Shark Night 3D Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 1.85:1 3D (and 2D on the same disc) 1080p transfer and is locked to Region B.
Shot natively in 3D I was hoping for some decent effects and an immersive experience, sadly that’s not really the case, oh there are some nice effects, but the immersion is somewhat lost, especially when it gets dark. First off the good, though, what is immediately apparent is how solid everything looks, right from the opening scene. The non-descript blond girl in the water is framed very well; low down so the water holds the foreground, she hold the middle and in the far off distance is the shore, but it is underwater where things really ‘stand out’, since water has volume it looks ‘thick’, the various bits floating in it giving a real sense of submersion, as the body within it has real solidity and roundness to it; she is swimming in the water. Indeed the 3D is at its very best when underwater, each and every scene looks very impressive. Those that have been composited well above water far equally as well, tracking shots show decent depth into the frame, there is tangible distance between characters in two shots and, at times, the props help to add to that sense, look at how the bottle are arranged in the tackle shot. There is a wonderful shot, filmed at double speed, showing the journey in the car, from the car’s pov; it was eerily natural looking! And I also liked the way the camera was positioned on the boats early on - at the front looking back through the boats frame; you have the frame holding the near perspective, the characters and rear of the boat in the middle, while the wake recedes way back into the distance; it's all very nicely seen. However, it’s not all fantastic stuff, one the ‘action’ moves into night, the film darkens, the frames noticeably shorten, even the fantastic car pov shot. Luckily the characters still appear solid within the frame, as you would expect with native 3D, but there simply isn’t the light to give the full in-depth immersion – Pirates 4 got around this by very careful consideration of the frame and, I would hazard a guess, with a bucket load of cash, Shark Night just cannot manage to compete, a fact that the rest of the picture shows up. As for ‘in your face’ negative parallax, for a horror film, surprising few, and always gratuitous, but you have to forgive it due to the nature of this type of film – though I would have thought a lot more would have been used to really capitalise on the 3D.
Detail, for the most part is very strong from facial and skin detail to individual water drops. There is plenty to be seen, check out the water surface, or the sand on the shore, or the grass for definite edges. Indeed all the day time shots have nicely detailed images, it’s when night descends, or you go underwater when things start to soften a little and the all defining edge blurs slightly. It's nothing too bad, but combined with the contrast (mentioned below) does cause issues.
Colours are bright and bold during the day, striking even – look at all the primaries, the incredible rich blues of the sky, the deep and lush greens of the grasses and trees, as well as the solid reds. Gradation is generally not a problem, only underwater do things show signs of banding. At night, things aren’t quite so good with colours becoming a little more muted; check out the blue of Sara’s bikini between night and day for an example. Flesh tones are suitably natural looking too.
Contrast and brightness, unfortunately do fluctuate between scenes, and even between shots, throughout the film; this means that at one time you can have fantastically deep blacks adding decent depth and shadow detail, then the next second the blacks turn to grey and everything shortens and looses definition – limitations of the cameras used and the lack of post digital grading I would guess, but even on a low budgeter like this I was shocked by the inconsistency of the black – this only applies to the night scenes, day time shots are marvellous.
Digitally there were no compression problems, nor was there any edge enhancement, but there were issues with banding and posterization in some of the underwater scenes, which was quite noticeable. Using passive technology to view the 3D resulted in no crosstalk whatsoever, but as is quite common there were a few instances of aliasing visible, though this is not a fault of the transfer. The presence of some stand out effects can’t make up for the otherwise above average overall picture.
Just the one track to choose from; English dts- HD Master Audio 5.1. Much like the picture this is a track with a few standout moments in an otherwise pedestrian offering; the best usage is underwater where the sound becomes muffled and bass heavy, just like it would be if you were underwater and when combined with the excellent 3D really make you feel you are there, swimming with the sharks. Bass is also used to ground everything well giving a very natural sound, and the LF effects, whilst slightly limited, are used to good effect – it’s never in any danger of plumbing the depths that the very best offer though. Dialogue sounds very natural, comes from front and centre and is always clear and precise, again no danger of being drowned out by the on screen action. The score, mostly generic rock/pop songs makes full use of the speakers though; while the surrounds are used to reasonable effect to fill out the ambiance; expect to hear lapping water quite a lot for example. A reasonable track that won’t be pushing your system to any limits.
- Shark Night’s Survival Guide (04.06, HD) – Film clips interspersed between facts about sharks with a terrible voice over; plays out like and ‘infomercial’ only far cheesier – most of the facts I believe but the assertion that sharks can swim up to 68mph .... that I’m not so sure about.
- Fake Sharks Real Sharks (05.23, HD) – Short feature looking at the sharks created for the film, majority of the time it looks at the animatronic creations, though the last minute concentrates on the CG ones.
- Ellis’ Island (06.22, HD) – Cast and crew discuss how great director David Ellis is; sycophantic does not begin to describe how tedious this extra is.
- 2D verson - The film but in 2D, on the same disc.
And that’s your lot; honestly don’t waste your time.
Shark Night 3D is David Ellis’ latest attempt to scare us out of the water by pitting young collage types against killer sharks in the supposedly safe environment of a lakeside holiday villa. But, unfortunately, with a combination of poor acting talent, a ludicrous idea and pedestrian story telling, the film fails to really engage; not least because of its PG-13 rating which means the whole thing feels neutered and does not live up to anything resembling horror or terror. Despite its attempts to utilise scenes picked wholesale from Jaws as a form of homage, it just reminds you of how superior that film is compared to something that fails to deliver on any level.
As a 3D Blu-ray set Entertainment in Video has released a rather lacklustre package; the picture, native though it might be, and containing as it does more than a few nice effects, fails to really deliver a fully immersive experience and when combined with some of the pictures inherent flaws settles for something only above average. While the sound tried quite hard to fill the gaps it too excels in only a few places (underwater) while being content to just ride high and not push the envelope too hard. Extras, unfortunately, are rather dead in the water, meaning that the overall package is one of slight disappointment; though the film is so bad that it’s unlikely to be seen that much anyway.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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