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BADGER & VOLE REVIEW: Junk Food Cinema

BADGER: Hi, and welcome to this week's edition of our prose podcast, “Badger & Vole Review.” Today we were supposed to be reviewing a movie, but Vole is still sleeping off his tryptophan coma, so I’m going to take advantage of his somnolence to introduce a new feature, which we’re going to call either “Junk Food Cinema” or “I Can’t Believe I Found It On Netflix.” Is that okay with you, old chum?
VOLE:  [Snor—] Huh...wha?
BADGER: Good, I thought so.
Okay, this week’s cinematic three-day-old turkey leftover is Deep Blue Sea. No, not the 2011 romantic drama of the same name that starred Tom Hiddleston and Rachel Weisz, but the 1999 thing with the sharks. We were flipping through the channels the other night and stumbled across it, and let me tell you, it is hilarious.
The problem, of course, is that it’s supposed to be a serious thriller. I suppose if I were in marketing and trying to sell you this one, I’d say, “If you liked Sharknado, you’ll love Deep Blue Sea!”
The setup for this one is Standard Sci-Fi Movie Scenario #3. A team of scientists, working at a remote and mostly underwater lab a la any number of Michael Crichton novels, is seeking a cure for Alzheimer's by the obvious method of growing giant superintelligent sharks. (Stay with me on this.) Of course, the worst storm in a kajillion years hits, cutting off all contact with the outside world. Of course, the frankensharks get loose inside the facility. (Yes, that’s right. Inside.) Of course, the story turns into Ten Little Indians, with the few survivors struggling to escape, and along the way, becoming fewer with every painfully predictable turn of the plot.
And speaking of plot: this one is a glorious mash-up of Jurassic Park, Jaws 3D, Alien: Resurrection, Sphere, The Andromeda Strain, The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, and...well, if there's a disaster/action movie the makers of this movie failed to steal from, it wasn't for lack of trying. There is not one original scene, shot, idea, or line of dialog in this movie.
Weirdly enough, that's part of the fun of watching it: trying to anticipate which worn-out cliché the moviemakers will dip into their Big Bag O' Shticks to whip out next. The blocked stairwell? The rising water? The mysterious knock on the door? Candygram? Landshark!
If someone ever develops a computer program that chews up movies and excretes scripts, the result will look like this. If you can't tell from the outset which two characters will be the only ones to survive all the way to the end of this movie, you just aren't trying.
But then, that's less than half the fun of this movie. The real joy is in the casting. Throughout this one, you'll be saying, "Hey, isn't that...?" He's on NCIS! She was on The Sopranos! He's on Hawaii Five-0! She's on Agents of SHIELD! Isn't that LL Cool J? Isn’t that The Punisher? Look, there's Stellan Skarsgård, warming up to play Erik Selvig! Oh my God, that's Samuel L. Jackson, playing The Guy in Charge exactly as if he was a two-eyed Nick Fury and he's just discovered that there are snakes on this helicarrier!
In sum, don't spend any money on it, or put much effort into finding this movie. But if you're the sort who likes to get together with friends and play "Guess Which Line They're Going to Say Next," Deep Blue Sea is a great, big, stupid, load of fun.
And that about wraps it up for this week. Join us next week, when we’ll be reviewing...
VOLE: *snork*, gah, mumble, mumble....
BADGER: Yeah, that’s just what I thought. Bye!



Badger was once an award-winning SF novelist, until his involvement with a legendary multimillion-dollar Hollywood bomb destroyed his writing career. Vole was once a million-copy-selling comic-book writer, and he still thinks the “lion” version of Voltron is pretty darn cool.

Today, they’re just two old guys who like to watch movies, eat popcorn, and kvetch. Oh boy, do they kvetch. And despite his mild-mannered appearance, Vole will always be known around here as the man who wrote the brilliantly funny but hopelessly unpublishable comic-book script, "Bruce Wayne's and Lex Luthor's Ex-Girlfriends Meet and Compare Notes," which introduced the now legendary "Crotchless Batgirl Costume."