Shark Week: Day Five – The Shark Attack Movies

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Shark Week: Day Five – The Shark Attack Movies

We started out the week with the greatest shark movie ever and now we come to the other end of the spectrum.  The most redeeming fact is none of these movies tonight take themselves too seriously.  May not be scientifically accurate but they are fun.

Shark Attack (1999)

  • Directed: Bob Misiorowski
  • Produced: Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort, Mandy Branch, Trevor Short
  • Written: Scott Devine, William Hooke
  • Starring: Casper Van Dien, Jenny Mcshane, Bentley Mitchum, Ernie Hudson, Cordell McQueen, Chris Olley, Jacob Makgoba, Paul Ditchfield
  • Music: Serge Colbert
  • Editing: Gerard Jakubowicz
  • Cinematography: Lawrence Sher
  • Distributed: Martien Holdings A.V.V.
  • Release date: November 9, 1999 (USA)
  • Running time: 95 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

When an accidental death verdict is given on discovery of the remains of a top scientist, within the stomach of a hammerhead shark his closest friend Marine Biologist Steven McRay is not happy with the explanation and travels to investigate further, where he discovers that his friend's death was not an isolated incident, and that the local population have been terrorized by a rash of shark attacks.  Developments in scientific technology had allowed experts to predict the pattern and likelihood of Shark Attacks, but now it seems that they may also be able to actually control these factors, rendering at their disposal the ultimate Killing machine.  Enjoy the water... you may never want to go in the sea again!

The movie features very few on-screen shark attacks.  However, an attack on a tourist dangling her leg in the water is very realistic and in line with documented shark attacks.  Instead of the shark taking off her whole leg, it takes out a large chunk of flesh, which later required surgical amputation.

No Sharks were damaged or destroyed for the filming of this movie.  Port Amanzi is a fictitious name created for the filming location of Port Alfred, South Africa, where no real shark attacks have ever occurred.

Shark Attack 2 (2000)

  • Directed: David Worth
  • Produced: Avi Lerner, Brigid Olen, Danny Dimbort, Danny Lerner, David Varod
  • Written: Scott Devine, William Hooke
  • Starring: Thorsten Kaye, Nikita Ager, Dan Metcalfe, Caroline Bruins, Danny Keogh
  • Music: Mark Morgan
  • Editing: Irit Raz
  • Cinematography: Yossi Wein
  • Studio: Nu Image Films
  • Distributed: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
  • Release date: February 13, 2001
  • Running time: 98 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

Danger stalks the beautiful beaches of Hawaii in this action-packed drama. Dr. Nick West (Thorsten Kaye) is a marine biologist hired to deal with the results of an experiment in genetics -- a mutated breed of great white sharks with an especially fearsome disposition. West soon discovers some of the sharks have gotten loose while being transported to a aquarium and are helping themselves to the windsurfers along a once-quiet Hawaiian shoreline. West teams up with Roy Bishop (Daniel Alexander), a veteran shark fisherman from Australia, to capture the deadly creatures before they can claim any more victims; assisting them is Samantha Sharp (Nikita Ager), a beautiful woman whose sister was killed when one of the mutant sharks attacked them while swimming. This sequel to Shark Attack received its United States debut on the USA cable network.

The physical production is highly entertaining for all the wrong reasons.  As was the case with its predecessor, Shark Attack 2 relies heavily on stock footage of sharks, with little consideration for color consistency, dramatic flow or even the number of sharks visible in any given shot.  One shot of a Water World aquarium is obviously achieved through rear projection, as the stock footage is none too steady and the shark wiggles around visibly on the screen.  A few CG sharks turn up in the final sequence, but most of the "special" effects are achieved with a fin-cam mock-up, one full-sized head, and plenty of thrashing about with the details obscured by clouds of fake blood. Some conventional shots are equally awkward, particularly one pier sequence in which camera placement was apparently seriously constrained - Nikita Ager delivers several lines while the wind constantly blows her hair across her face, then turns around and walks indignantly away, straight towards the water's edge.

When the main characters are at the beach for the surfing competition, and the sharks break through the net and start eating the surfers, the woman says "Oh my God!" without moving her lips.  During the attack where the surfers are killed there are several times when a shot of a surfer is shown and the 'attacking shark' can be seen  just centimeters away under the water, immobile and obviously a prop.  During the surf competition, while Tom is swimming away from the sharks, the water is calm, suggesting this scene was shot in a lake or pool. You can see it again while Nick is swimming back to his jet swimmer.  There is dialogue among the divers during the final underwater scene. There is no means for wireless verbal communication underwater.

Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002)

  • Directed: David Worth
  • Produced: Avi Lerner, Boaz Davidson, Danny Dimbort, Danny Lerner, David Varod
  • Written: Scott Devine, William Hooke
  • Starring: John Barrowman, Ryan Cutrona, Jenny McShane, Bashar Rahal, George Stanchev
  • Music: Bill Wandel
  • Editing: Kristopher Lease
  • Cinematography: David Worth
  • Studio:
    • Nu Image Films 
    • Martien Holdings A.V.V.
  • Distributed: Nu Image Films
  • Release date: November 25, 2002
  • Running time: 99 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

Shark Attack 3: Megalodon is the second sequel to Shark Attack, released in 2002 straight to video.  The film is notable for featuring John Barrowman who later found fame in popular shows such as Doctor Who and Torchwood. Barrowman has said in an interview on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross that he only did the film for the money, and was rather embarrassed when a clip from the film was shown.  Actress Jenny McShane from the first Shark Attack film has a starring role, albeit as a completely different character.

The film is also notable because certain clips from it have become popular internet memes due to the unconvincing special effects, ever size-changing shark, and bizarre dialogue.

The film begins with a group of divers installing a power cable at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, when a shark swims up and kills one of them.  Six months later, lifeguard Ben Carpenter and his partner Esai drive out to sea to catch some lobster.  While diving, Ben finds a broken power cable with a large shark tooth stuck in it.  After he pulls out the tooth, he is caught by two other divers, and soon goes back to land.  Later he posts a description of the tooth online, but as he cannot find a matching shark tooth on the internet, he names it "mystery shark". Natural history researcher named Cataline "Cat" Stone gets the message, finds him and looks at the tooth.  She believes it to come from a huge prehistoric shark called Megalodon (Greek for "big tooth").

Ben meets with his friend Chuck Rampart, who tells him he intends to take a look at the broken power cable.  Ben tells him about the shark.  Later, the animal kills two people who use a waterslide in the middle of the night.  The next day Cat and her partners go out on a boat to find and tag the Megalodon.  The shark shows up and smashes into their boat.  Davis films it while Cat hooks a camera onto the sharks dorsal fin.  The Megalodon leaves and later kills a man who was playing Frisbee on the beach with his dog.  Ben finds the man's severed leg and informs Cat about the attack, who in turn tells him about the Megalodon.  Angry that she lied to him, he leaves.

The next day Ben, Cat, Davis and another partner go out to kill the shark, which they find out is heading toward a nearby resort.  They manage to drive back out to sea, where it kills several more people.  Ben tries to get his boss, Luis Ruiz, to close the beaches.  Ruiz says he would, and then tells Ben to kill the Megalodon.

The crew goes back out to sea to kill the shark for good.  Ben stabs the animal, which in turn begins ramming the boat, knocking Davis out cold.  Cat goes into the cabin to get her shotgun, but the Megalodon busts into the boat, trying to eat her.  Ben comes to her aid, beating the shark with a bat.  Cat grabs her gun and shoots the shark, killing it.  Afterwards, Esai arrives on his speedboat, when suddenly, the first shark's mother, a much larger Megalodon surfaces and swallows him and his boat whole.  The shark then capsizes the boat, and swallows Davis and his friend in one bite.  Ben and Cat are rescued by a helicopter and leave.  Ben shows Ruiz the shark tooth, but his boss still refuses to close the beaches.  Later Ben and Cat go over to Chuck's house, loading a torpedo into Chuck's midget submarine.

The next day, Ben and Chuck go down in the submarine.  The Megalodon attacks a yacht, slamming into it a couple of times, knocking several people overboard.  They escape to two large safety rafts.  Ruiz steals a woman's life jacket and jumps off the yacht, only to be swallowed whole by the shark, as is one of the rafts.  One of the people drives away on a jet ski, but the Megalodon swallows him as well.  Chuck then goes into the water and tags the shark.  Ben eventually launches the torpedo, which succeeds in destroying the creature.

Shark Zone (2003)

  • Directed: Danny Lerner
  • Produced: Boaz Davidson, Danny Dimbort, George Gale, Avi Lerner, Danny Lerner
  • Written: Danny Lerner, Sam Parish
  • Starring: Dean Cochran, Alan Austin, Brandi Sherwood, Velizar Binev, Luke Leavitt
  • Music: Serge Colbert
  • Editing: Cari Coughlin
  • Cinematography: Emil Topuzov
  • Studio:
    • Martien Holdings A.V.V. 
    • Nu Image Films
  • Distributed: Nu Image Films
  • Release date: October 14, 2003
  • Running time: 91 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

A group of divers attempt to uncover some diamonds that lay at the bottom of the ocean.  Unfortunately for the divers a pack of Great White sharks patrol the waters around the missing loot, resulting in some terrifying scenes of carnage.  As the sharks begin to prey on the swimmers at a nearby beach, it becomes apparent that only one man knows the true secret behind the buried diamonds.  Desperate to save the beach from more shark attacks, his pleas seem to fall on deaf ears.  Will anyone listen?  Find out in SHARK ZONE.

Some of the shark scenes are used more than once throughout most of the film.  For example, the beach scene when people are being devoured, has a scene in which sharks are swimming and one shark snaps at the water. This scene appears several times in different areas of the film.  Some shark scenes are even shown once then again immediately after it ends.  At the beginning when the divers are jumping out of the helicopter their suits are black or orange.  In the water, most of them have blue suits.  When showing us the divers at the beginning before the initial shark attack, we can clearly see that two divers have double tanks.  However, later shots show all the divers with single tanks.  The scenes in this movie where surfers are attacked are the same as in  Shark Attack 2 (2001).  You can even see Thorsten Kaye's body up to his shoulders when one of the surfers is being helped by paramedics on the beach.

When Jimmy Wagner is in the helicopter dropping the explosives in the water one of the camera crew's hand appear pushing one of the bombs in the chopper.  In the first shark attack Jimmy is swimming above water after several people were attacked.  A side of a pool was visible.  Also there was indoor fluorescent lights.

Sharks do not growl underwater (or above water for that matter).  These sharks growl several times during this film.
In the opening scene the divers are wearing Octos, a breathing device that must be inserted into the mouth and make speaking near impossible.  However, the divers are able to communicate clearly as though they are wearing radio headsets.  On top of that, none of the divers are even wearing any type of listening device just standard wet suit hoods.  Great White Sharks do not hunt in packs, schools or indulge in any kind of pack behavior (none that has been proven although some has been speculated).  In several of the up close shots of the sharks, there is only one row of teeth in the "sharks".  Real sharks have several rows.

And with that over thirty hours of shark movies and fifteen hours of Discovery Channel come to a close.  I didn’t think I would make it through the whole week but with persistence and a couple of gallons of Vodka anything is possible, follow your dreams kids.  Follow your dreams.  We get back to the regular schedule starting Monday so enjoy your reruns this weekend because I am officially sick of sharks for the next fifty-one weeks.

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