Hollywood Wastes Another Five Million Dollars

I’ve never written a movie review before, but as they say, there’s a first time for everything.

Movie spoilers are one of my biggest pet peeves so there’ll be none of that here. My only goal is to help you in your movie-watching decisions.

I happened to be home alone on Halloween this year and I had just finished a good book (The Last Detective by Robert Crais) so I decided I’d do something I’d never done on Halloween…watch a scary movie.

Perhaps a bit cliché, but it seemed like the thing to do.

I scrolled through NetFlix for a few minutes, avoiding the typical scary movie selections and settled on one that sounded promising, since it featured several things that I enjoy – SCUBA diving, sharks, vacations and good looking women.

The name of the movie was 47 Meters Down.

Synopsis:

Two sisters on vacation in Mexico decide to go shark spotting and end up trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean with very little air and several Great White sharks patrolling the water.

I didn’t want to waste the entire evening blindly scrolling through the entire NetFlix library, and the premise was intriguing enough, so I fixed myself a cocktail and hit play.

Where do I even begin?

I think we should start with something positive…the trailer was very captivating.

Okay – so much for positive…

Soon after American tourists Kate and Lisa meet a couple of guys in a Mexican nightclub, they decide to join these two strangers the following day SCUBA diving with sharks.

This is where the first red flag went up in my mind…you see, these guys aren’t associated with any reputable tourist operation…they just “know a guy.”

So the girls show up at the dock in the morning, and we meet the captain who will take them on their adventure (I didn’t even recognize Matthew Modine in the role of the captain). They take a skiff from the dock to the captain’s boat – second red flag – it looks like it’s staying afloat by luck. Then we see the shark cage! Red Flag number 3!! At least when Hooper showed up at Quint’s boat with his shark cage, it was shiny, aluminum and had flotation pontoons at the top. Our two heroines are about to climb into a rusty, steel cage that is probably older than both of them combined, but younger than the worn and frayed steel cable attached to it.

I suppose these things could be written off as foreshadowing – so let’s move on…

Javier and Louis (the two guys who talked the sisters into this party) go down in the cage first.

Now – maybe it’s just me, but since there is a suggestion of romantic interest between the four main characters, wouldn’t you think they’d go down boy-girl, rather than boys first, then girls?

Anyway…the girls finally get their turn (despite repeated objections from Lisa, who has never been diving before).

The cage is lowered to the pre-determined depth of five meters and all is good. Kate and Lisa are laughing, taking selfies and telling each other how awesome the experience is.

Meanwhile, I’m asking myself, how can they communicate with each other, and the boat, when their ears are not enclosed within the full face masks they’re wearing?

Oh well, movie magic, I suppose.

So after a couple of minutes, SURPRISE!, the tattered cable from which the cage is suspended snaps and sends the girls plummeting to the ocean floor, 47 meters down (such a clever title).

So here they are, after a panic-filled drop that seemed to last twenty minutes, (it was only about twenty seconds, but the director decided to show it in the style of an NFL replay booth) on the bottom of the ocean with one tank of air each, and they have to figure out how to survive and make their way back to the surface…

Being a certified SCUBA diver, I can say that this is where the real problems with the movie begin to rear their ugly heads.

The factual inaccuracies regarding diving are so numerous I don’t have time to list them all. All writers, myself included, rely on suspension of disbelief, but whoever was at the keyboard for this script didn’t even try to make it semi-plausible.

Every story needs a bad guy, so let’s look at the villains of the movie.

The sharks.

The (mostly CGI) sharks are portrayed as ruthless, predators lying in wait for a free meal. Apparently, if you’re a shark, you’d much rather wait for the two humans to come out of the cage than go after the countless smaller and slower fish within fins reach.

Chalk up another one for one of Hollywood’s biggest (and most inaccurate) stereotypes.

Our heroines have two options, stay in the cage until they run out of air and suffocate, or leave the cage and swim to the surface hoping not to become snacks for the sharks.

Like I said – no spoilers here, instead let’s look at the technical aspects of the film; the directing, lighting, camera work, acting, etc. were good, but not good enough to save a poorly written screenplay.

When you boil the whole thing down, my opinion of this movie is as follows;

There are many more worthwhile ways to spend an hour and a half than watching this movie. Cleaning the cat box, baking a nice roadkill-pot-pie, volunteering for clinical trials at the local STD clinic…the list is nearly endless.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a one, only because Claire Holt (Kate) looks good in a bikini.

Perhaps the thing that bothers me the most is that Hollywood continually puts out this kind of crap as if they can’t find any good stories when there are thousands of independent authors out there with stories that would blow this garbage out of the water (pun intended).

47 Meters Down is about half as deep as this movie should be buried.

 

As always – thank you for reading

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Hollywood Wastes Another Five Million Dollars

  1. Greg will appreciate this. He has written to several authors about their “factual inaccuracies” regarding diving. He loves to read about it when it’s done right.

  2. This sounds as bad as one I watched called “Black Water” (2007). A group of friends tour the everglades and a rogue alligator terrorizes them. For much of the movie they sit on a tree branch wondering the gator has moved and they can swim away or not.

    47 Meters Down sounds horrible. I will, however, admit to Googling “Claire Holt.” 🙂

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