This summer has been unbelievably filled with genre movies, and I haven't been able to keep up. Plus, I've read the book "Jaws" (which was great), but, for shame, for shame, have never seen the movie. It didn't seem right for me to write the review. So I asked Jon, who also wrote a review for "Trekkies", to do one for this flick too. Sounds like it should have been called "The Deep Blue Suck."
One acid test for me for an action film is whether it would hold up as a novel (provided the novelizer is a reasonably good writer). Another acid test is how well does the director enable me to suspend disbelief so that I forget that I am watching a movie. Finally, are the characters the least bit interesting. In an action film, it is a given that the characters will to some extent be cartoon cardboard cutouts. Nonetheless, there is a fine line between two-dimensional characters which I will accept, and one-dimensional characters that are completely boring, so that the real stars become the special effects. When I saw "Star Wars" I accepted that the center of attention was Luke Skywalker. When I saw "Batman Returns", the center of attention was on the stunts. Batman had no personality whatsoever.
Now that I have laid out my criterion, I can say I knew I was in trouble
A second problem is that the action is set in motion by a tragedy involving too many coincidences. A character is wounded by a shark during a storm, and paramedics are called, and the helicopter just happens to malfunction at the right point in time to start the massive shark attack in motion.
Most egregiously, when the real action starts, a shark rams an underground plate glass window with a human victim in his mouth. Just before impact, that victim, while underwater and after having bled profusely for several minutes opens his eyes in alarm and visibly braces for impact. By any reasonable estimate, this man would have to be dead now.
The story claims to me making a moral point about not messing with nature, given that it was apparently illegal to genetically enhance the sharks, but this is never followed thru in a coherent way. It is simply a throwaway to make it appear as if the movie has a philosophical point to make.
An odd element of the script is that the two black characters seem to be better developed than the white ones. Was the writer putting more energy into them out of political correctness, or did they just cast better actors in those roles? (One of them is played by Samuel Jackson.)
Finally, the computer-generated sharks are very unconvincing, and just don't look real.
The obvious ploy is to compare this movie to Spielberg's masterful "Jaws". Now here's a movie by someone who knows how to structure a story, and put together a plot, a real student of narrative. (I should point out I am not so kind to all of Spielberg's work. I am not a big fan of either "Close Encounters" or "Poltergeist".) Not only does the story move smoothly and convincingly, it has memorable characters, notably Robert Shaw's fisherman. We feel afterwards that we got to know these people s individuals and would be interested in meeting them again. Both the human personalities as well as the shark seem quite real.
"Jaws" is written by someone who grew up with books. "
Art Directing C
Special F/X D
Comments from Rover Artist <firstname.lastname@example.org> 1/12/00
I think I have to agree with everything you said in your review.. but I know quite a bit about sharks, and there are a few points that... perhaps the writers/director/etc. had a little too much to drink when they were contrived ("They could like, spill wine into the water, dude..."), but there are other ...things... at work. The movie was okay in a "I'll watch this just to laugh at how horrible it is afterwards" type of way...
But as you said, in the opening sequence, with the teenagers on the boat, the shark, and the wine.. I, personally, believe the wine was used for the *audience's* benefit... sort of symbolism, I think... what attracted the shark was the ungodly loud boombox (vibrations attract sharks almost even more than smell.. they keep helicopters away from downed ships because sharks are attracted to the sound of the propellers).
"A second problem is that the action is set in motion by a tragedy involving too many coincidences. A character is wounded by a shark during a storm, and paramedics are called, and the helicopter just happens to malfunction at the right point in time to start the massive shark attack in motion."
I have to agree, that was *so* likely.. Not. Although the helicopter DID malfunction BECAUSE of the storm.. it didn't just happen on it's own ^^
"Most egregiously, when the real action starts, a shark rams an underground plate glass window with a human victim in his mouth. Just before impact, that victim, while underwater and after having bled profusely for several minutes opens his eyes in alarm and visibly braces for impact. By any reasonable estimate, this man would have to be dead now."
Well....I sort of blinked at this scene too.. until I realized that the man had a breathing apparatus... My guess is that, since they weren't going to pull him up into the helicopter, they needed him to have an independent air supply because of the heavy rain, and high altitude... You can see the air bubbles coming out of the thing in his mouth as he comes towards the window... My guess is that the director wanted to be dramatic. Maybe they should have had a dramatic thunderclap in the background, underwater ^^...it might have been more believable :)
Anyway, I do agree with you that "
I enjoyed reading your review, and I hope you find my points interesting...or...at least not too annoying! ^^
- RA Lupous
From Susie Q
I don't think it is
very nice the way you people rate movies! It may be your opinion, but your
attitude also sucks! I thought this movie was good thriller, I thought the
music was great! I thought the script was good! You know, writing a script
could be very hard. I would like to see you try, then maybe people would give
you bad reviews! You need to be a little bit nicer about how you talk about
things! Shame on you!!
OTHER MOVIE REVIEWS: Austin Powers (References), Being John Malkovich, Blah Witch Project, Deep Blue Sea, Dogma, Dune, eXistenZ, Iron Giant, The Matrix, The Mummy, Princess Mononoke, The Sixth Sense, Sleepy Hollow, Smallville, Star Trek IX: Indigestion, Star Wars: The Turgid Menace, Thirteenth Floor, Toy Story 2, Trekkies, Vile Vile West, The World Is Not Enough
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