Blue Sea" On DVD
by Jim Bray
Warner Brothers' "Deep
Blue Sea" has an interesting concept made formulaic and cliched thanks
to a hamfisted screenplay and some cheesy digital effects.
It's too bad, too,
because the concept of super-intelligent sharks hunting their captors
is pretty neat - and the talented cast gives very good performances.
Director Renny Harlin
(Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger) weaves the tale of a scientific outpost in the
Pacific Ocean where they're messing with sharks' heads to find a cure
for Alzheimer's disease in humans. It's a noble cause, but as usually
happens when scientists mess around with Mother Nature in the movies,
the results are nothing short of chaotic.
All hell breaks loose
when the project's rich sponsor (Samuel L. Jackson) is brought aboard
for a look at his investment. As if on cue, the sharks revolt - and things
get progressively more revolting.
The rest of the movie,
which tries to rip off a whole bunch of its predecessors - not only "Jaws"
- sees the humans trying to make their way out of the submerged part of
their base much as the survivors did in "The Poseidon Adventure."
And, as in "The Andromeda Strain," part of this escape involves
them climbing a long ladder to safety while avoiding obstacles.
There are shades of
"Alien" in the claustrophobic feel of the station, and I lost
track of all the other movies they've ripped off - er, paid homage to
- in this mishmash. I had even figured out who was going to live by the
end about half way through this predictable storyline.
The cast is led by
Saffron Burroughs, LL Cool J, Thomas Jane, Michael Rapaport, Stellan Skarsgard,
and Samuel L. Jackson - a great cast who must have been well paid. Since
the cast obviously cost an arm and a leg (wait'll you see whose arms and
legs!), they seem to have needed to cut back elsewhere - in this case,
on the digital special effects.
Oh, the sharks look
great, but other effects, notably a spout of water coming up from an opening
in an undersea deck, look as if they were done by a high school student
experimenting with the school's new version of Maya (not to malign Maya,
by the way!).
"Deep Blue Sea"
is also unnecessarily graphic. It's enough to see the shark grab its victim
and haul him or her under water. We know what's going to happen then,
especially since the water turns all red.
We don't need to see
the body parts floating away, or a dismembered leg twitching of its own
Still, the thrills
have to come from somewhere I suppose.
Oh well, the DVD is
offered in both widescreen and Pan&Scan and audio and video quality
are great. You also get lots of extras, including a behind-the-scenes
documentary ("When Sharks Attack"), commentary by director Harlin
and star Jackson, and some deleted scenes with an optional commentary
track by Harlin. There's also a documentary on the creation of the film's
digital shark effects, and a gallery of still pictures.
also cast/crew info, chapters, etc. A DVD-ROM component includes a couple
of essays, one on horror films and one on the sci-fi genre, a sampler
of other sci-fi film trailers, and a link to the film's web site.
Lots of stuff you
can really get your teeth into...
Deep Blue Sea, from
Warner Home Video
105 minutes, Widescreen (2.35:1)Pan&Scan, enhanced for widescreen
TV's, Dolby Digital
Starring Saffron Burroughs, Thomas Jane, LL Cool J, Michael Rapaport,
Stellan Skarsgard and Samuel L. Jackson
Produced by Akiva Goldsman, Tony Ludwig, Alan Riche, Screenplay by Duncan
Kennedy and Donna Powers & Wayne Powers
Directed by Renny Harlin
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