Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Every now and then, I revisit a film that makes me curious as to how many hours of my life I have spent watching that particular film. I believe I have have seen ‘Deep Blue Sea’ more times than any other in my life, and it is one that I will continue to watch. This is by no means a perfect film, but it is certainly a non-stop entertaining one.
It features a well-rounded ensemble cast, all of whom provide performances well above what is required from them in a film like this. The lead, Carter, played by Thomas Jane, is an actor I feel always delivers a great performance. Samuel L. Jackson (even though I think he is rather one note in most of his roles) does have his moments here as Russell. But, by far my favourite and always the most entertaining to watch is Tom played by Michael Rapaport. There is something about Rapaport that always makes me instantly engaged in whatever he is saying. Even LL Cool J as Preacher does a more than competent enough job in his role, if not slightly stereotypical at times. For all this films sins, I have to say the casting is certainly not one of them.
Given that this film is 23 years old this year, and primarily uses CGI for the creation of its sharks, I found it still held up rather well. Don't get me wrong, it's noticeably computer generated, but never did it get to a point where it took me out of my experience or compromise my enjoyment. I think the CGI only ever gets to the point of hilarity within the closing act. These few scenes in the watch aren't great, and I even remember at the time of release these moments looking extremely obvious. Dr. Susan McAlester's death and then Carter's shark wrestling being the most significant moments in question.
The set design and location is the more impressive element of this film. The slowly decaying underwater research facility always felt like the true antagonist, with the sharks themselves being more of a byproduct of the overall situation. When the storm hits and the facility starts to take in water it just looks visually incredible. It is this isolated deep sea location that is more terrifying to me than anything else. The score plays just as vital a part to the tension and action set pieces we see, perfectly complimenting the visual terror unfolding alongside. This very well composed score by Trevor Rabin finds the perfect mix between action and horror and is unlike anything I've heard before. I really don't think things would have had anywhere near the impact they did without it.
I can appreciate that the plot regarding genetically modified sharks might not be legitimately scientific, yet, I do feel the writers do their upmost to make it as convincing as possible for the viewers. This sub-plot does make way for some extremely creative (albeit unrealistic) kill sequences. It is something that certainly couldn't be justifiable with standard shark, the Samuel Jackson kill being one of the more entertaining and surprising of the bunch. There is no denying that this film does get slightly carried away with itself by the closing act, however, I would be lying if I told you it wasn't wildly entertaining to watch.
This is this the best creature feature ever made? No. Is this the best shark film ever made? Probably not. However, for me it all of those things and more. Yes, the CGI is dated and the believability of the plot is questionable throughout, but I grew up watching this film daily and even now to this day the revisits are just as equally as enjoyable as the first. I challenge anybody to sit down and watch this film and tell me they didn't have a good time with it.