"The Deep" Blu-Ray, DVD Movie Review

12/22/2010 Posted by Admin

"The Deep"

Blu-Ray, DVD Movie Review

Directed by Peter Yates, Written by Peter Benchley and Tracy Keenan Wynn, Rated PG, 123-minutes.

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

It’s hard to not compare "The Deep" to "Jaws." Not only did "Jaws" author and screenwriter Peter Benchley write the film, he’s joined once again by the Ahab-like Robert Shaw, playing a veteran fisherman with a sage-like wisdom of the sea. However, in terms of plotting, "The Deep" and "Jaws" remain entirely different, and the same is true for their execution. The main difference being is that where "Jaws" effectively thrills on a visceral and emotional level, "The Deep" tries to do the same, but fails at almost every turn.

The white whale tale centers on two scuba diving tourists named Dave and Gail (Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset), who come across a curious coin while pillaging the deep. After some brief harassment by “local glass dealers,” the two turn to an expert treasure hunter Roman Treece (Robert Shaw) for answers.

As it turns out, they discovered the remnants of a queen’s shipping vessel, which is not only filled with jewels, but also a hefty supply of morphine. The three then return to the bottom of the sea to scour the wreckage for more rubies, as the “glass traders” turn out to be Voodoo witch doctors interested in Gail.

In it’s most basic form, "The Deep" remains too scattershot. Dave’s obsession with the treasure creates a decent impetus for the plot, but it never goes anywhere. Director Peter Yates frequently breaks up the action with long scenes of the characters researching and discussing their finds, but rarely doing any treasure hunting.

When we finally get to some action, Yates appears utterly clueless as to how to direct it. These scenes, filmed with gusto and spectacle, don’t deliver on the soundtrack.  Its lack of suspenseful music keeps it distant and, even worse, boring.

There are some enjoyable moments under water, where the characters squirming in between the tight crevices of the wreckage create some tension, but it’s clear that Yates can’t recognize this as a strong point, as they quickly head back up for more air and research – the two ingredients needed for any high- octane thriller.

Strange to think how little Benchley learned from the success of "Jaws." This film lacks the tension and excitement of his previous work, but he did manage to get Bisset to swim around in a white t-shirt for much of the film. That has to be worth something, right?

Grade: D+

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