Monday, July 08, 2024

Shark Movies Good and Bad

 It's Shark Week!

Most of the stuff on TV this week isn't much more realistic than shark movies tend to be. Especially when you get to Megalodon, which of course they immediately do.  SPOILER: It's extinct.

A couple of movies I saw lately:

One of the better entries (or entrees?) is The Shallows. I don't know how realistic the shark's persistence is (it has a decaying whale carcass to munch on, why stalk Blake Lively?) and the final battle is REALLY silly. 

That out of the way, it's a terrific movie, with unrelenting tension and a superb performance by Lively. The director did something unusual in Hollywood but very smart here by keeping it to 80 minutes: he knew he couldn't stretch the confrontation out forever. 

One critic called it a Sports Illustrated photo shoot with a shark, but she did Lively a disservice. Sure the camera spends a lot of time focused on a lovely woman in a swimsuit, but she gets less sexy as the film goes on: unlike some stars who don't look convincing when they are "dirtied up" for a role, Lively (with help from the makeup artist) sells it: she's miserable and beat up and bloodied and sunburned and at one point near despair. 

Also, once she decides to fight, her McGuyvering with the few objects she can reach is fun to watch. It's not Jaws, but it ain't bad.

Then we have Under Paris. Another shark B movie, but you can't hate it, because it commits 100% to its idiotic premise, tossing off science-y explanations for everything in a relentless drive toward a furious feeding frenzy of an over the top finale. Everyone plays it straight and earnest and you root for both sides. This probably is not original with me, but why not call it "Chomps-Elysees?"

Just keep swimming...

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