A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 155 – Sharks in Venice

Sharks in Venice – August 2nd, 2010

We had a dilemma this week. It’s Shark Week, of course, and we’d planned a number of simply fantastic shark movies. And then we found out that our seventh anniversary would fall on the second day of Shark Week. And we thought “Do we want to interrupt Shark Week for our anniversary and watch something meaningful to us? Or do we watch a shark movie?” And I voted for a shark movie. Because I think it really does say something about our relationship that we’re not only willing but enthusiastic to watch something like this (that’s an Amazon.com link). We bought this on purpose. Andy said the title and I said “We have to have that.” And so, after a day spent on roller coasters, we are capping off our anniversary with a Stephen Baldwin vehicle about sharks in the canals of Venice. Happy Anniversary, Andy. I hope you don’t regret marrying me after this one.

This movie so wants to be Jaws in Italy. Desperately. I don’t think I have to tell you that it fails miserably. But it tries, down to the soundtrack and the initial deaths being attributed to a “propeller accident”. There are countless little nods to Jaws. Lines, plot points. I guess some of it is inevitable, given that Jaws did the whole shark-attack-no-one-wants-to-admit-happened thing so well. But this is so blindingly obvious. I almost feel bad, watching and reviewing it just after Jaws. It feels a little mean. But let’s face it, we knew going in that this movie would be bad. That was the point. What’s really impressive is that it’s trying as hard as it is. It’s got a plot and everything!

Archaeologist David Franks goes to Venice (yeah right) when his father goes missing during an illegal dive in Italy to try and recover some hidden treasure secreted away under the city. Two other bodies were found after the dive, chewed up by a shark (of course the local authorities refuse to acknowledge that last, not wanting to start a panic). So David and his fiancee, Laura, head to Venice. David finds the treasure, gets attacked by a shark, offered a whole crapload of money by the mob (who were financing his father’s dive until that turned into a whole lot of chum), and then beaten up by said mob. Laura gets kidnapped in order to force David to recover the treasure and in the middle of it all there’s this giant shark leaping up out of the water in the canals, attacking people.

I should take a moment here and just wax rhapsodic about the shark. Oh my goodness, the shark. The shark(s) in the canals are represented by a combination of documentary footage of sharks eating, more documentary footage but sped up really fast and cut into fast-paced bits, and effects that I will describe as special, but only because MST3K has made me a connoisseur of stinky cheese. And as cheese goes, this is quite the rind. The effects are only part of it, really. I mean, they’re bad. They’re hilarious. When the CG shark leaps out of the water and chows down you can’t help but laugh. But then there are things like the boat that’s obviously on wheels, and the plot twists that practically put on their turn signals a mile ahead of time. There are continuity gaffes and major goofs. There’s a yacht that I swear had its name photoshopped on in post.

This movie should, by all rights, be thoroughly unwatchable. And yet somehow it’s not. The acting’s not cringeworthy, but it’s not like the acting saves the movie or anything. It’s not good by any stretch of the imagination. My personal favorite part is the mob boss, Clemenza. The man playing him, Giacomo Gonnella, seems to have known exactly what sort of movie he was in and what sort of part he was playing and set about chewing plenty of scenery. So it’s not the acting that makes it watchable, and it’s not the effects. It’s not the scenery, which is made up of some establishing shots of Venice (one notably with a shark fin edited into a corner) and then a whole lot of scenery that’s very much not Venice. Apparently it’s Bulgaria. Whatever. It’s not Venice and that’s what matters.

What makes the movie watchable is the hilariously awesome convergence of all of these things. The continuity issues, the acting, the shark(s), the very premise of sharks tearing up gondolas in Venice. It’s not good, I’ll grant you that. But it is fantastic.


August 2, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,


  1. It almost sounds like one of those movies that does what it says on the package, like SNAKES ON A PLANE.

    Comment by Marie | August 3, 2010 | Reply

    • It really was. When you go into a movie with a title like that you really do know exactly what to expect.

      Comment by ajmovies | August 3, 2010 | Reply

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