Samples of humans’ mishaps with sharks help illustrate several theories on why sharks attack people, none of them comforting. Dealing principally with great whites and tiger sharks, program lets conservationists and activists sound off; they do know more than they did 20 years ago, but they’re still fishing.
Docu is part of Discovery’s annual, ratings-grabbing “Shark Week.” Repeatedly using views of sharks gulping down hunks of tuna, “Attack Files” inspects a couple of cases and reports on others. A man’s surfboard had a chunk bitten out of it; another guy is seen in a hospital after having parts of his body ripped away. The grimmest seg features a description of a corpse that had had all the blood shaken out of it.
Shark boosters maintain that such incidents are accidents or caused by an occasional rogue fish. An air shot of two older people waving to the camera as they wade in low surf in Florida reveals indifferent sharks swimming leisurely nearby; the image evokes frightening thoughts.
Great whites abound mostly near their prime food choices, seals and sea lions , and close to rocky areas where their gray-black topsides are hard to spot.
Their temperature preferences, their daytime hunting, their attraction to feet dangling from surfboards are explained, but it’s pretty clear: No one knows much about the great whites. Shark hunters try ridding the oceans of them on the theory that heavy commercial fishing has swallowed up much of the sharks’ food supply and, consequently, they’ve become a menace to people. Conservationists speak their piece, and one displays a baby shark moving around in a tub as he nudges it; it’s nothing like a puppy.
It’s pointed out that sharks may simply lick people in passing by; on the other hand, one man standing with others in the water was plucked from their midst and eaten. Taster’s choice.
Program has a patched-together look, since the segments have been taped at such different times in such varied locations.
The video work is OK, and the attacks are duly reported. But there’s a feeling that the shark feast is beginning to pall — staring at silvery creatures gliding endlessly through the water, hanging from a fishermen’s mast or rising to gulp down hooked bait loses some of its punch as Discovery’s annual “Shark Week” plunges on.