Rating: 2 out of 5
My wife and I decided to indulge in some masochism yesterday when we took a trip with our lovely friends to see The Shallows. The evening was full of delicious food, a toothache I have been nursing for a week, and some of the most atrocious shark action since the Jaws/Pagemaster mashup of 2008 that I just made up. Sure, I could have stayed home and stared at my own testicles, but it’s not usually wise to invite your friends to that.
The Shallows stars Blake Lively and tells the story of a surfer who takes a trip to a hidden beach in order to ride waves and become a snack for a giant demented shark named Craig (probably). It follows the basic formula of several great survival-type films like The Grey and Frozen, but The Shallows lacks a few key elements. Namely, quality writing and directing.
Mrs. Dreamy Reynolds (What? The motherfucker is good-looking) does a fine job with her performance. I admire actors when they take on a role that tasks them with performing alone for the vast majority of the film, and Blake Lively did a perfect job working with the suspense and terror that comes with a wild, angry, possibly racist shark hunting for Oakland booty. Unfortunately, Blake’s performance was pretty much the only highlight of the film besides an injured bird named Steven Seagull who became her sidekick for much of the story.
The Shallows was drenched in slow motion nonsense. I mean marinated. Now, watching focused slow motion shots of Blake Lively’s bikini-clad lady bits as she dives into an ocean may be stimulating, but it does not make me take the damn movie seriously. The first twenty minutes in particular were full of Bay Watch-worthy moments, and it got really irritating really fast. Beyond that, the movie was basically the story of a shark that acted more like Ted Bundy than a killer fish. It had patterns, it was willing to stalk its prey for days regardless of the presence of easier, tastier victims, and it really wanted that woman. This is also the time in the review where I say how terrible many of the special effects were. I hope they gave the shark back to Nintendo 64 when they were done with it.
These sorts of movies are never going to win awards for their writing, and this is no exception. The survival parts were decently written, but they were sandwiched between an irritating beginning and end that ruined whatever the movie had going for it. The middle was not bad (I’m trying not to be a complete asshole). It just felt phoned in for the most part.
Overall, The Shallows was pretty much garbage. It didn’t scar me for life-like the last Turtles movie, but it is not something I will be watching again. It wasn’t torture, but it wasn’t particularly fun either. I think I’ll just take the hour and a half next time to stare at my own testicles. I give it a two out of five.
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