Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday Movie Miscellany - Deep Blue Sea

Since last week was the Discovery Channel's world-renowned Shark Week, it's only appropriate that we should follow up with a shark-themed thriller.  While we could go with the classic Jaws, the star 25-foot monster is not nearly as scary as the super smart sharks that terrorize the cast of Deep Blue Sea.

Of course, this is one of those films that are based on a horribly flawed premise.  In this case that WTF storyline is based on the idea that shark brains can treat Alzheimer's, so the scientists gotta make their brains bigger so they can harvest more proteins.  What could possibly go wrong when experimenting with making sharks' brains bigger?  Everyone knows the answer to that is everything.

I gotta say, that's some bad science, even for a movie.  They're experimenting with these mako sharks because they don't age, get cancer, etc. as they get older, but one, that's anecdotal and not fact, and two, they should study a whale shark or spiny dogfish, as they're the ones who have the super-long life spans - assumed to be over 100 years.  And you know, they're not one of the more aggressive sharks that've been known to attack people.  Under that premise you should study one of the many other super long-lived animals that inhabit the planet, like lobsters, tortoises, or carp,* but I guess you can't have chase scenes with tortoises. 

The flick also exemplifies the typical terrible design and engineering flaws present in disaster films, i.e. levels that seal off with no way out, underwater glass that can't withstand the applied pressure of a high-speed object being thrown into it, fences shorter than what an average mako shark can jump … you get the idea.

But aside from the faux-science involved, the film is chock full of the obligatory chase scenes and terrorific sequences, and as the sea lab, er, oceanic laboratory station they're occupying gets more and more thoroughly destroyed by these super smart sharks, this makes for awesome water filled corridor chase scenes - with sharks!

There's also a couple awesome motivational speeches.  Samuel L Jackson is the clear winner in this category, delivering an amazing rallying cry for them not to lose their heads or fight each other.  The rousing speech has an ending so sad even I won't spoil it, but the writers had some excellent use of foreshadowing in the event.

Once the sharks start attacking, the movie follows an interesting scheme of how the characters get knocked off.   And how the protagonists kill the sharks chasing them.  I won't go though all the details, but I will say that this movie does have some awesomely creative ways to off intelligent killer sharks.  Apparently improvised explosives are the best way, followed close by electrocution.

So yeah, this one's pretty bad, but really fun to watch if you have a good group of friends to provide some commentary.

* On a related note, read Aldous Huxley's After Many A Summer Dies the Swan for a fantastic piece of fiction on manipulating the carp's longevity for human use.

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