Sunday, May 29, 2011

Shark Night 3D: sharks once again villified on film for thrills

(Sigh...) As shark conservation continues to make progress on the legislative front with shark fin prohibitions passing in Hawaii and Washington state and moving forward in California and Oregon, there are always reminders that come along that misconceptions and myths can not only persist but they can be promoted for mindless entertainment.

Coming this September, from the people who brought you "Snakes on a Plane" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", we now have "Shark Night 3D" which follows the formula of previous teenage horror flicks - with hyper-hormoned guys and gals on a wild weekend retreat who find themselves gruesomely set upon not by psychotic Jason or Michael Meyers but by, you guessed it, sharks.

(Sigh...) The reality is that there will always be movies, television shows, and books that will always capitalize on primal fears of things that go bump in the night, no matter how misplaced or unfounded those fears might be. Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my! And sharks, too. Unfortunately, these roller-coaster, cheap thrill forms of entertainment are often geared towards the most impressionable of minds, those who will leap out of their seats and spill their popcorn when the boogeyman suddenly pops out of the closet.

But it's those same impressionable minds that many ocean conservationists and shark advocates are trying to reach. I have often said, when speaking to groups about the need to protect sharks, that shark conservation is a tough sell. With centuries of demonizing sharks behind us to contend with, it may always be, at best, two steps forward and one step back.

Coming soon: Penguins Gone Bad. Kittens from Hell. Attack of the Alien Dolphin. All in 3D at a theater near you.


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