Deep Blue Sea (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

My colleague, Lawdog, really gave me a hard time for kinda liking this movie. Well, he does have a point.

It is dumb. Really dumb.

But I still think it isn't such a bad watch. It is stylishly directed, the cutting and editing is done very well to maximize the tension of the moments, and the whole thing has a professional high-budget look and some scary moments.

It has a good premise: a man has to feel pretty helpless in the water with a 45 foot shark who is 20 times his size and can swim 20 times as fast - and has artificially enhanced intelligence which makes him smarter than most members of the Reform Party.


No nudity, but some nice underwear shots from Saffron Burrows.
The movie has one monumental flaw. Every plot twist, every line of dialogue, all the comic relief, every major development is totally predictable if you watch a lot of movies. In fact, if you have seen the three Jaws movies, you've already seen the death scenes for the three sharks in this movie, and you even know the number of the license plate they find in a shark's stomach! On the other hand, although you can predict in general what's going to happen, the movie still manages to surprise you in the moment with a couple of specifics. My favorite moment was the way Samuel L Jackson bites the farm - but I won't spoil it for you.

Boy, Saffron Burrows has some kind of a John Saxon thing going there, doesn't she? Has this woman ever been in a good movie? She managed to string these five back-to-back: Wing Commander, Loss of Sexual Innocence, Deep Blue Sea, Miss Julie, and Time Code. Well, you have to applaud her for making many different kids of really bad movies, ranging from pure mindless trash like Deep Blue Sea to a lifeless adaptation of a Strindberg play to ultra-pretentious arty muck like The Loss of Sexual Innocence (which I'm currently leaning toward for my vote for the worst movie ever made - and IMDb voters rank Wing Commander even lower!). I don't know if she kept up the streak because her next epic, Gangster No 1, has never been released in the USA, or on any North American tape or region 1 DVD.

Back to the subject of shark IQ's

Like most of you I don't keep close tabs on what scientists are working on these days, but if I had to generate the priorities for government or corporate funds, I'd have to say that genius sharks would be very low on my list. So if you scientists are out there reading this, here're some things you can work on if you're so bored that you're considering creating a Great White who can out-reason William F. Buckley, Jr.

  • create an apple that can feed a family of 12 for a year
  • make something to neutralize all chemical pollution
  • create something to cure AIDS and other deadly viruses
  • solve the problem of global overpopulation
  • save the ozone layer and restore the fish population to the ocean
  • find a way to dispose of medical waste

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1

  • Full-length commentary from the director and Samuel L Jackson

  • deleted scenes

  • HBO special on sharks, "making of" featurette

  • photo gallery, trailers, production notes, storyboards

After you have done some of these things, then you can work on sharpening up those shark SAT's.

And, frankly, the sharks in this movie aren't that smart anyway.

For example, the main shark traps LL Cool J, the cook on the scientific study team, in an oven and uses his nose to spin the dial in order to set the oven to "broil" at 500 degrees.

C'mon. I thought he was supposed to be smart.

A really smart shark would know that rappers taste best when "baked" at 450.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: just less than three stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4, Apollo 57/100.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 54% positive overall, but a much more impressive 73% from the top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it a lukewarm 6.0. Apollo users vote it 68/100
  • With their dollars ... this silly sucker cost a lot of money, but it also made a lot of money. $73 million at the domestic box, on a $60 million budget. It received very wide distribution, appearing on a blockbuster level 3000 screens, and its domestic performance made it the 29th highest grossing film of 1999. It also did $91 million overseas, making it the world's 24th highest grossing film that year.

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