On a dramatic level, the best shark movie since Jaws, but still leagues away. The Shallows for now will likely be my final shark related review as I have touched on most of the ones I wanted to actually watch and review. When it was first released, the hype around it was very much what I said in the beginning. The best shark movie since Jaws. It really wasn’t saying much, but it was also saying a lot. It just meant that this movie was actually good rather than a throw away movie like Shark Night. Of course I went and saw it in theatres, but this is the first time I have seen it since then. Now I can really compare it to the other shark related films that I have recently watched.
The Shallows is a good movie plain and simple, but it doesn’t do much outside of just being good. It is true that it is the best shark movie since Jaws if you’re looking at pure drama. I would say on an entertaining level The Meg is probably the better film, but The Shallows holds its own as being a truly solid movie that delivers. All of the shark movies to a certain level are just simple survival movies, this one though feels more like a true somewhat realistic survival movie.
I say “somewhat” because of course none of these movies are really that realistic with sharks that seem to just seek out humans, but in comparison to say 47 Meters Down, this feels a lot more realistic. It’s also extremely simple as a premise which I think works best for it. Blake Lively is surfing with some people that she meets on a beach that she doesn’t know. They leave and she stays by herself and is attacked by a shark. She swims to a rock to seek safety and is now trying to survive and make it to shore somehow.
It’s incredibly simple when you look at it like that, but it’s the simplicity that I think works best and allows for us to really connect with Lively’s character. I honestly can’t say that I even remember what her name is, but I don’t think it matters all that much. The movie feels more like a survival movie that you would see in something like Everest or 127 Hours where it’s really a fight for survival. I would say that while the shark is very much a main character in the movie, I think the survival aspect actually reaches out a bit more than it being a shark movie.
That tends to go back to realism as I look back at both of the 47 Meters Down films. They seem to really set up a dire situation that would be a one in a trillion kind of situation that seems to be made more for the horror and shock value of sharks. That actually takes away from the quality of the movie because it’s less believable. The second film doesn’t help either by making it be even more unrealistic to happen, and again almost seems more juvenile and directed towards a younger audience like teens.
The Shallows feels like an adult shark movie with more drama, and a solid plot and setup that would seem to attract your every day audience. It’s because of this that I think the film is so good. It’s not a fair judgment to compare this movie to Jaws because anything is automatically going to look lesser to it, but if I forget Jaws for a moment, this is really a great summer movie. It doesn’t try to be anything it’s not and it follows its own setup without veering too far into the fantastical.
It does have a few moments that seem a little fantastical like most shark movies tend to do. Just to name off a few moments, why does a shark just hang around and attack people like that? I get that it’s the feeding ground of the shark since the dead whale is there so they did seem to cover that part, but it was the other people that were trying to save her that kind of felt a little fantastical. They were nowhere near as close to the dead whale as she was, but hey at least they actually had something that could work as an excuse.
The other thing that ended up being a little iffy were all of the times that the shark was absolutely relentless in his attack on solid objects. The first when he practically jumps on the rock and the second with the buoy. I can’t fault it too much because Jaws has a similar moment, but still. The other iffy part was how she defeated the shark, it seemed to be the most fantastical part of the movie. I mean I understand that he’s attacking her, but to just bite down on a bunch of metal rods or whatever they were seems a little silly.
Either way though, that is just a point of nitpicking that I’m not going to fault the movie too much on. It’s a good movie from start to finish and Blake Lively certainly gives a great performance. I was glad to finally see her in something to since it has been quite a while. I give this movie plenty of props for just making a good movie without trying to be too extra about what it is. It is on a drama level the best movie since Jaws and it deserves that merit as well as deserving to be seen by anyone who hasn’t seen it. I’m glad it hasn’t received a sequel, but I hope that it’s not due to box office. I recommend anyone to see this movie just for a good movie and a good time.