Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How to Survive a Shark Attack

Despite its obvious flaws I quite enjoyed last year’s ‘The Shallows,’ a movie about a cat-and-mouse game between a Great White Predator and Blake Lively’s hapless surfer-in-peril (reviewed here: Blake Lively kicks Shark Butt), so when the new Jaws-inspired movie ’47 Meters Down’ came under my radar I just knew I had to see it.  One blurb even called it “the best shark film since Jaws,” so you’ll have to forgive me for jumping the shark, I mean into my local mega-plex to see it the first change I got.
The basic plot of 47MD is bloodily simple.  Easy-on-the-eyes siblings Kate and Lisa (Aussie actress Claire Holt and singer/actress Mandy Moore) go on vacay in Mexico to help the latter get over her recent separation with her boyfriend, who had the gall to break up with her because he considered her “boring.”  Needing to send her ex-BF a “FU, you don’t know what you’re missing” and reasoning that “I’ll be enclosed in a sturdy steel cage and people did it all the time, so what could possibly go wrong?", Lisa (who does seem to be a tame and risk-averse gal in the movie) threw caution into the wind and reluctantly allowed her wilder and more spontaneous little sis Kate to talk her into going on a cage dive in shark-infested waters after a couple of local young eligible bachelors they met at a bar the previous night suggested it.  What could possibly go wrong?  The law of “Murphy” of course.
I was disappointed.  After sitting through a third of the movie following the sisters around with all their girl-talk and issues before they become shark bait, the big payoff I expected never materialized.  Unlike ‘The Shallows,’ the tension and suspense failed to build-up to a level that kept me at the edge of my seat, and the sense of danger and peril were sorely lacking in this film.  47MD may be more realistic in its depiction of real-life shark encounters wherein a survivor lived to tell the Shark tale, but sometimes movies have to ratchet it up a few notches and over-dramatize things to keep us interested even if every marine biologist tells us that sharks aren’t the aggressive, human-chomping monsters pop culture made them out to be.  Even the original ‘Jaws’ went pretty far, right?  And I was shaking my head in utter disbelief when I saw the (spoiler ahead) faux ending sequence in which Lisa fought off tooth-and-nail the shark that had her firmly in its grips by ripping one of its eyes out, but then I read this hard-to-believe story: How to Survive a Shark Attack.  Regardless, I still liked the badass, don’t mess with Blake Lively ending of ‘The Shallows’ much better.  Sorry, reality is just soooo boring.

Grade: C+

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