[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/images/darktide.jpg[/img]Title: Dark Tide
Starring: Halle Berry, Olivier Martinez, Ralph Brown, Luke Tyler, Mark Elderkin
Directed by: John Stockwell
Written by: Ronnie Christensen and Amy Sorlie
Runtime: 114 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: April 24, 2012
HTS Overall Score:
A thriving shark expert, Kate (Berry), and her team are on a never-before task of capturing footage of the illustrious great white sharks in their most intimate settings. Kate's intrigue for these wild beasts spawned from her unabashed passion and the world has given her the nickname, "Shark Whisperer." The mysterious predators are as unpredictable as they are deadly, but Kate has rightfully earned her title by venturing further than anyone has before, swimming among them in order to gain their trust. While the team is out on a routine dive to capture more footage of these sharks a longtime team member is fatally attacked by one of the sharks. Since Kate was in control of the excursion, she blames herself entirely for the incident and calls it quits.
Spring forward to a year later, Kate has not ventured back into the waters because of her self-induced blame; Kate also pushed her husband and former video-photographer, Jeff (Martinez), away because of her blame; and she attempts to continue her business by providing regular tours out on the ocean. But her tours are quite unsuccessful compared to others in the area for very important reason -- where she resides is the shark capitol of the world, tourists want to see the main attraction; which she refuses to do. Debt collectors are near the point of ceasing all of her assets and Kate is desperate to stay afloat. Her estranged husband, Jeff (Martinez), attempts to assist her in her financial needs by offering her a huge opportunistic job. A wealthy Englishman, Brady (Brown) and his son, Nate (Tyler), offer Kate and her team one-hundred thousand Euros for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with the famed great white sharks. This one job will pay all of her bills and set her back in the right path, but it is exactly what she vowed not to do ever again -- swim freely with the Great White Sharks. Kate has no choice but to accept the offer, reluctantly and on the condition that it is not guaranteed they will get to swim with the great white sharks.
Once they are out on the ocean the tourist become ever-increasingly agitated because the time continues to pass and they still haven gotten what they really paid for. Kate is goaded by her crew into taking the tourists to one of the most dangerous destinations of the known ocean, Shark Alley, and face her own fears to swim with these wild beasts once again. Unfortunately, with these unpredictable animals, nothing goes exactly as planned.
Growing up, I've always had a fascination for sharks and movies like 'Jaws' and its subsequent sequels were among my favorite to watch. Call me a sucker, but even some of the not-so-great shark movies of the past, like 'Deep Blue Sea', have been forms of entertainment by me. 'Dark Tide' might have started out as a guilty pleasure-induced watched for me, however I found myself torn with mixed feelings. It was exciting to see one of my favorite animals on screen once again, but I found myself perplexed and even bored at times. Halle Berry may have been an Oscar-winning actress, but this certainly wasn't a performance anywhere near that caliber. In fact, I thought she didn't quite fit the part and the same is even applicable with her co-star, Oliver Martinez. The two leading actors just didn't quite have the presence or chemistry on screen to capture my attention fully. What's worse, the opportunity to see the great white sharks is only few and far between, broken up by a mediocre story, at best. Still, despite my general disappointment, I did find myself tense with suspense during a handful of scenes.
Rated PG-13 for bloody shark attacks/disturbing images, and for language including sexual references
Following the inconsistency of the film, the video matches it with this transfer. There are some aspects and scenes of the film that actually look quite good, but much like the great whites, they are present only on occasion. Throughout daytime sequences, the image appears pretty good, however there is an overall lack of detail and some softness present throughout. One of the biggest problems that I noticed is color banding regularly rearing itself in some underwater shots. In fact, the very first opening shot shows this issue quite plainly. Another issue, especially present as the movie transitions to the 2nd half, is crushed blacks. Shadow detail is lost and at times it is hard to make out what is happening on screen. Blacks are generally quite solid, but there are a couple of occasions of elevated levels of black. Overall, I'm a bit surprised by the inconsistency of this transfer, given this is a new release and not a catalog title.
The best part of the film and the real driving force behind the film is the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. It's a solid performer throughout the film and about the only consistent aspect of this release. Water sounds are constantly immersing the audience right into the water. As the camera bobs in and out of the water, the sound follows becoming clear and muffled all within a second's time. Music also is a big contributor to the audio aspect, as well. The thrilling nature of the film can be successfully attributed to the musical score accompanying it. The brooding mood of the film also is properly given weight by low frequency activity, however you won't find much in the digging into sub-sonic region. Generally it is a good audio track, but the only nitpick I have is with the dialog; this is not the fault of the track itself, though. Dialog is relatively easy to follow, however due to a variety of eclectic accents, following the dialog seemed just a shade more difficult than usual. Ms. Berry herself has a plain American accent, Martinez has a French accent, and the English have their own, and finally the natives of Africa all have their specific accent. Again, this is only a minor nitpick.
• Trailer for 'Dark Tide'
• Trailers for other Lionsgate titles
'Dark Tide' has an interesting premise that doesn't quite live up to its potential. With the direction of John Stockwell, who's directed 'Blue Crush' and 'Into the Blue', I thought this would fare better than it did. It's not that it was a really bad film, I think it just lacked certain elements to hook the audience. It's also unfortunate that the two lead actors couldn't anchor this movie, but it takes more than "good" or "potentially good" actors to make a movie good. Also, the overall inconsistency of video transfer for this film is perplexing. While I truly enjoy a good shark flick, this one may just be one of the few shark films I recommend to pass on. It may be entertaining as a rental, but maybe only for those like me who have an interest for sharks.
Recommendation: A Rental for Shark Fans.
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