by George Wolf
Wait, no new scientific term mixing sharks and weather? No genetically modified sharks? Unearthed prehistoric giants? Sharks with lasers on their heads?
Geesh, do these guys even know how to Sharkmovie?
Don’t get me wrong, Shudder’s Great White gives you plenty of opportunity to suspend disbelief, but it’s built on a premise that now seems almost quaint.
People in the water. Sharks in the water. Big sharks.
Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies….
Actually these are Australian waters, with Charlie (Aaron Jakubenko) and Kaz (Katrina Bowden) running the Pearl Air charter service, where they debate getting married and fire up the seaplane to take tourists on excursions to Hell’s Reef.
The business needs some renewed cash flow, so Charlie is only too happy to book a last minute trip for superdouche investment analyst Joji (Tiim Kano) and his wife Michelle (Kimie Tsukakoshi), who wants to scatter her Grandfather’s ashes in the sea.
But even before cook Benny (Te Kohe Tuhaka) can whip them up a delicious lunch on the island, a ridiculous accident puts everyone in a life raft trying to evade some large, hungry predators that supposedly injured some bathers.
Yes, that’s another Jaws reference, which seems appropriate as director Martin Wilson doesn’t shy away from them either, even including a pretty shameless re-working of one of Spielberg’s classic scenes. But Wilson does craft one major jump scare of his own, and adds frequent shots framed right on the waterline to consistently simmer the tension through simultaneous looks at the castaways and what they fear.
Bowden and Jakubenko mine Michael Boughen’s script for enough authenticity to seem like real people who care for each other. Kano and Tsukakoshi aren’t as lucky, with the Joji character painted as such an over the top asshole that it’s clear he’ll be an entree, the only question is how bloody satisfying it will be to watch.
These man-eaters never do get lasers, but there’s still some pretty outlandish shark wrangling before the shoreline comes into view. So while Great White gets some props for not drowning in silliness from the start, that may have been the only way to make it memorable.
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.