Review: Great White Shark 3D

Posted by at 12:41 pm on September 6, 2014

Great White Shark 3DOne of the most popular and yet most mysterious ocean creatures is the Great White Shark. IMAX has released a new production that intends to open up the mysteries of these creatures in a way the is both entertaining and educational. The film is fittingly titled “Great White Shark 3D” and is from the same team that created “Pulse,” Wild Ocean” and “The Last Reef.” It has a rare dual directing team of Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas. It also enlists Bill Nighy (of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”) as the narrator.

Great White Sharks are probably the most feared of all the sharks. They look like something out of a nightmare. Impossibly big (up to 20 ft.) with huge rows of serrated teeth and agility that defies comprehension. The flip side is that they are equally misunderstood. We keep learning more and more about them from the super advanced way they process electric and sound currents in the ocean to the almost never seen mating habits.

When they show us a new trick like the recently documented ability to completely leap out of the water to grab their prey we see this with a mixture of pure terror and awe. They are also incredibly endangered. They have a long gestation cycle and give live birth to just a few pups. Mankind values and hunts them for complete sets of their teeth and shark fin soup. “Great White Shark” aims to demystify the apex predator of the sea and educate and inspire the next generation of researchers.

The opening credit sequence is great as the various Great White Shark toys through the years are shown and played with. The documentary aims for the most general public audience and so a lot of the information is very superficial. They start off with things like basic biology, threats to the ecosystem of the shark, where to find the Great White and current research. Newer research presented is impressive because it gives a progress report for some issues that have been studied for decades. The most critical is that mercury poisoning in marine mammals and fish don’t seem to bother the Great White. Finding out why can lead to cures for man and effectively treating the rest of the ocean ecosystem.

Free-diving was probably the most impressive part of the film. Just like it sounds, these are people who go outside of a shark cage and swim around with Great Whites. One the best known individuals to do this is South Africa’s Mike Rutzan. Some of the most compelling footage is him swimming side by side with a Great White. The practical benefit is that by using his methods tagging has become much more effective and given critical insights into how Great Whites hunt.

The main thrust of the film is to inspire and this accomplished two ways. First there’s no blood in it at all. There are some sequences of scarring shown among battles of hierarchy but no actual biting. Attacks of sea lions are certainly implied but nothing is shown. They even use a wood sea lion attached to a string to demonstrate the “Air Jaws” concept.

Some kids may be frightened but most will just think it’s cool. The second is that the film is shown in IMAX 3-D. The 3-D seems wasted to me as since most of the ocean shots are just blue water so you don’t get any additional sense of depth. The IMAX is crazy well used as it usually is for nature films. Imagine a six-story screen of sharks just swimming around.

“Great White Shark” delivers exactly what it should. It educates and inspires. The researcher side will get a little update and navigation as to where Great White research is going in the future. The inspirational side is for everyone who just is awed by the beauty and majesty of these creatures.

“Great White Shark” in IMAX 3-D is playing at specific theaters around the world. More information is available at

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