Any kind of intelligent critical analysis of Deep Blue Sea is, not to put too fine a point on it, a waste of everyone’s time. Perhaps that’s why I’ve ended up – by request – with the review disc of the Blu-ray release. Because, for me, this is one of a series of movies that director Renny Harlin made that I’d happily watch time and time again.
Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger, I’d argue, may not have been the peak of the action genre, but they’re still highly enjoyable movies in their own right. Although, ironically, I warmed less to what many find his best film, the union of Samuel L Jackson and Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight.
Samuel L Jackson memorably appears here too in Deep Blue Sea, as one of the bunch of baffled actors who gamely go through the motions, pretending everything they’re talking about is deathly serious. Saffron Burrows, Stellan Skarsgard, LL Cool J, Michael Rapaport and Thomas Jane all play along too, and their commitment to the material is ultimately to the benefit of the film.
For even though its premise, of genetically modified sharks in generally a bloody bad mood, is one you can drive holes through, the film was and is a blast. It’s a well-made blast, too, with a couple of really quite impressive moments that stick in mind.
The main one is the surprise disposal of one of the key characters, but I also really warmed to the whole Jurassic Shark-esque premise, with the sharks testing the limits of their containment. Plus, you can’t beat the moment when Stellan Skargard’s arm comes off either. That’s cinema gold right there.
You can call Deep Blue Sea whatever you like. For some it might be a guilty pleasure, for some it might be terrible, for others it might just be an excuse to spend a really entertaining night in front of the telly. I’m closer to the latter camp, even accepting that Deep Blue Sea is derivative, and not shy of problems.
But, for me at least, it is hugely entertaining, and I’m pleased to see it chosen for a high definition upgrade.
It’s not been a bad choice for HD either, particularly by the standards of catalogue releases. I warmed to the Blu-ray transfer a lot, finding it clean, a genuine improvement over the DVD, and holding the bright colour palette of the film very well, indeed. The sharks still look odd, and adding more picture resolution to them doesn’t help their cause. But I don’t have a problem with that.
The sound mix is pretty good too, with enough surround oomph and punch to keep your speakers busy for the best part of two hours.
The extra features are all portovers from the DVD release. The commentary with Samuel L Jackson and Renny Harlin is certainly worth a listen (for more reasons than one, as it turns out), and then there’s a handful of featurettes and deleted scenes, which weren’t that interesting a decade ago, and time has not been kind.
But it is has been to the film itself. Back when I first saw it in 1999, I marked Deep Blue Sea down as a flawed movie, but an absolute hoot to watch. I maintain that opinion absolutely stands as the movie makes its Blu-ray bow, and I look forward to spinning the new disc as often as I did the DVD.
The Movie:The Disc:
Deep Blue Sea is out now on Blu-ray and available from the Den Of Geek Store.