Halloween Scene: Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Like a lot of people, Jaws is one of my favorite movies. As such, it is the standard by which I measure all over shark and water-based monster movies. This attitude has kept me away from a lot of movies of this ilk. But, you know what? That’s not really fair, is it? Halloween’s another favorite movie, but that hasn’t kept me away from slasher flicks, so why does liking Jaws make me not want to see shark movies? The obvious reason is that, if you can’t top the best, why bother? It’s a valid argument, but one that’s been keeping me away from a good movie like Deep Blue Sea. Another problem is that I’ve seen so many straight-up lifts of the Jaws plot, that I go into movies like DBS expecting them. Lastly, since Jaws was a widely accepted classic almost immediately, I think a lot of people with good underwater monster stories might have shied away. This is good because they would have been compared, but bad because it means the sub-genre is mostly filled with one great movie, lots of copycats and the occasional gem.

DBS is one of those gems. It’s not near-perfection like Jaws, but it’s a fun movie with a great cast, some alright effects and a plot that combines elements of Jaws, The Poseidon Adventure and your basic mad scientist flick. See, there’s this research facility out in the ocean that’s doing tests on sharks that will somehow help people. While doing the experiments, one of the doctors did a few things she wasn’t supposed to and now the sharks are super smart. They then start attacking the facility, killing a large number of the scientists and people there.

So, you’ve got the threat of not just sharks which are scary enough on their own, but super smart sharks with emotions and what not. Plus, you’ve got a mostly underwater locale which means there are plenty of scenes that made movies like Poseidon Adventure or The Abyss so creepy to me personally (I have a an unnatural fear of things that shouldn’t be under water, being under water). Plus, the cast include Sam Jackson, Michael Rapaport, Saffron Burrows, LL Cool J, Thomas Jane and more. There’s also quite a few winking nods to Jaws that let you know that director Renny Harlin knows the comparisons are being made. The first shark we see has a license plate in his mouth and the comparisons don’t stop there. I didn’t notice it on my own by SPOILER the sharks actually die in the same way that the sharks in the first three Jaws flicks die. Nice touch.

Another nice touch is the above closing credits song. I’m a big fan of horror movies (any movie really) that include a song at the end that’s actually related to/written for the movie. Sure it’s corny, but I guess I’m a little corny too. At the end of the day, I’d have to agree with a quick description I just read on YouTube while looking for this clip, it’s the second best shark movie I’ve seen. Now, I’ve heard that The Reef and that other movie where divers are abandoned at sea (can’t think of the darn name) are good too, but my Jaws-bias got in the way.

Stranger Than Fiction

2:54:22 pm

“Based on a true story” is one of those tags that tend not to mean too much on a movie poster. You can get anything from Monster to Texas Chainsaw Massacre under said banner. Of course, as you probably know, TCM wasn’t REALLY based on a true story, but borrowed a very few details from the life of serial killer Ed Gein.

Anyway, this post has nothing to do with TCM or Monster (which I haven’t seen). I happened to watch two “based on a true stories” flicks this weekend, 21 and The Bank Job. I actually had no idea that Bank Job was based on reality (or that it was set in the ’70s because I apparently don’t pay attention very well). Here’s what I thought.

I had 21 on my Blockbuster account for a few reasons. I dig Kevin Spacey (just not as Lex Luthor, sorry). I also really liked Jim Sturgess in Across the Universe (you guys should check that out). And finally, I like Vegas movies, plus the fact that this was actually based on a true story intrigued me. I’ve done absolutely no research on this, but I think I remember seeing something about these guys back in the day on the Discovery Channel. Could be someone else though. I do know that this movie was based on a book of the same name.

Anyway, it’s your standard, “normal kid enters a morally compromising world in order to make money and gets overtaken by it for a time.” The main kid’s a math genius and joins up with professor Kevin Spacey who has this crew that he teaches to count cards in blackjack. The main dude just wants to make enough money to pay for Harvard Med School, but he goes a bit crazy with the money and the strippers and what not. It ends with a kinda-twist ending that isn’t all that surprising, but I liked it overall. It’s a good movie to turn on while you’re doing other stuff because you can easily bounce in and out of the room without losing too much track of the story.

The same can be said for The Bank Job which I rented solely because of Jason Statham’s involvement. Like I said, I didn’t know much about it except for that fact that one of the best action stars in the world (yes, Statham) starred in it. I was actually expecting more of a flick in the vein of Transporter or even Ocean’s 11 (you know, flashy and what not).

But I was wrong. And I’ll be honest, the only reasons the movie that Em repeatedly called “dry” didn’t disappoint was because Statham’s so damn charismatic and because this bad boy was based on a true story. I, of course, did no additional research, but there’s just something about watching a wild movie like this that actually happened (to some extent).

The basic story is that Saffron Burrows convinces Statham to get his crew together and swipe the safe deposit boxes from a bank vault. They succeed, but it turns out that the government is after them because the crooks (or villains, as the Brits continuously call them muck to my delight) also snatched some compromising pictures and videos of officials and the princess. But, like Em said, it is a pretty dry movie, but I’m not sure if that’s because of the story itself or because everyone in the cast is British.

All in all, I’m glad I didn’t drop $10 to see either of these movies in the theater, but it was worth taking up a spot on my Blockbuster queue.