Let’s be honest, there is never going to be a better shark film than JAWS (1975). Not only did it define the genre but it did it with such quality and skill that any attempt to match it only breeds comparison.
Then there’s DEEP BLUE SEA with the tagline “BIGGER. SMARTER. FASTER. MEANER.” Not exactly “Smarter,” the film does live up to the other hyperboles and as dumb fun popcorn movies go, it’s pretty damn entertaining.
On a remote oceanic research facility, Dr. Susan McAlester (Saffron Burrows) leads a team of scientists in an attempt to cure Alzheimer’s by extracting fluid from shark brains. But against ethical and legal edicts she has use bioengineering to increase the shark’s brains not taking into account that having big-brained mako sharks around might not be in anyone’s best interests.
Things go all catawampus when a storm hits and the research facility films up with water. Not only are the survivors trapped below surface, but also they have three very pissed off and large killing machines hungry for a snack and possibly revenge as well.
I will not even attempt to defend the somewhat goofy premise, but I’ll give DEEP BLUE SEA this, it does play it seriously and almost gets away with it.
The cast is terrific with the skeleton crew also comprising of Thomas Jane, Michael Rapaport, Stellan Skarsgård, rapper LL Cool J and last but not least Samuel L. Jackson who provides us with the films best scene. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. For those who haven’t, no spoilers.
The SPFX work is rather impressive. The digital shark might not be entirely up to snuff but the mechanical ones built by Walt Conti are a sight to behold. Self-contained, they are seriously at the height of practical FX. They look real and truly help to ratchet up the fear factor.
If you want a fun movie that succeeds as pure entertainment, DEEP BLUE SEA is a worthy adventure. As a matter of fact I wish more summer movies were like it.
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