Okay, it's safe to say that Jaws is the apex of shark movies. It's
scary, funny, has great characters, and one hell of a giant shark.
Though limited by the visual effects technology of its time, Jaws still
works today. So why haven't some of the more recent shark films had the
same success. Oh, there are a variety of reasons.
We're gonna work our way down until we get to the bottom of the
barrel when it comes to shark movies--and oooooo, it gets quite bad; get ready for some really smelly cheese.
First, let's take a quick glance at the grand master:
Not only does this film succeed as a great shark movie, but also as an excellent adventure/drama. Steven Spielberg had some serious issues while making the film, much of these involving the robotic shark--which simply didn't work most of the time. Check out the documentary, Jaws: The Inside Story for more info. It's really informative and fun.
Next up is a low-budget flick that was quite effective. Scared the hell
out of me (and I've had a few close encounters with sharks, myself).
2. Open Water
See, this is the kind of movie I can't watch. Sharks and clowns are the two things that scare me the most. This film realistically created the absolute terror of being eaten alive. While I didn't like the film, I can't dispute the overall feeling of dread that it created.
Now we start getting into the area of cheezy shark films. And while this next example is definitely comprised of cheddar, I couldn't help but like it.
From the same guy that wrote Jaws (Peter Benchley) comes this story of a human/shark hybrid that runs amok killing people. Was it fun? Hell, yeah! This is actually a cool science fiction story with a great monster. Stan Winston's critter is quite real looking and very scary... though I think I could outrun it.
The cheese gets a bit more smelly, but not much so, with this next selection:
I really want to hate this move. Really, I do. But the notion of hyper-intelligent sharks in a flooded research facility is just too good to pass up. Plus... what other movie has a scene like this?
Egad! Sam Jackson getting snapped up by a CGI shark! Holy crap!
Really, check it out. It's fun, silly, and well made--a perfect combo for a late night popcorn movie.
Now things start sliding downhill on the cheese wheel. We're aiming toward Taleggio, which is stinky... but not as stinky as it gets.
I include this as an example because... well, just because.
Okay... here we go. Strap on your seat belts. We're entering Stilton cheese territory--quite smelly. Get the nose plugs ready.
Okay, I was wrong. Put in the nose plugs. We are now in Limburger territory. Girt your loins, my friends. This is gonna be rough.
Yep. You read that right. A shark. With two heads.
I don't know where to go with this. Isn't one head scary enough? It makes me wonder if the heads actually fight over food... but I don't think each head could bend far enough to bite the other head in the face, ya know?
All righty then... let's ramp up the stupid. Can you smell the cheese through your nose plugs yet? If not, you soon will...
Just watch and smell as the cheese wafts past your nose plugs.... Enjoy.
Really? I'm just gonna repeat that. Really???? I must admit to loving Godzilla flicks as a kid, and this has the fine, cheezy smell of one of those. Hell, why not? Sharktopus. Hypogryph. Whatever. Let's continue combining animals until we have something like... I dunno... Pig Shark.
Smell the Limburger. Smell it. Love it.
When I mentioned Pig Shark, I was kidding. I mean, we already have Sharktopus, a shark/octopus hybrid. How could we get even more ludicrous? Hmmm....
Yep. Sharks caught in a tornado that somehow manage to make it all the way to Kansas to eat people. My brain is currently trying to wrench its way out of my head.
I have to admit that the effects look great. The eight-gazillion sharks flopping out of the sky look pretty good. Go CGI! And I humbly admit that I want to see this.. It looks fun and mind-numbingly stupid.
But, come on.... Where is the good story? At least Jaws had a great plot. I can say this about all sorts of film genres. But... then you have the up-n'-comers, the uber low-budget films that are the corner stone of some really great talent. Every great film-maker has to start somewhere. And here are two examples of extraordinarily smelly cheese (to the point that I will call them aerosol cheese) that are really trying:
10. Snow Shark
Okay... neat idea... Maybe a budget would be a good thing... Like... I dunno... $11 and a bag of burgers for the crew.
The amount of "Let's get drunk and watch a stupid movie" vibe that comes out of this is insane. Have to see it. I have now written it down on an pad next to my computer. And yes... I do have a pad of odd things sitting to my left (I'm Ieft-handed).
But here comes THE Z-rate, uber cheezy shark film:
11. Jurassic Shark
"You're chum, bitch!" Sorry. You can't write worse/better lines than that. It depends on your mindset. If I were sitting in a room with a pizza and a few beers and that line showed up, I would be spewing beer out of my nose and trying hard not to have a major pizza incident.
What kills me is that, in researching this topic, I've not even gotten one-tenth of the way through all of the bad shark movies. Not to mention all of the ant, spider, lizard, wolf, and... I dunno.... there are other critters out there with bad movies. I may have to delve into this topic again... with your blessings of course.