Jumping the Shark

Doug Young November 2, 2007

I had always thought I’d like to be thrown to the sharks when I died. Turns out, that plan wouldn’t work so well: As I learned in Rob Stewart’s alarming, moving, gorgeously shot documentary about the rapid decline of sharks, these animals do not actually really eat humans. Only five people a year are killed by sharks — and those five are not actually "eaten," they simply die from their wounds after being mistaken for actual prey. It seems the problem now is that humans like eating sharks much more than sharks like eating us. And, with the stunning popularity of shark fin soup, we are eating them into extinction. Stewart’s "Sharkwater," which combines the cinematography chops of a "Winged Migration" or a "March of the Penguins" and a first-person narrative that includes episodes of flesh-eating virus, scrapes with open-sea plunderers and the Taiwanese mafia, as well as the threat of jail time, is a must-see environmental documentary, in which the connection between a shark’s diet and the oxygen in our air becomes clear. (Believe it or not, we actually need sharks to breathe.) SF360.org got the chance to sit with Stewart and learn more about his shark-saving mission, which, in large part, features re-education of the public about the perceived dangers of sharks. Stewart swims freely with sharks in the film, with no cage and, at times, no wetsuit. While his film is winning awards around the world, he offered his thoughts on the five films that have done the most damage to the shark’s reputation over the years and have helped create an "open season" atmosphere on the shark.

Rob Stewart’s Five Worst Films for Sharks

1. "Jaws"
2. "Jaws 2"
3. "Deep Blue Sea"
4. "Open Water"
5. "Blue Water, White Death"