thing had so little attention to detail it was shocking (or was it?...) The state of modern day shark programming is really pretty awful, bring back the 70's and 80's where the docs/films had a sense of adventure and wonder instead of made up stuff and pathetic rubber sharks!