Review Date: December 6, 1999
Released by: Warner Brothers
Release date: 12/17/1999
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 2.35:1 | 16x9: Yes
Dr. Susan McAlester (Saffron Burrows) has been working on a cure to Alzheimer's disease. She's been working at a research center called "Aquatica", which is an ex-navy complex located in the middle of the ocean. The navy used it for submarine loading and refueling, and now it's been converted to the research center "Acquatica". Susan is using sharks to harvest an enzyme that she hopes will battle cancer. Since sharks are immune to cancer they are perfect for her research.
When one of the test sharks escapes from Aquatica, Susan convinces the funder of all her research, Russell Franklin (Samuel L. Jackson), to give her 48 hours to prove her results before he shuts down the project. Russell agrees, but decides to go back to Aquatica with Susan to see the work first hand. After the first test is completed, and it appears that Susan's work is finally starting to pay off after they revive some dead brain tissue, one of the scientists loses an arm to the shark they were working on.
During the rescue operation for the injured scientist things go wrong, and the test sharks managed to break one of the viewing windows at Aquatica. This causes millions of gallons of ocean water to pour into Aquatica. Along with that ocean water pouring in are the three test sharks. Unfortunately, we soon find out that Susan has done genetic manipulation on the sharks to increase their brain size so they'd be able to harvest more of the cancer fighting enzyme. As a "side effect" to this increased brain size the sharks have become smarter. The scientists now must race to the top of Aquatica, not only to save themselves from the sharks on their tales, but to prevent the sharks from escaping into the deep blue sea.
Director Renny Harlin has made quite a few stinkers in his time, with box office failures such as Cutthroat Island under his belt. While some of his box office failures turned out to be good films, such as Long Kiss Goodnight, he really needed to put out something that was going to be a box office success. With Deep Blue Sea he accomplished exactly that. Created on a budget of $60 million the film has generated over $75 million to date, and with this new DVD release I'm sure that figure will climb even higher.
The story itself isn't all that great, but in terms of action and effects the film really delivers. I've seen so many people refer to this film as "the perfect popcorn movie", and I agree with that statement 100%. You're not always in the mood for a deep storyline, sometimes you just want sit down and watch a movie that is fun to watch and this is where Deep Blue Sea delivers - it's faced paced with great special effects. It's pretty simple to separate the CGI sharks from the mechanical shark used in the film, but given the current technology I really think they did the best they could. I think the mechanical sharks looked terrific, however, and I enjoyed learning a little more about it in the behind-the-scenes segments. At a few points throughout the behind-the-scenes segments the DVD, Renny Harlin challenges anyone to be able to point out the CGI sharks from the mechanical sharks. Renny Harlin, if you're reading this, I'd love to take you up on that offer.
The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is, of course, anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TVs. Gorgeous transfer done by Warner here - zero specks or blemishes on this transfer, colors were deep and well balanced throughout the film.
The sound is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and it's quite amazing. All speakers were quite active throughout the film, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 really helps enhance the viewing experience to the film. is unremarkable but more than adequate.
The supplementary highlight for me was the commentary track from director Renny Harlin and actor Samuel L. Jackson. They weren't both in the same room recording the commentary track together, that's obvious. Instead, what happened is each would speak for a certain amount of time and then it would switch over to the other person. Samuel L. Jackson is only around for about half of the film, but his commentary was fun and entertaining. Sam doesn't go into many technicals for the film, but he does give lots of his thoughts on the film and other actors involved in a humorous way. Renny, on the other hand, does give a lot of technicals on the film and occasionally will throw a joke or two in about Sam or someone else. It appears that both Sam and Renny, having worked in past films such as Long Kiss Goodnight, have obviously development a friendship with one another and this becomes quite obviously when listening to the commentary track.
The other extras includes two short behind-the-scenes segments titled "When Sharks Attack" and "The Sharks of the Deep Blue Sea". "When Sharks Attack" is on the making of Deep Blue Sea and includes interviews with the cast and crew. It's fairly short, but I did enjoy seeing the various interviews it contained. "The Sharks of the Deep Blue Sea" contains footage of some of the actors going out and swimming with real sharks to use as footage in the movie. It also included some details on the mechanical sharks and CGI sharks used in the film. Both were quite enjoyable.
Other extras include a theatrical trailer, a still gallery and some DVD-ROM content. Apparently there's going to be some on-line event that involves some of the DVD-ROM content. I did take a quick look at the DVD-ROM content, but I must admit that the PC Friendly software that is used to view the DVD-ROM content is extremely slow on my K6-2 350 machine, and there really didn't appear to be much there. You can view all of the listed DVD-ROM content below, but half of it I couldn't find (admittingly, I didn't spend very long looking).
A fair amount of extras here on the Deep Blue Sea DVD. Certainly enough to more than justify the $20 retail price.
A fun movie. Order a pizza, get the beer, call some friends and enjoy some shark chomping! The DVD quality is superb and there's a descent amount of extras here. No doubt it's worth a rental for all, but in my book it's a keeper for the fun entertainment it provides.
Movie - B
Image Quality - A
Sound - A
Supplements - B
- Running Time - 1 hour 45 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- Dolby Digital 5.1
- Director Renny Harlin and actor Samuel L. Jackson commentary
- "When Sharks Attach" behind-the-scenes segment
- "The Sharks of the Deep Blue Sea" behind-the-scenes segment
- Theatrical trailer
- DVD-ROM content