This National Geographic film tells the story of Valerie Taylor, who has worked to educate the world about sharks, and to promote conservation efforts for them. It (and Taylor) are saying that the activity of the title is not nearly as dangerous as it suggests. (Taylor at one point says, "It's more dangerous to have a backyard pool" than to go swimming in the ocean.) One problem, of course, is that the world wants its monsters even if they are not true monsters.
Valerie Taylor has studied sharks since the 1950s. (She is now 85 years old and still diving.) The camera's eye shows you scenes from the early days of profligate hunting of sharks and one knows that the anti-shark attitude will be coming along soon.
Fueled by curiosity, Valerie Taylor and a group of other divers went searching to film a great white shark under water, something that had never been done before due to the lack of cameras and camera operators who could dive. Some of this footage was used for the film BLUE WATER, WHITE DEATH. Taylor was also involved in the making of JAWS, and there is some information on that as well. (When he realized that JAWS resulted in a massive increase in shark hunting, Benchley regretted writing it. Taylor does not say she regrets her involvement, but rather emphasizes that the film is fiction.) In general, between the divers portrayed and the sharks the attitude now seems to be pretty much live and let live.
[I hope there are subtitles, because many of the interviewees had fairly strong Australian accents.]
Released on Disney+ 07/23/21. Rating: high +2 (-4 to +4), or 8/10.
Film Credits: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11226258/reference
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/playing_with_sharks
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2021 Mark R. Leeper