BLUE WATER WHITE DEATH
Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
Peter Gimbel, James Lipscomb
What's it about
A group of underwater filmmakers set off for a year long adventure to film great white sharks in action circa early 1970s. It also inspired the classic Jaws.
Is it good movie?
Yes. Can I be clearer than that? Blue Water White Death is an excellent film that doesnít fit the usual Arrow in the Head mold. Is there gore? Yeah. Blood? Yep. Tension? Check. Actors? Depends on how you look at it, because this 1971 release is a documentary about capturing sharks on camera. Considering the great white shark remains the most dangerous predator on the planet, it probably does belong on a site that reviews Jason and Freddy and Mike Myers and refer to them as dangerous bad asses. Sometimes the real things emerges best.
While watching a documentary like this, one must remember the filming time frame. And in doing so, one must also block all memories of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou as many, many scenes will come to mind. The cast here tends to act up for the camera from time to time, giving one-liners. Also, thereís obvious bad editing and goofy music. But the best aspect, the cheesiest of the cheese, comes from a crew member, a folk singer no less who sings over some of the movie. He plays for the shirtless crew. Wow. Regardless, this remains an amazing piece of work before a Shark Week or Animal Planet ever existed. In fact, Iím a little surprised this isnít shown more often, especially during Shark Week. Of course, maybe it comes from the non-PC things that occur like advocating whaling in order to track down the shark. Those scenes seem particularly brutal due to society never witnessing such acts any more. At least two whales are shown being harpooned and ripped apart all in the name of filmmaking. I guess PETA wasnít around just yet. But it the end, it doesnít matter because Blue Water White Death is an adventure seldom seen today. Weíve been spoiled by so many images and channels that something like this just lacks the same feeling. Too much access we have to rekindle the flame. But films such as this give off that true adventurerís spirit that all men crave. Good, different stuff here, folks.
Video / Audio
The DVD looked great and sounded great considering its age.
Audio: Dolby Digital
Video: Widescreen (2.35:1)
Audio Commentary: The surviving filmmakers reunite to share the behind the scenes stories.
Diving into Blue Water: A 25 minute featurette that chronicles everyoneís reunion at an anniversary showing of the movie.
Rodney Fox Great White Expeditions: Four minutes of clips of sharks. Seen it.
Sea Salt: Memories and Essays: A collection of written works by one of the guys in the film, Stan Waterman.
Looked interesting, but I didn't have time to read through it all.
Itís a beautiful, sometimes fascinating documentary. While Shark Week has better footage, Blue Water White Death has true adventure and a sense of realism seldom captured on film.