Tag Archives: Shark

Finding Nemo

20 Mar

FINDING NEMO: Dory and Marlin try to avoid becoming fish sticks for great white shark Bruce.

With this fish tale about family ties, director Andrew Stanton and the animation brain trust at Pixar (Toy Story and Monsters, Inc.) do it again. Sure, the plot about a father’s odyssey to save his imperiled son is old hat, but it’s the clever details, enchanting emotional nuances, and cheeky humor that make Finding Nemoswim.

One of those sublime details is the “lucky” (undersized) fin that the neophyte of the title (voiced by Alexander Gould) is blessed with. As a result, the little white-and-orange-striped clown fish (the species is supposed to be funny, but Nemo’s dad can’t tell a joke to save his tail) isn’t a very good swimmer and isn’t supposed to leave the safety of the reef, but when he does, he’s nabbed by a diver and relegated to an aquarium in a dentist’s office. Marlin (Albert Brooks), Nemo’s widowed father, sets off to retrieve his son, forming an unlikely alliance with a batty blue tang fish who’s impaired by short-term memory loss (deftly done by Ellen DeGeneres). Along the way they encounter a trio of sharks who are trying to give up their piscean diet (“Fish are friends, not food”) and a 150-year-old turtle who articulates in affected surfer speak (“Yah dude!”). You know exactly how this one ends; yet getting there is such an enjoyable delight.

Deep Blue Sea

19 Mar
Deep Blue Sea The Boston Phoenix
DIRECTED BY: Renny Harlin REVIEWED: 08-02-99

Jaws in triplicate and with brains — that’s the hook behind this horror-adventure vehicle that packs a few good thrills and sleek FX behind its nonsensical premise. Director Renny Harlin, back from the dead after the abysmal Cutthroat Island, places his cast of chum on a techno-cool atoll called Aquatica. The rig is an isolated research facility where the beautiful and brainy Saffron Burrows (The Loss of Sexual Innocence) enlarges the cerebellums of three sharks in search of an Alzheimer’s cure. After one of the lab sharks gets loose, the man with the money, Samuel Jackson, drops in on the clam shack to see how his dollars are working. A storm cripples the structure and everyone sits around waiting to become shark hors d’oeuvres.

The battery of piquant characters includes Stellan Skarsgård as the head scientist with a perilous desire to smoke and Michael Rapaport as the nervous technician. As the shark handler, up-and-comer Thomas Jane is an intriguing Mel Gibson-esque variation on Kevin Costner’s mariner from Water World; Burrows is in fine form doing Sigourney Weaver’s Alien bit in her undies; and rapper turned actor L.L. Cool J plays the preachy chef with enough mess-hall ingenuity to take on the watery wolves.

Harlin does keep the suspense strung tight, but the über-sharks’ omnipotence borders on cheesy, unintentional camp — though not to the degree of Jaws author Peter Benchley’s made-for-TV flop, Creature. If you want shark-with-smarts guffaws, try to catch the mid-’70s Saturday Night Live skit “Land Shark.”


–Tom Meek