Deep Blue Sea (1999) [REVIEW] | Shark Brainiacs

Deep Blue Sea 1999

So, yeah, for a change let’s watch a shark movie made in a pre-Sharkenado era, but also after everyone and her grandma was making Jaws rip-offs (like the italian Great White and Cruel Jaws), a shark flick that actually looks like a movie and not a college graduate attempt at a movie during a boring summer holidays, or an attempt to sell your shit movie as ironic “so bad it’s good” material.

Given the kind of shark movie i end up watching and reviewing here, i’m surprised by many things in Deep Blu Sea, as production values, company logo you don’t have to google, a cast with recognizable actors, cinematography that doesn’t remind of Weasels Rip My Flesh, set designs classifiable as such, special effects made with budget and expertise, i’m really feeling spoiled by this one! And a bit sad because of how the bar got embarassingly lower and lower for shark movies in time.

That said, even the plot is more sensible than usual, with no TMNT transformations via radioactive sludge, no supernatural elements or splicing parrot DNA which results in flying raptorsharks, somehow. It’s about a company that experiments on sharks (mako sharks, to be precise/pedantic) in order to find a cure for Alzhaimer, but in doing so creates genetically enginereed sharks that get loose and escape from the facility. The scientists try to survive and possibly stop the – literally – “brain power’d” sharks.

And of course, it has the distinction of being the only shark movie blessed with the presence of Samuel L. “muthaffuckin” Jackson, and not in the “i’m in the movie for 5-10 minutes, so long suckers” way, it’s a fairly important character, but honestly all the characters are quite well written for this kind of movie, you actually wanna see them survive, and feel bad for whose who don’t, there’s no stupid cliched idiots there for no reason besides becoming shark chow.

Deep Blue Sea 1999 the chefs pet parrot

Plus, this has one of the best comic relief characters i’ve seen, it’s basically a combo of “the black guy” with “the religious type”, but it’s a fun character that is more than just talking shit to his pet parrot or trying to fight a shark with a frying pan. Given how this movie follows many genre conventions, i was surprised how the script treated this fella, for the better. He fully deserved it.

Good action scenes, a fun climax, fairly good acting, a balanced dose of blood and gore that isn’t neither restrained nor gratuitous, a well paced narrative, some genuine suspenseful moments, smart killer creatures, and a fairly good script, one that – as i just said before – follow most of the “b-movie beats”, i’m surprised didn’t try to use the infamous myth of sharks being cancer free, leaving this low hanging fruit to lesser movies like Hammerhead/Sharkman, fittingly so.

Great presentation and effects by none other than Industrial Lights & Magic, with a mix of practical and digital effects, the sharks still look great, some digital effects have not aged as well as others, but still, it’s impressive work by experts that still holds up 21 years later, not many shark movies can say that. And as a final treat, there’s no sequel bait (pun not intended) in any shape or form, because there’s no fuckin need for it.

Odd how this isn’t considered a cult movie, an “underrated as fuck” shark movie, because it is, one of the best shark movies i’ve ever seen, and i mean this is a compliment, despite the fact that the quality of shark movies as a whole has declined big time, But i guess we just elevate crap to cult status now, so my bad. Whatever, it’s a good one, for a change, i recommend it, and it should be on Netflix regardless of your region.

Deep Blue Sea 1999 yes, i am in this mothafuckin movie

Sure, it isn’t exactly original, no, and it sticks to most of the genre conventions, but then again most of these movies do, and they don’t even try to distance themselves from the shadow of Jaws, which itself it’s a B-movie, if we’re gonna play around with snobbish labels all day and regardless of context.

This has pretty much anything you might want from a movie like this, it’s entertaining all the way, great presentation and amazing effects by Industrial Lights & Magic itself, fun and likable characters, decent-good acting good action setpieces, and a great execution of the fairly typical genre plot. And Samuel L. Jackson.

While it wasn’t a critical darling or a great financial success, Deep Blue Sea did decently, but for some odd reason a sequel didn’t came 1 year later or something, but only in 2018, as a direct to video release, with a completely different director, a completely different cast, and completely different characters, to boot.
Which in itself raises some fairly reasonable questions.

And it means we’re doing that next.

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