Off the Shelf: 28 Random Observations About ‘Deep Blue Sea’

“Deepest, bluest, my hat is like a shark’s fin…” Much like LL Cool J’s perplexing theme song lyrics, the reason why I put ‘Deep Blue Sea’ in the Blu-ray player last week is just as mystifying, especially to me. There it was, still on my shelf, still factory sealed, only ‘Cyrus‘ and ‘The Dark Crystal‘ away from Renny Harlin’s other schlock masterpiece ‘Cutthroat Island‘. I had to watch it.

I didn’t really have a good reason for sticking in such a cheesy movie, except maybe to see CGI sharks swim backwards, which they aren’t supposed to do. These sharks are smart and gigantic, because you need humongous, intelligent, man-eating sharks in order to cure Alzheimer’s. It’s science.

Title:Deep Blue Sea
Director: Renny Harlin
Blu-ray Release Date: August 31, 2010

The 28 Random Observations
  1. It’s pretty telling what a kid does to your free time, when you’re willing to fire up ‘Deep Blue Sea’ at 10:40 PM just to have some “me” time. I just wanted to relax and watch numerous people get chomped to death underwater, disappearing into red plumes of blood.
  2. When the movie opens, there’s a party yacht with some bikini-clad babes along with some tool boyfriends. It’s never, ever good to be the first people on the scene in any kind of shark attack movie. They usually end up as helpless chum. That is, unless Thomas Jane is in the movie. He’s a Shark Wrangler, y’all!
  3. Along with that, you never want to have your under-parts shown on camera underwater in a shark movie. This usually means it’s the shark point of view and that he’s picturing your legs as two delicious turkey drumsticks.
  4. I’m still not sure what the wine spilling on the party yacht is supposed to signify. The writers know that sharks are drawn by the smell of blood and not just red wine floating in the water that happens to look like blood, right?
  5. We soon get a nice view of Aquatica, the mid-ocean research lab. It looks like a reworked ‘Waterworld’ set, and then I realized they’re just showing us this so we know everything that will be destroyed in a little under 90 minutes from now.
  6. Why does Samuel L. Jackson hate animals that start with the letter “S”?
  7. I guess the first time I watched this I was asleep or not paying attention, but I have no recollection of Jackson’s hysterical Tattoo reference. (High-pitched squeal: “The plane, boss, the plane!”)
  8. Just so we can affirm how badass Jane’s character really is, he rides a tiger shark like it’s a dolphin and then pulls a license plate out of its mouth. I’m still not really sure why. Did the shark eat a Buick?
  9. I’m always sad when it’s announced early on that Aquatica runs on a skeleton crew during the weekend. That place really should’ve been chock-full of delicious humans.
  10. You know, there are some good practical effects in this movie, but once it cuts over to the CGI, it’s Syfy Channel quality. Granted, the good news is that the film’s CGI quality in 1999 was that of Syfy’s CGI quality in 2012, but still, some of that CGI is pretty terrible.
  11. You know you’ve stumbled into the wrong movie when you meet LL Cool J and a profane parrot who can’t stop saying “Dickhead.” A match made in cinematic hell.
  12. Stellan Skarsgard is always cast as the creep. He has that way of talking that makes it feel like he should be torturing a group of kittens somewhere.
  13. Jaws was a mean-ass shark. We all know that. But could Jaws swim backwards? Nope. That’s always one of my favorite parts of this movie, when the characters boldly announce that sharks can’t swim backwards, but these can. Shit just got real.
  14. The one big problem I’ve always had with this movie is that the sharks seem wildly inconsistent in size. (More on this later.)
  15. Skarsgard has a bout of bad luck. After getting his arm bitten off, a helicopter winch malfunction turns him into the world’s largest fishing pole. Then he becomes an underwater human battering ram. Maybe it’s karma for all those kitties he was no doubt torturing.
  16. After watching ‘Deep Blue Sea’, I had to check out Michael Rapaport’s filmography. That’s where I learned that my initial thought about him was true. He’s always the most annoying character in whatever movie he’s in.
  17. SPOILER! LL Cool J is one of the survivors of this bloody smorgasbord, but this time around, I hoped that I was watching a different cut. His forced comedic relief is deadlier than the backwards swimming sharks.
  18. With some seriously awesome Googling skills, I learned a few things about sharks. You know how I said that these sharks never stay a consistent size? Well, it’s true. Underwater, they appear huge in comparison to other things around them. However, they swim through tiny doorways and corridors with ease. They’re mako sharks, and it’s repeated two or three times that they’re 8,000 pounds each. The largest mako ever caught was 1,300 pounds. Let’s say for argument’s sake that somewhere out there a monster 2,000 pound mako shark lives. That means these sharks are four times as big as that make-believe shark I just thought up. To put that in perspective, 8,000 pounds is twice as large as some of the bigger great white sharks out there. That means these sharks should be at least the size of two big great whites swimming around that small complex. There’s no way they’re swimming through those tiny doors.
  19. ‘Deep Blue Sea’ has a wonderful lesson about profanity that parents can teach if their kids become potty-mouths. It’s right around the part where LL Cool J finds himself trapped in his own oven. He’s trying to save his foul-mouthed parrot, when the parrot chimes “Eat my asshole,” which is promptly followed by a hearty chomp from the shark below. See kids, if you start swearing, you might just get eaten by a shark.
  20. Awards Announcement: ‘Deep Blue Sea’ was nominated for the Best Visual Effects Award from the Las Vegas Film Critics Society. It didn’t win, though. So close. Yet LL Cool J did win Favorite Supporting Actor in an Action Movie from the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards. This was most likely because they couldn’t give the award to the parrot.
  21. I’ve seen the movie before. I know it’s coming, but when Jackson starts giving his rousing speech, I start getting all giddy inside. Despite the overall silliness and nonsensical nature of this movie, the moment where that shark pops out of the pool and chomps down on Jackson is one of the best and most unexpected cinematic deaths in recent memory.
  22. Poor Janice Higgins gets killed by a full-on crotch bite. If I had a choice, crotch bite would be the very last way I’d want to go.
  23. I’m pretty sure the exact same shot of the underwater building crumbling gets played at least three different times.
  24. Right after the remaining survivors are traumatized by seeing one of their own go down by crotch evisceration, Rapaport’s first thought is to look for extra batteries in the now-deceased woman’s room and insinuating that he’ll find them in her vibrator. Classy.
  25. Rapaport’s death twitch from his CGI severed legs goes down as one of my favorite “How Could I Not Remember That Happened?” scenes.
  26. After all this blood and carnage, I wonder if anyone ever thought, “Hey, we should’ve used nurse sharks or something.”
  27. Props for the electrocution death that happens to shark #2. It gives Saffron Burrows a chance to strip down to her undies.
  28. I find that movies like this make me unconsciously practice holding my breath for as long as the characters on screen have to hold theirs. I’d die far too easily.
Favorite Previously Forgotten Quote

Preacher (LL Cool J) giving an impassioned, yet hilariously silly sermon before the movie’s climax: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil. For thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Because I carry a big stick and I’m the meanest motherfucker in the valley! Two sharks down, Lord! One demon fish to go! Can I get an Amen?”

Final Thoughts

‘Deep Blue Sea’ is one of those movies that sits on the movie shelf for years, until you decide, “Hey, that had some pretty funny scenes in it.” Then you stick it in the player. That, or you see it on TBS some Saturday morning when you don’t want to get out of bed. It’s not the greatest shark movie out there, but it’s leagues ahead of ‘Shark Night‘. I’ll give it that.

15 comments

  1. Aaron Peck
    Author

    I didn’t know that this would go up on Valentine’s Day. If I did I would’ve said:

    29. There’s no better way to spend a romantic night in than spending it with a profane parrot, LL Cool J quips, and backwards swimming sharks. I mean, who needs flowers and chocolate anyway? Right?

  2. Evan Withrow

    This post, and the fact that I just found out Deep Blue Sea is on Netflix streaming just made my day, haha. Thank you so very much Aaron.

  3. Alistair Paterson

    “I’ve seen the movie before. I know it’s coming, but when Jackson starts giving his rousing speech, I start getting all giddy inside. Despite the overall silliness and nonsensical nature of this movie, the moment where that shark pops out of the pool and chomps down on Jackson is one of the best and most unexpected cinematic deaths in recent memory.”

    Not to mention the worst CGI ever!

    Also why was LL cool J banging on about omeletes?!

  4. Jonathan Doan

    I think the only way to enjoy this movie is very late at night, with friends, after you’ve all had a few beers…

    Then it’s just a fun goof-fest, chock-full of impossible scenarios with no regard for reality.

    And yes, Samuel L.’s death is, by far, the best thing about this movie. It is most triumphant.

  5. Aaron did you watch Jaws? If you did you’d notice the License Plate taken out of the sharks mouth in Deep Blue Sea was the same number as the one out of the stomach of the shark in Jaws! I loved this movie! It’s very easy to watch…just pure entertainment! I was hardly looking for realism nor watching it with an overly critical eye! If I had to pick apart every movie I ever watched I’d stop watching movies!

  6. Ramon

    I just saw much of the film on satellite TV while visiting my parents. Of note is the parrot, which I just learned was portrayed by two different birds, whose death caused me to stop watching the film (though I did catch on Youtube his owner’s revenge scene). My family owns 3 parrots, one of them a 25 year-old Amazon Green Cheek (also known as a Red Crown Amazon or even a Mexican Redhead), and we didn’t care to see a pet getting eaten. It was amusing, at least, to think of the cook keeping a parrot in the facility’s kitchen, even going so far as to let the bird perch on the pots and pans. That strained my suspension of disbelief the most, considering how messy parrots are.

  7. Matthew Nott

    Can great whites or Makes actually survive in a fenced environment i thought they couldn’t survive in captivity? I know ita a film lol just checking that the whole story line is impossible from the start thanks

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