There is definitely an abundance of shark movies out there and most of them are terrible but with the Shallows coming out, I figured that it was logical to look back at the best shark movies and give them their dues. For the first of these reviews, let's go back to 1999 with Renny Harlin's sci-fi/thriller known as Deep Blue Sea.
A team of scientists in pursuit of a cure for Alzheimer's use three genetically altered Mako sharks to harvest brain tissue but unfortunately when these sharks' brains got bigger, they got smarter. Now they are trying to destroy the underwater research facility and hunt down the scientists.
Hey now, come back. Now the plot is, well lack of a better term, cheesy and sounds like a SyFy channel original movie upon first glance but you might be surprised to know that the movie is actually pretty good. Better than Jaws? Uh...no. Definitely not but not ever shark movie HAS to be compared to Jaws and that is the case with this movie because other than sharks being the antagonists, it really does it's own thing and I enjoy that.
Now most shark movies that focus on mutated or genetically altered sharks tend to go too far with that concept and make it the size of a megalodon or make it half octopus or something along those lines and it makes it impossible to take seriously. In Deep Blue Sea we have three Mako Sharks that are basically the same size as a regular Great White Shark except for the third one which is bigger than the others but still doesn't go too far with it. So with them being the size of what is basically a like a regular shark, I was able actually believe that these animals were feasible thus giving me more of a fear of them
Now where I really found myself geuinely being thrilled by or scared of these sharks are the special effects used for them: particularly the practical effects which are on point throughout the movie.
There is CGI used in the film but mostly for underwater scenes and there are definitely a few times (the scene where a shark comes out of the water to kill somebody) where they look very dated but for 1999? Still pretty good effects.
Another thing that most shark movies fail with is in my opinion the most important element of any story: characters. This is where I will have to compare it to Jaws because look at all the characters in that movie: Martin Brody, Ellen Brody, Matt Hooper, Quint, Mayor Vaughn, Hendricks, etc. The whole cast was filled to the brim with memorable and interesting characters and the quickly faded away with each sequel getting worse and worse. One of Deep Blue Sea's biggest strengths is it's characters which are for the most part all memorable and enjoyable enough that you do want to see them get away from these sharks whereas other shark movies are filled with characters that you just want to see get eaten. The best character in this movie is Thomas Jane's character Carter, LL Cool J's Preacher, and Samuel L. Jackson's Russell.
FUN FACT: All the sharks in this movie die in the same order and ways as the sharks in the first three Jaws movies: the first shark explodes, the second shark is electrocuted to death, and the third one also explodes.
By far the best two things about this movie are the practical sets and set pieces which give a great claustrophobic feeling with most of the hallways being flooded and you never know when a shark might pop out at any moment and when they do, the tight hallways and rooms make it that much scarier, particularly in a scene with LL Cool J when he's looking for his pet bird. The next best thing is the score by Trevor Rabin, just writing this I already have the main theme stuck in my head which is both chilling and exciting at the same time and I love it.
Do I have flaws? Yes a few. There is a certain character played by Saffron Burrows who I felt should have died in a previous scene so her presence later seems useless but that's more of a nitpick on my end. The other flaw I have is that sometimes this movie gives the biggest middle finger to the laws of physics, especially in a scene with a window...if you've seen the movie then you know which one I speak of.
Overall with Renny Harlin's spectacular direction, the great practical effects of the sharks, the great setting, the sets, the actors who all do a great job, and the overall original idea for this movie make it a very enjoyable one. Sure you can pick it apart at times with the physics be-damned moments and the fact that this movie basically has the same message as Jurassic Park but if you just want a fun thriller to enjoy on a rainy day, I suggest putting in Deep Blue Sea and get some popcorn. I give Deep Blue Sea a solid 8/10.
So what were your thoughts on Deep Blue Sea? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Let me know in the comments below and I hope you enjoyed my little article on this little gem.