DEEP BLUE SEA Release Date: August, 2010 Studio: Warner Brothers Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-ray Keepcase Year: 1999 Rating: 14A Running Time: 1:45:00 MSRP: $34.99 THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES Video 1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1 SD Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital: French 5.1, Spanish 5.1 DD2.0, 16/48 Subtitles English SDH, French, Spanish N/A The Feature: 1.5/5 Directed by Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger), Deep Blue Sea submerges your fears into the depths of the ocean where one of the oldest predators of the earth hunt and kill. Aquatica, a research facility located off the ocean coast, is the centre for a chance of a breakthrough in Alzheimer’s disease research by extracting elements from a modified shark’s brain. Their brains have been enlarged and as a result they have become smarter. The scientific team, led by Dr. Susan McCallister, soon becomes the bait of three sharks in a game of shark and fish. The chase is on and it becomes a battle of wits between man and animal. Swim or sink, each are about to become shark meat and their bones as toothpicks. The film is mildly entertaining with its rather silly storyline and mixed performances. It’s common for storylines to have a good intent as is the case with DeepBlue Sea, but it becomes an all too familiar plotline with little creativity. Half of the cast have wooden performances (possibly because their characters were poorly written) and the other half, namely Jacqueline McKenzie, Michael Rapaport and LL Cool J actually appeared to have tried their best. I am rarely impressed with Samuel L. Jackson as he sounds the same in every film and is stiff as he delivers his lines and this is often more scary than the sharks. I think I may have clapped for the shark that put an end to it all about half way through the film. The digital effects do show their age yet the mixture of live sharks and animatronics keep the sharks believable. My biggest criticism of the film is the inconsistency of shark size; the scale changes from open water to cabin interiors. Despite the hunt in the crammed insides of Aquatica and the blood and gore that follows, I wouldn’t call Deep Blue Sea a monster movie. Sharks are a familiar predator where one would feel helpless in the open water surrounded by the swimming beasts. Stay out of the water! Video Quality: 4/5 Looking at a catalogue title can be quite interesting after viewing many newer films. What’s more interesting is trying to evaluate it. I will describe Deep Blue Sea as an image that looks more like a film transferred to video than a film that’s altered to look like a video and played back on a video system. All films undergo some changes to look correct on home video yet Deep Blue Sea seems to retain much of a film look. The look of the opening credits appear as one with the film rather than sharply distinct titles overlaid on moving video. The edges of the letters seem to roll off smoothly to the background rather than giving the appearance of hovering text. Black and white levels look good, with blacks never appearing crushed and white levels not looking clipped. I’d put some money down that this film was colour corrected on a CRT many years ago and those involved chose not to highly saturate the image. I don’t want to say it’s film-like because TVs can’t reproduce the same range of colours film can, but the non-aggressive colour palette is quite pleasing to my eye. The 2.4:1 image doesn’t appear artificially enhanced as edges are smooth as can be. Film grain is welcomed in this transfer never letting us forget its origin. Audio Quality: 4.5/5 The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is engaging throughout. It offers excellent fidelity in dialogue and effects transporting the viewer into the visual environment. The sound creates the suspense of this deep water thriller flick, heightening the fear and scare factor enough to toss your popcorn in the air. I don’t consider the soundtrack loud by any means; quiet moments are used effectively before they are contrasted with the louder engaging moments. Bass is deep and powerful as my Dunlavy TSW-VI subs reproduced them without a hitch. Lately I’ve been using re-EQ by default because I’m assuming most film soundtracks are not corrected for home video. The result is that high frequencies aren’t a discomfort while watching this film. Special Features: 1.5/5 The Blu-ray disc has DVD special features on it. I can retire my DVD copy of this film. Included is the commentary by director Renny Harlin and Samuel L. Jackson, the two “making of” featurettes from a composite video source; HBO’s When Sharks Attack (18.02) discussing much of the story and how the film is made from the director and actors involved, and The Sharks of the Deep Blue Sea (8.19) focuses on the sharks themselves and the different uses of animatronics and digital. The deleted scenes with optional director’s commentary (7.59) on this disc add a bit of character development but not much else. The quality isn’t good and they are not enhanced for widescreen despite being 2.4:1. Lastly, the theatrical trailer is also included and is enhanced for 16:9. Recap The Feature: 1.5/5 Video Quality: 4/5 Audio Quality: 4.5/5 Special Features: 1/5 Those willing to retire their DVD will be glad to get the added audible and visual resolution added by this Blu-ray disc without losing special features. The DTS-HDMA soundtrack preserves every bit of resolution and the VC-1 HD encode of the video is a welcomed addition to making Deep Blue Sea more of a threatening presentation.