Wednesday, January 09, 2019



I finally saw this after holding back for what felt like a long time.  I was so afraid this would be a terrible, embarrassing adaptation of the novel of the same name by Steve Alten.   Frankly, I was also afraid the humans would just depressingly triumph over the GREAT BIG SHARKS.    As it turned out I shouldn't have worried!!!

The story hangs on a common human-movie-story framework.  A Shaved Monkey who specializes in deep-sea rescues -- extracting injured sailors from wrecked submersibles, situations like that -- QUITS, moves to Thailand and takes up full-time DRINKING because nobody believed him when he reported that a rescue had to be cut short because something BIG AND TERRIBLE attacked the sub he was trying to clear of his fellow humans.  ALL THIS CHANGES when he's interrupted in the course of his beer consumption one day by a couple of guys who try to bring him out of retirement, because there's another sub in trouble.  He refuses cheerfully, saying he doesn't do that kind of work anymore, until they tell him his ex-wife is on board.  Before you know it, they've whisked him to a fabulous UNDERSEA RESEARCH LAB that's found a secret passage to a spot in the ocean far deeper than anything previously mapped.  The sub they've sent down to explore it -- piloted by the ex-wife -- encounters something BIG AND TERRIBLE that strands them on the bottom.  Just before the communications short out, the ex-wife vindicates our hero by shouting that he was right about the sea monster.  

From here, the movie turns into almost PURE ACTION.  Hero guy leaps into a tiny submarine and whizzes to the bottom, racing another submersible pilot who planned to go ahead without him.  Alerted by the glaring lights mounted on the machines, THE REAL HERO OF THE STORY SHOWS UP -- a Megalodon -- and starts bouncing the tiny craft around like cueballs in an ice rink.  There's a dramatic rescue scene -- then some other stuff happens -- and before you know it the research station is being menaced by a Shark big enough to bite a humpbacked whale in half.  WILL ANYONE SURVIVE?



>>  Who do they have designing these submarines?  These little tin cans with the sleek design and the totally inadequate rudder mechanism can withstand being swatted around, bitten and rolled over by a Megalodon without even cracking the windshield!  I want to tell you!

>>  I love the way they use ACTION SCENES, pitting puny Naked Apes in 2-seater submarines against GIANT COMPUTER-GENERATED CARTOONS, to cover up the gaps in the logic -- gaps even a fish can see.  For starters, how did Sharks trapped at the bottom of a deep-sea trench by the thermocline (as they call it) get a couple of miles up to the surface without either FREEZING OR EXPLODING?  Their explanation just doesn't hold water.  You should pardon the expression.

>> Ditto the humans.  OK, I'm sure the submarines are heated, but don't Shaved Monkeys need to DECOMPRESS after coming up from that depth?  Not in this movie!  They just pop out of the water, nip into waiting helicopters and speed off towards the horizon.

>> Time is clearly not an issue in this movie.  Precious human lives trapped in a submarine at the bottom of the ocean?  In ANY OTHER MOVIE time would be of the essence, because they need to get into the tin can and extract the victims before the air runs out or the sides of the thing cave in, crushing them all.  NOT IN THIS MOVIE.  They apparently  have time to look up the hero guy's address, gas up a helicopter, fly to Thailand and -- here's my favorite part -- WAIT FOR HIM TO GET HOME.  Once he arrives, they take the time to praise his great rescue work and argue with him for a while instead of taking the beer out of his hand and frogmarching him to the waiting chopper.  Which was nowhere to be seen at this point in the movie; I have no doubt they rented a car and drove to his place from the airport.

>> I adore the way the Naked Ape hero, who's been called in as the only expert who can handle the job, is so unfamiliar with his rescue vehicle that an 8-year-old girl playing inside it when he arrives has to show him where some of the knobs are.  Once she shows him the ropes, the submarine victims are AS GOOD AS SAVED.  He leaps into the saddle and before you can say Jack Robinson...

>> Why, speaking of logical gaps, is there an 8-year-old girl living in an undersea research station?

>> I love the way there's no reason the Shaved Monkey rescuer needs to pay any attention -- not only to depth and water pressure on his submersible -- but the problems inherent in overloading his tiny craft with injured people who are, after all, BREATHING HIS AIR, making it awfully hard for them to get back up to the research station alive.  I'm sure it helps that they don't need to DECOMPRESS!

>> The Shark looks and acts pretty fake, but in a splendid way that kept me from caring.   

>>  The homages to Jaws, the Holy of Holies among killer Shark movies, came thicker and faster as the movie progressed.  Pippin!  Where are you, Pippin???

>> BEST OF ALL, the story made clear that this movie comes out entirely in favor of the fish!  Every frame in the movie made it clear that the humans have no idea what they're dipping their toes into and they don't have a chance.




Blogger Ur-spo said...

the 8 year old is up to no good and shouldn't be trusted

6:59 PM  
Blogger Cliffie, The Lemming Girl said...

There's another 8-year-old in the movie -- the knockoff Alex Kintner character -- who's even worse. Wait'll you get a load of him.

11:07 AM  

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