Great White Blu-ray or DVD Review
Written by R.J. MacReady
Blu-ray released by RLJE Films
Directed by Martin Wilson
Written by Michael Boughen
2021, 91 Minutes, Not Rated
Released on September 7th, 2021
Katrina Bowden as Kaz
Tatjana Marjanovic as Tracy
Kimie Tsukakoshi as Michelle
Aaron Jakubenko as Charlie
Te Kohe Tuhaka as Benny
Shark movies. They’re my weak spot. I will watch just about any movie featuring killer sharks even though I can count on one hand the amount of ones I’ve really enjoyed. Heck, only Jaws 1 & 2 and Deep Blue Sea ever get watched repeatedly.
However, The Shallows, Open Water, Deep Blue Sea 3, The Reef, 47 Meters Down and even The Meg are all entertaining enough to quench my killer shark movie thirst, so I’m always hopeful that another decent one comes along.
So is Great White more Deep Blue Sea (fun) or Deep Blue Sea 2 (horrible)?
The movie starts with the time-honored shark-movie opener featuring swimmers who have picked the wrong place to go swimming. No spoiler alert to tell you that at least one of them dies.
We swing our attention to a couple played by Katrina Bowden (the hottie from 30 Rock and Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil) and Aaron Jakubenko (The Shannara Chronicles) that run their own charter plane business, taking tourists out to nice beach spots to show them the sights.
The duo is hired by a couple and so, accompanied by sturdy employee named Benny, they fly the couple out to a beach where Kaz manages to tell Charlie that she’s pregnant. Moments later there’s a scream as they find the body of one of the people from the opening scene, sans his legs. They find his phone and see that he’s with another woman, and Benny posits that they must have a boat out on the water somewhere, and that the woman could still be alive.
They notify the coast guard about the body and then fly the plane out to look for the boat. There ends my description of the plot, but as you can imagine, things don’t go according to plan for them.
If you’re looking for a quick summary of what I think, it’s this: This isn’t a bad killer shark movie on the whole. It’s certainly no Jaws, or even Jaws 2 for that matter, but it’s short and to the point, and has a couple of decent scenes. This is going to fall squarely into that group of shark movies like The Shallows and 47 Meters Down, meaning I’m glad I saw it but I won’t need to watch it again.
The shark effects waver from bad (when it’s an underwater shadow) to okay (when it’s coming out of the water) to decent (some of the prosthetic shots) to pretty good (some of the underwater prosthetic shots as well as the excellent footage of actual great whites that they’ve shot that match up very well with the action).
The story veers off in a few directions I didn’t see coming, though toward the end it gets fairly ludicrous (though not 47 Meters Down: Uncaged kind of ludicrous).
Ultimately, the weakest part of the movie is the characters. With the exception of Benny, none stand out, and the character of Charlie keeps flashing back to some shark attack in his past that feels hollow. I get that they were trying to add some backstory to him to up the drama to later scenes when he has to “face his fear”, but there really isn’t enough meat on that story’s bones to get a good bite.
It doesn’t help that some of the conflicts between the characters seem contrived and unbelievable, and the same can be said for some of the character choices. For instance, at one point a character drops one of their two oars in the water, and they know the shark is still out there. Do smart characters A) Paddle over to the oar that’s twenty feet away or B) Get in the water to swim to it and bring it back? Yes, one of them gets in the water to retrieve it, and sure, it leads to a tense scene, but the action needs to be justified or it pulls the viewer – at least, this viewer – out of the scene.
Great White isn’t going to make it onto any Best Shark Movie lists, but it’s an entertaining yet forgettable little trip into the deep blue depths. For the shark-movie aficionado, this will ease the craving and is a very serviceable entry in the sub-genre.
Video and Audio:
Great White is presented in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio with an excellent picture. The cinematography is terrific, and even the dark night scenes look fantastic. A few of the underwater scenes are a bit murky, but that might have been for effect.
No complaints with the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, as the sound helps build a lot of the atmosphere.
English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles are available.
The "Making of Great White" (6:07) is the standard short featurette of cast and crew pretty much saying what they always say. At least they give you some BTS video during this instead of showing footage from the movie, but it’s still too short to be substantive at all.
An offered "Behind The Scenes Photo Gallery "is 16 behind-the-scenes stills from the movie.
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