Great Is Relative

Great White

by Hope Madden

It’s Shark Week! What’s the best way to celebrate?

Watching Jaws, obviously. But maybe you just did that because of the mandatory 4th of July weekend viewing. Then what?

Well, there’s a new movie for you to consider: Martin Wilson’s Great White.

There are so many shark movies. So, so many. It becomes tough to find something new to say.

Some are better than expected (The Shallows), some so bad they are almost worth watching (Sharknado), some masterpieces (Jaws, Open Water). Great White is none of those.

Michael Boughen’s script follows an Australian charter boat into unfriendly water. Cruisers include a rich coward, a haunted hero, a woman with history, a cook, a girlfriend, and, of course, a great white.

Wilson serves up a beautiful movie, beautiful people, gorgeous scenery, Hallmark-channel writing, and a Hallmark-channel score. The actual undersea footage is very borrowed from stock, although there are some cool looking aerial shots. Plus, a dude rides a shark, which is never not fun.

Katrina Bowden, as captain’s girlfriend and brains of the operation Kaz, poses. She exclusively poses and her emoting is so bereft of emotion that her big crying scene is shot from high above with voiceover wailing. It doesn’t help that so very much of her emoting has to be done underwater.

So much underwater emoting. So much.

Woman with a past Michelle (Kimie Tsukakoshi) fares better. Most—though not all—of her emoting happens above the waterline and she proves to be as competent an actor as this script will allow.

Great White spends most of its time on a life raft with five characters and impending doom. Lifeboat did something similar in 1944—of course that was Alfred Hitchcock directing a script by John Steinbeck, a big vessel to fill.

Wilson fills it with lazy writing, superficial performances, contrivance and conveniences that descend into idiocy, and not the fun Sharknado kind. Just the plain old idiotic kind.

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