Sharks 3D: Embrace the Power and Beauty

Sharks are nice people, too

Sharks are nice people, too

Paul J. Davenport

BY PAUL J. DAVENPORTContributing Writer

Has Fat Tony every invited to “sleep with the fishes”? Well, now is your chance to do just that, but without putting on the cement loafers. This spring, there’s something special happening in Boston that should peak your interest and feed your curiosity while putting some of your darkest oceanic fears at ease through the wonderful world of education.

The New England Aquarium’s ever-popular Simons Imax Theatre proudly presents a picturesque new 3D IMAX Film called Sharks 3D. The film is presented by Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the late great Jacques Cousteau, who continues his father’s life’s work by using new technology in collaboration with the United States Environment Program. This allows audiences to come closer than ever to nature’s most dangerous, yet endangered oceanic species of predator.

Sharks 3D sends a special message regarding conservation and possible extinction of certain shark species within the next decade. They are the oldest and greatest wonders of the oceans, often misunderstood, and constantly being misrepresented by the media who often fail to show how valuable these creatures are to marine life. As humans, we need to change our views of these amazing oceanic creatures in order to help improve both the outlook of our future as well as the future of ocean life.

Man’s fear and ignorance of the ocean’s top predators need crucial attention and education, which must happen globally and not just locally. To help address this important issue, the New England Aquarium is presenting this unique film that is made to entertain, educate, and help rehabilitate the public image of sharks.

According to Jean-Michel Cousteau, “For centuries, mankind has feared sharks, primarily because of terrifying tales told by sailors. The media has played a significant part in perpetuating the image of these formidable fish as frightening monsters.” The film Sharks 3D captures these sea creatures in their natural habitat, showing how they really are in their oceanic environment. They’re not wicked man-eaters hunting for humans, but just wild animals that are at the top of the ocean’s food-chain.

Sharks are essential to ocean life. They have been the ultimate ocean predator long before the dinosaurs even came about. They have nothing to fear from other predators except for humans. Humans are the main reason that these amazing creatures, which have been referred to as “the lions and tigers of the sea,” are going into extinction and may become extinct by the next decade, unless we can stop over-fishing and the practice of fin shearing, shark fins being considered as a delicacy, and trophy hunting by sport fishermen.

Cousteau states, “Every year, humans slaughter 100 million to 200 million sharks, for their fins to make shark fin soup, a delicacy primarily throughout Asia. Sometimes weighing in excess of 300 pounds, sharks are dragged aboard fishing vessels, their fins are cut off, and then they are thrown back bleeding into the ocean to die. This horrific practice defies reason and should make the world angry at such gruesome acts and the depletion of a critical thread in the fabric of life in the ocean world.”

Feeding sharks do hunt, but mostly their diet consists of wounded and diseased fish, seals, and turtles. A shark’s immune system is extremely tolerant and sharks rarely get sick, yet they help us rid the oceans of other organisms that could cause humans to get sick, thus they are crucial to both worlds: ocean and land.

With the new film’s 3D added, you feel as if you’re living in the digital scene. From the moment you put on the large pair of Elton John-esque looking glasses, you feel like you have a scuba mask on and in the blink of an eye suddenly find yourself surrounded by beautiful bright green strips of never-ending kelp. Through the kelp millions of jelly-fish weightlessly glide about you, as you feel you’re floating among them in deep open water and it is sort of relaxing, yet trippy, because of 3D you feel so close that they almost bump into you.

Humans are naturally curious about sharks; we fear the unknown of the deep and movies like Jaws play off and reinforce this fear. Like many things, we tend to fear what we know little about. The shark’s large teeth, powerful jaws, and that big dorsal fin, have caused us to only looked at these creatures as unstoppable eating machines without trying to understand their habits, their behaviors, and their unique purposes and benefits that these finely crafted creatures actually give to mankind. Remember! Humans are not, in fact, on their menu. According to Cousteau, “While humans generally slaughter 100 million sharks a year, an average of only 12 people per year are fatally injured in shark attacks.”

The Aquarium’s IMAX Theatre features stadium style seating, high definition image projection on an eighty-story screen and an explosive surround sound system with 12,000 watts of pure digital sound. The Aquarium and the Theatre staff are very friendly and helpful in answering questions on the premises. No matter how young or old you are, you can appreciate the Aquarium and its new Simon’s IMAX Theatre, which are great educational tools and resources at reasonable rates.

Go to neaq for more info.