26 December 2017

Sharking A Lively Chum

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People say that the reason Jaws is scary is due to our fear of the unknown. When we're bobbing about on the surface of the water there could be literally anything below, and that's what terrifies us the most. I'd argue that, as true as that is, the other reason it's scary has probably got something to do with the giant fuck-off shark in it. I mean, look at those fucking things. They're basically torpedoes with teeth at one end, an arse at the other, and the black, soulless eyes of Piers Morgan. I'm told that Jaws isn't really an accurate representation of a shark's behaviour and has resulted in the poor wickle fishey's being demonised. Awe! It must be so hard being one of the most perfectly evolved predators on the planet and knowing that us tasty humans think that you're a bit of a twat. Literally the only way that they could look more like killers would be if they had a skull tattoo on their fin and just below their nose was the moustache of Danny fucking Trejo.

However whether or not Jaws worked because of our fear of the unknown or the fear of being eaten alive, I'm pretty sure that the The Shallows simply works because of our fear of Jaws. The film tells the story of a surfer girl, Blake Lively, who goes to a secret beach and gets attacked by a shark. Because if I've learnt anything about sharks from the only headlines that they ever appear in, surfers do seem to be their primary food source. Luckily the girl manages to scramble onto a really tiny island where she then spends the rest of the movie trying to work out how to get back to the actual land in a way that doesn't involve becoming chewed up and turned into shark shit. Oh, and she has an injured seagull on her island to chat to that she's nicknamed Steven Seagull. Imagine Cast Away's Wilson and it's basically the same deal. Both the bird and the ball exist for the main character to have somebody to talk to with the only difference being that when you want to kick them in their obnoxious little face you have to wait for the cameras to stop rolling for at least one of them. I would say that this film is in the lower half of average and yet I'm not sure I can work out what's worse.. the cringy pun that is Steven Seagulls name or that fact that I already prefer him as an actor over Steven fucking Seagal.

So yeah, for the most part this movie really just riffs on Jaws. So you get the POV shots from the shark more than you see an actual shark, occasionally a fin will skim the surface of the water, and whenever you do see the creature you think, “hmm.. that looks fake as fuck”. In The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan often sited the shark in Jaws as an inspiration for The Joker. Both have no real character development and simply swim directly through the story causing chaos whenever they show up. With that in mind I'd say that the shark in The Shallows is a bit like The Joker in Suicide Squad in the sense that you spend most of the film simply wondering where the fuck they actually are and feel mild indifferent when they do show up. However although The Shallows might lack a huge amount of screen time for the toothy bastard and it certainly lacks the general quality of Jaws, the film does excel in one area. It shows Blake Lively's cleavage and arse quite a lot. Constantly cutting to a bit of side boob might not be one of the main ingredients of a classic film but in her case I'd argue that it's probably the thing that dreams are made of. Or at least that's what the film hopes you'll think as it cuts to a slow-motion shot of her chest as she screams and fears for her life. If you're thinking of becoming a rapist then this is probably the film for you.

Before going into the movie, I assumed its title would be a reference to the depth of water that Lively is swimming in. Having seen it I realised the title is actually more of a reference to its superficial obsession with filming her arse for about ninety minutes. In which case that's fine, but as good as that title may well be, I personally think a better one would have been 'Teeth and Tits'. Well, according to the comedian Janey Godley, men like five things, “They like their house, their kids, their job, they like sex and sausages. And if you show them a picture of a shark they're fucking over the moon”. But surely we aren't that easy to please are we? Surely it takes a little more than that to entertain us? Well, a friend of mine really seemed to have enjoyed the movie so I asked him what was so great about it. His response was, “If I wasn't watching gore, I was watching tits” and “She was pretty fit tbf”. Not only that.. but I swear to God, and I hate to prove Godley right in how simple we are as a gender.. but I promise that whilst watching the film he was also eating a sausage.

However that's not to say that my chum wasn't also gripped by the tension of the film as there are a couple of jump scares, and it seems that he fell for every single one of them. Apparently a shark can smell one drop of human secretion in a million drops of water and trust me.. it wouldn't take a shark to know that on a couple of occasions my friend had very definitely cacked his pants. People slag off jump scares as being cheap but when you have an exploitation film like this then I do think that they have their place. The film just wants you to have fun and jump scares are funny. He laughed at himself because he was embarrassed and I laughed at him for being such a fucking pussy. The film also obviously contains a few of those moments in which the main character or the shark would do something and you'd think, “Oh for fucks sake, come on”. I mean the entire third act is basically bullshit. At one point Lively times how long it takes the shark to swim a specific distance before she jumps in the water to grab something. However it never seemed to occur to her that she timed the shark swimming casually and that at the point she throws her meat wrapped skeleton into the sea then he might speed the fuck up. Lucky for her it seems that the filmmakers never thought about this either.

However, all of the stupid moments like this also simply add to the fun. You get to laugh at it at the time and you get to rip the piss out of it as the credits roll and you make your way home. Which sort of sounds like I'm saying that the film is shit and one of those 'so bad that it's good' movies. But that's not what I mean at all really. Yes, its filled with stupid moments, but so was something like this years The Forest, however, that was also as boring as fuck. I guess you should think of this as being more like a Jason Statham film in that it's clearly not up there with The Godfather and Citizen Kane but it's as legitimately entertaining as it intends to be by simply not taking itself too seriously. It's basically a perfectly disposable Friday night movie in that I can't think who it won't appeal to. I mean I quite liked it and I don't think I'm a stupid person. I have a degree, I like pretentious sounding films that were made by people who died before I was born, and I'm still yet to try to stick my dick in the toaster.. despite how warm it looks in there. However there were two girls in the audience that also enjoyed the film and who were, to put it bluntly, total fucking idiots. Ignoring the fact that they looked like a couple of bulldogs that had been painted pink, at one point one of them turned to the other and asked, “what's the difference between high tide and low tide?” I mean how do you even begin to answer such a fucking stupid question. All the information she needed was in the fucking question. Her friend found a way of answering however with the the words, “I don't know”. Thanks for reading and see you next time motherfuckers.

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