Thoughts I had while watching... The Last Shark
If I were smarter, I would have themed this week as Shark Week in its lead-up to The Meg's release on Friday. But I'm new to this and so what you're getting, instead, is four days of Shark Stuff. Today was my first mistake. Tomorrow, you'll get My Top Five Favorite Shark Movies that Aren't Jaws. Friday, I'll post my thoughts on why Jaws 2 is a classic slasher. All of this will culminate on Saturday, with my review of The Meg.
It’s a Wednesday and I’m home sick. I’m scrolling through Amazon Prime to maybe find something to entertain myself and what do I find? The best** shark movie imaginable. So, with The Meg just a few days away, I pulled open my laptop, put on my headphones and settled in for another Thoughts I had while... article. Little did I know just what I signed up for.
Future me would like to recommend current you to just not read this. Because this was just...
1:50 PM -- I don’t know how to air surf or whatever it’s called, but I don’t think this man we’re watching knows how to do it either.
1:51 PM -- Windsurf. It's called windsurfing.
1:52 PM -- This is a literal music video featuring just a man, the ocean and a surfboard with a sail attached to it.
1:53 PM -- Still watching.
1:54 PM -- Still watching.
1:55 PM -- His name is Mike, a radio jockey just told us. He’s apparently really good at doing whatever it is he’s doing. I disagree, but what do I know. I'm from Nebraska.
1:56 PM -- Underwater view!
1:57 PM -- The lack of music kind of kills this.
1:57 PM -- Oh no! Mike was just attacked by........a water geyser?
1:57 PM -- He gets pulled under and...I think the water has a little tint of red to it?
2:00 PM -- The Last Shark was directed by Enzo G. Castellari, who is known for the 1978 version of The Inglorious Bastards and something called 1990: The Bronx Warriors.
2:02 PM -- Universal sued to have this pulled from theaters because of plagiarism. I think that's giving this too much credit.
2:03 PM -- The main character is a writer named Peter Benton. Not to be confused with Peter Benchley.
2:03 PM -- "One thing’s for sure. It wasn’t no floating chainsaw.” That would have made a much more entertaining premise. Can you imagine? Just a floating chainsaw, attacking swimmers?
2:05 PM -- Peter Benton is ruggedly handsome. He’s played by James Franciscus, who’s probably best known (maybe?) for a role in Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
2:05 PM -- Look. I'm just saying, I wouldn’t kick him out of bed in the morning.
2:08 PM -- “Couldn’t it have been an explosion? We all know that when Ed goes fishing he uses grenades” is a line I won’t be able to stop thinking about. You do you, Eddie.
2:11 PM -- So the Larry Vaughn stand-in recognizes there's a shark, but there's a Regatta happening. He wants them to strew chain netting around the lagoon to keep the populace safe. So he's already better than Larry Vaughn.
2:15 PM -- The Quint character is both more polite and...Scottish?
2:19 PM -- The chain netting didn't work. I know, you're shocked. But now the shark is carrying one of the red floaties that was attached to the fence and it's like Jaws meets Pennywise.
2:19 PM -- They’ve established the shark is a great white and they’re using a mix of live footage and an incredible fake shark. Emphasis on fake. But the shark footage seems to be of a mako, not a great white.
2:22 PM -- I’m really trying to find something interesting to say, but this movie is just bad. It’s so boring, which is one of the worst cinema crimes a movie can make.
2:25 PM -- There’s still 53 minutes left.
2:26 PM -- I mistook this movie for Cruel Jaws, another Italian Jaws knockoff. That one was directed by the Shocking Dark director. I thought that would have made a fun side story to the first article I ran on this site. But no. I'm just dumb.
2:26 PM -- It’s buffet time for the shark. Pennywise Shark keeps knocking people off their surfboards with sails. Sailboards? Is that a thing?
2:28 PM -- OMG. Another water geyser knocked someone into the air. And the shark finally surfaced.
2:30 PM -- The music has that decidedly Italian rock flair. The composer was Maurizio De Angelis and Guido De Angelis, who also contributed to Death Proof in 2007.
2:34 PM -- I’m bored. This is boring.
2:35 PM -- So how about that Meg, huh? Have you read the book? I did, when it first came out. I was in a shark phase, having read Jaws and White Shark. I devoured Meg and went on to read Extinct by Charles Wilson.
2:37 PM -- The film crew is watching footage of the water geyser attack. One is miffed because you can’t see the shark. The other says, “use a little stock footage. Nobody’d know the difference.”
2:38 PM -- I feel like that guy is a stand-in for the director. "Just splice some random shark footage in. Nobody’d know the difference."
2:39 PM -- But we do, Enzo. We do.
2:47 PM -- The shark is just floating there. That’s not how sharks work, Enzo.
2:47 PM -- Anyway, young me loved Meg. But I’m listening to it on Audio book right now in prep for the film and...it hasn’t aged well. I forgot how sexist Jonas Taylor was. How unlikable he is. He keeps referring to Terry Tanaka’s eyes as “almond shape.”
2:52 PM -- Jaws is two hours and four minutes long and goes by so quickly. The Last Shark is an hour and 28 minutes and feels never-ending.
2:54 PM -- I just keep shouting, “That’s not how sharks work, Enzo!” No one cares, Terry.
2:55 PM -- I hope The Meg does well, because I would love to see them adapt The Trench. I thought The Trench was a better novel than Meg. Plus a lot of it was set in an underwater lab. Anything set in an underwater lab is already A++ in my book.
2:56 PM -- This movie is painful.
3:03 PM -- Does anyone else feel like the shark in The Meg trailers changes size and shape with each scene? Like how big is this shark? Is it Ant-Shark?
3:05 PM -- This is literally the best scene of the movie. Dude in a helicopter falls into the ocean and the helicopter keeps going back to get him out and he keeps slipping.
3:06 PM -- OMG the shark just bit him in half!
3:06 PM -- OMG the shark just pulled the helicopter into the water!
3:06 PM -- OMG the copter just became the size of a toy in a bathtub!
3:08 PM -- Other than Not-Benchley and Scottish Quint, I’ve lost the plot on this. I don’t know who any of these characters are.
3:08 PM -- Character motivations? Pfft, who needs it.
3:10 PM -- I wish a shark would bite me in half right now, so I could stop watching this movie.
3:12 PM -- At what point is this just going to devolve into 30 Rock gifs?
3:12 PM -- Me, right now.
3:17 PM -- The shark just pulled a part of the pier away.
3:17 PM -- This isn’t how sharks work, Enzo.
3:18 PM -- Left Shark is more realistic than this one.
3:18 PM -- Part of the dock is being pulled out to sea.
3:21 PM -- Hiiiiiiiiiii guys!
3:22 PM -- Not Benchley is now stuck on the dock. It’s him verses shark.
3:23 PM -- Don’t worry, he has a bunch of 2X4s.
3:24 PM -- And a diver with a bomb attached to him?
3:24 PM -- With that….Pennyshark is dead. It was quite dramatic. Not Benchley pressed a button that detonated the bombs on the diver. And for some reason, while he pressed the button, he side-jumped into the water? Like...what if it didn't explode?
3:25 PM -- Credits. I’m free. I’m free.
**It was not the best shark movie imagineable.