Best Non-Jaws Shark Gems

I really had no idea how MANY shark movies have come up since the 1775 blockbuster of Jaws. It seems that 75 shark-ish films have some along the way….which are worth seeing?

Welllll, this article gives  me a place to start, and none of have like ummm… titles SnowShark, SandShark, SwampShark, Sharktopopus, or SharkAvalanch. NOT to mention 6 Sharknados, culminating this week on Scy-Fi with a , yes  — time traveling version. Why the heck not? Sharks vs tech sharks. Sharks crunching the Golden Gate Bridge. Sharks attacking helipcopters? Sharks with levels of self-awareness? What, heck, is this Star Trek: The Shark Generation?

But really – – these are worth seeing! (Outside of the Jaws franchise, comments aside). My goal, for you, is to watch each one and give you a rewatch review.

This is what Collider says are the best non-jaws shark films:

http://collider.com/best-scariest-shark-movies/#bait-3d

Movie Review – The Meg

I’m mulling over The Meg. It was a ton (er, rather, several tons) of fun, but after having viewed the original Jaws this week, my expectations are a bit high. I also have high expectations for movies with dinosaurs and other ‘real’ animals (as opposed to ‘monsters’).

Megalodon was a real shark, and an ancient one, and it’s not totally inconceivable that there could be a thermal inversion layer under the Marianas Trench with a “lost world” of prehistoric creatures roaming around. It’s been said we know more about the moon than what’s deep in our own oceans.

In fact, the brief dive under the Thermocline is the best, most beautiful, and stirring part of the movie. It wasn’t goofy, like many later scenes; in fact, it was almost like seeing Pandora, from Avatar. It was a magical glimpse of a place I would have happily watched through an entire movie. That early part, with the submersible rescue, is the best act of the film, laden with all the adventure, heroism, action, suspense, and scares I hoped for.

I loved the top of the line undersea rig too: it had a spiffy science-fiction feel. More of that would have been welcome too: like a space station, or moments of life on an underwater planet. So there was some wonderful stuff to play with, had the story chosen such routes.

Once the Megalodon follows our heroes to the colder, more modern ocean, everything got a bit more staid…and eventually silly. I didn’t mind if the entire film was comedic — honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from this one, whether straight up horror or camp — but I got mental whiplash from trying to follow what genre The Meg wanted to settle on.

Were any of the characters good? Um. Hmmmm. Jason Statham did about as well any any of the actors you’d expect an adventure genre, but with less of the grace and humor I would expect from Vin Diesel or The Rock. He had the in-joke name of Jonas, but his is the only one I recall out of any of the other characters. The little girl was a good child actor, but I can’t say anyone else even tried.

The scariest scene for me: when the Meg starts to SWALLOW the plastic canister. I’m not going to say more about this scene, in case you haven’t seen the film yet, but that had me pretty gripped/grossed out. And then there’s the early moment when the Meg bites the sea station. This shark is fast, mean, and incredibly ungainly. Ugly and viscous. But still, the movie is no adrenaline  joyride.

By the time The Meg ended I was kind of tired, instead of happy, or jazzed, or excited. After the disappointment of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, I didn’t really know what to feel. I wanted wondrousness, and to be moved — or at least feel my pulse pound — and saw a couple glimpses of what could have been. I’ll stick with a B- for now, but I’ll think on it. It might not be worth more than a C+.

However, maybe it’s best to not think on this movie at all, and let it be lightly fun, instead of grand or thoughtful. There’s always the original Jaws for the best of this kind of summer blockbuster fare.

Movie Grade: B-

About the Peetimes: We have 3 good Peetimes. Each has pros and cons, but I’d recommend the 1st over the others. There’s no action until after the Peetime ends.

Related: 

Movie Rewatch Review — Jaws

Meet the Real Meg

RunPee’s Original Infographics: Meg 1 and Meg 2

Why Avatar Was Such a Good Idea

Best Scenes From Jaws and Why They Work

Things You Didn’t Know About Jaws/Things Wrong with Jaws

Best Quotes from Jaws

Jaws: Honest Trailers

 

Best Quotes from Jaws

Heya Bruce, how’s it going?

The 1975 Jaws is a 2 hour one liner machine. Besides being a nearly perfect film, it’s infinitely quotable. Here are some starters – you add the rest:

  • You’re gonna need a bigger boat.
  • I am familiar with the fact that you are going to ignore this problem until it swims up and bites you in the a$$!
  • Chum some of this sh!t.
  • Let’s cut this SOB down before it stinks up the whole island.
  • So we drink to our legs!
  • Smile you son of a…B!7CH!
  • That’s some bad hat, Harry.
  • What are you, some kind of half-a$$ed astronaut?
  • I can do anything. I’m the chief of police!
  • This ain’t like going down to the pond and catching bluegills and tommy cats.
  • Mean fish.
  • Amity means friendship.
  • In Amity one man can make a difference!
  • This is neither the time nor the place to perform some kind of half a$$ed autopsy on a fish.

There’s a zillion more great ones. Tell me what I missed in the comments below!

Best Jaws Iconic Moments, plus Movie Analysis (videos)

Does it get better than this? Sooooo simple. Sooooo scary. Is there anything else in the soundtrack worth noting? Because I really can’t recall. This is iconography at its first and best. Short, fun, thrilling: 

Always gives me the chills! Here’s the icoinc scene with that one liner that’s good for so many real-life applications:

The frosty Indianapolis Scene:

Comparing scars:

Convincing the REAL villain of the film – the mayor – what has to be done:

JAWS: A bit more in-depth….How Spielberg Creates Tension:

Why does Jaws as movie even work so well? Learn about that here:

Jaws: Honest Trailers (Video)

I always enjoy the videos put out by Honest Trailers. Sometimes they get too nit picky, but that’s part of the fun of being a movie fan. This one’s really funny (the “Singing Sea Shanties” bit is awesome). A great film like Jaws doesn’t have too many nits to pick…and they admit it here…but when the Honest Trailer for The Meg gets released, I bet that will be a real hoot.

Movie Rewatch — Jaws


This movie still blows me away (not unlike a certain 25-foot Great White got blown) and I am super surprised. I knew it was good, but I didn’t remember it being THIS good. Like A+ level good. Steven Spielberg, while young, was already on his game.

It’s hard to hold the title of First Ever Blockbuster. And it’s harder even to look back since 1975 and agree that such an “old” film holds up to our current movie-going standards.

Remember, suspense-horror-action fans, it’s what you don’t see that’s the best kind of scare. Alien did it. Recently the very good A Quiet Place did this perfectly.

This review is going to have some spoilers, since it’s been a while since the 70s, but even people who missed Jaws the first time pretty much knows most of the plot, just via pop culture osmosis.

The gore is surprisingly low key. There are two distinct grisly moments, and one of those is a jump scare. (That would be the one-eyed human head under the boat). And the only real icky scene is the real early one, where the naked girl’s remains are a bloody lump chewed on by a seething mass of crabs. It’s a quick scene, and you get more visceral punch from the random police man who found her: he’s so squicked out he can ‘t watch, stand, or even be near her. You can practically smell it.

The less you see of ol’ Jaws as he swims by or attacks, the better he looks. He’s got one or two raggedly bad side shots that don’t even look like a living animal, and since the actors/crew knew it, they kept him mostly head on, where it was mostly the big bloody jaw coming at you.

But. Then. The audience really lucked out. Now we’re talking about  the human actors – the big three. It works, and works fabulously. You know who they are. These are three very different characters, who come together and make you sit forward, avidly watching each moment build, smiling as they compare scars,  shiver in suspense and play upon what came before. When the stricnine laces needle falls useless to the ocean floor, and the shark cage is is shattters, you’d do just what Hopper did – lie still under some flotsam and ride it out. Recall that the shark responds to prey-like ‘fear’ moments. Back on what left of the ship “Orca” (a great joke if you know your man-eaters), Brody has one trick left, and isn’t looking like he’s going to survive this. However, the magic of subtle foreshadowing saves the day in a way this simply makes sense. It’s not a last minute Hail Mary – this has been baked in from early on, if you paid attention. The resolution is incredibly satisfying.

The fine acting of characters Brody, Quint, and Hooper elevate what could have been just another sensational summer disaster film into the stratosphere of real greatness.

And you know what else? THIS  MOVIE IS INCREDIBLY FUNNY! I don’t think childhood “me” thought it was funny (I thought it was scary, even though the iconic Musial Shark Cue gave me most of those shivers).

But in this viewing, if I wasn’t gripped by a scene, I was laughing. And sometimes I was gripped AND laughing. This is frakking good storytelling.

And the ending is so completely satisfying that you walk out with a big old smile. I even sat through the entire credits, just to see Brody and Hooper actually make it, with those barrels, back safely the shore. Then I could breathe again and turn the laptop off. I haven’t felt so excited and satisfied by an monster action movie since Pitch Black or Aliens.

Something really fun and totally unplanned: there’s a heat wave going on in So Cal, and I’ve been swimming in the pool daily. To the point where I wan’t going to dry out for movie watching…and yeah, I swam and paddled through my entire Jaws rewatch, laptop on the edge of the pool. This wasn’t planned. By the time I realized it, I was glad it was a pool, and not, you now, the ocean. Although I love the ocean and no frelling fish is going to keep me out of it. I just thought it was an interesting juxtaposition.

So.

Did I bother to watch the sequels?  Good question. In a word: No.

Should I?

———————————————-

Want to hear some crazy stats from the Jaws franchise? Rotten Tomatoes gives 1975 Jaws a coveted 97% score. For a film in an ear of public smoking and casually sexist behaviors,  that’s pretty awesome. But then the critic scores drop down FAST:

Jaws 2 – 57% (Meaning more than half of the reviews think it’s worth a shot – like a B- or C+)

Jaws 3 – 41% (Meaning “meh”…see it at home if you can’t get enough sharks chomping swimmers)

Jaw 4: The Revenge – 0% GOOSE EGG. It’s in fine company with several John Travolta movies (see even recently: Gotti gets the Goose). But the ZERO is way more than enough to sink the shark and his brethren for decades. Only weird franchises like Sharknado returned to this well, and as far as I know (I haven’t seen them), they are mostly a joke, like Snakes On A Plane. You let me know about those Sharknados, k?

Then we had the Mosasaurs from Jurassic World, which was an exciting, gigantic super sea lizard from the time of the dinosuars that used the Great White Shark like a feeding minnow. A greatly realized creature, but not the star of the show. (That honor goes to Owen’s Raptors and our old, scarred T-Rex friend.)

And now….we have The Meg: all about an ancient, titanic sea shark the size of a cruise ship. We’re covering the science of Megalodon, the Mosasaurus, and the Great While on RunPee.com for you geeky enjoyment! Those will be live tomorrow, and Dan’s having a lot of fun with them.

————————————

This Jaws Twitter Poll is still ongoing for two days, to be finished Friday when The Meg comes out. You can still vote right now (or add your own best Jaws quote) on Twitter at RunPee:

Movie Grade: A+

About the Peetimes:  “The Meg” inspired us (Dan, Jill, and RunPee Mom) to do a rewatch of the classic JAWS and add Peetimes for it. (Just for fun.) We even recorded a podcast of our discussion about which Peetimes we would select. To sum: With a perfectly made film like this, finding Peetimes was easy and a joy. We always maintain that a well made film has both times of excitement, and times to recover. The movie builds on these solid principles.

———————————————

Related: (Links will be added as each post is completed)

Movie Review — The Meg

Meet the Megalodon – Giant Shark Super Science

Best Quotes from Jaws (1979)

RunPee Podcast: How Dearest, Jilly, and Dan compare their Peetimes for Jaws!

Movie Review – Jurassic World

Movie Review – Jilly’s Review of A Quiet Place (with spoilers) A MUST SEE FILM!

Shhhh! News of A Quiet Place 2 Announced: how it could be done

Movie Review – Dan’s Review of A Quiet Place (no spoilers)

Movie Review – Jurassic World, and our “tag’ for all Jurassic Movie articles

—————————-

Last bit of fun! Enjoy the Jaws theme to raise the hackles on your neck…..

Movie Review — Dog Days

This small but cute film is solid middling fare, and a possible excuse to get into air conditioning during these “Dog Days of Summer”. If you’ve ever had a canine friend, Dog Days has got something for everyone — there were nine storylines, but none of them felt forced. I even shed a tear (and you will know that moment, if you’ve ever had to put a beloved pal down). If you’ve loved pets, especially dogs, you’ll find a moment that feels like you. 

Small, sweet, well done. Nothing momentous; certainly not worth $15 in the theater — my opinion: wait for the DVD/streaming choices to come. There’s not much to say, narratively about this film. 

It’s not as charmingly off-the-cuff as Best In Show (2000), but still has some easy-going moments of nice add-libbing (stay through the entire end credits scenes).  If you love dogs, consider this a good date night film (specifically, if you both love dogs).

To sum: surprisingly charming and well-produced. But there’s also this: I don’t remember anyone’s name, not the human names anyway, and don’t feel bad about that. There’s the brother/musician, the sister, the athlete, the newscaster, the sad older guy, the pizza boy, and the adopted family. I remember most of the dogs’ names, as that’s how I roll. I had to write down some of the human characters’ names to help with your Peetime Cues, but otherwise almost everyone has a sort of low-key fungability. A pleasant B movie. 

Movie Grade: B

About The Peetimes: This was a kind of difficult movie to get Peetimes for, since there are so many plotlines and stories happening simultaneously. However, it’s really okay to jump out at the 3 Peetimes I chose, because nothing momentous happens in the movie, and each break is easy to summarize. Go with your bladder to pick a Peetime, as each one is decent.

Sir Patrick Stewart Back as the Beloved Jean-Luc Picard in New Star Trek

Jean-Luc Picard is back!

I’m so excited that I have to repeat this: He’s BACK! Sir Patrick Stewart announced yesterday at the Las Vegas 2018 Star Trek Convention that he’s ready to take back up the mantle of intrepid Renaissance man Jean-Luc Picard in an upcoming Star Trek series on CBS All Access. Well, frak; looks like I’m going to have to sign up and pay for that platform now.

Will he still be a Captain? An Admiral? My guess is he’ll move on to the Ambassador role he played at the end of All Good Things. Picard’s a huge diplomatic asset to the Federation, and I think the beloved Captain, once he’s moved on from Captaining (last seen in that role in 2002’s feature Trek film Nemesis), would head down the road of peace between peoples, using his famous Picard Speeches to pave the way.

We see glimpses of other things that came to pass in that otherwise benighted film – Kathryn Janeway has become an Admiral (with a specialty in Borg Knowledge, if Voyager series finale Endgame is to be believed).

I’m also thrilled to return to the 24th century, where humanity have evolved into a more enlightened state and the future looks hopeful. By the 24th century, humans live mostly at peace with their neighbors (Borg and Dominion Wars aside); poverty, hunger, and most illnesses have been eradicated, and we live in a Post-Scarcity dream world where the greatest mission of an individual is to explore and improve one’s self.

I’ve avoided CBS’s Star Trek Discovery almost completely (I did view the free episode). It’s dark, it’s grim, it’s a big downer. I turned my attention to Seth McFarlane’s The Orville instead: a playful, Next Generation-lite tribute to Trek. Even my mother loves it, and she’s not a science fiction fan as such.

More to relate: I’ll update this article soon. But I did want to let Trek fans know that Captain Picard is a thing again!!! SQUEEEEE!

Watch as Stewart excitedly announces his return: 

Sorry YA movies that never finished their franchises

I’m the member of the RunPee family who LOVES the YA (young adult) Dystopian/Fantasy genre. Harry Potter is still an obsession for me (and I’m 50). I re-read The Hunger Games every year, and watch the franchise even more. I even think Twilight was decent, although The Host was better.

So, what’s the deal with this post-millennial spaghetti-on-the-wall approach to YA series? Do the studios really think every dystopian and fantasy series is worthy of the full big screen treatment? And if they do put out an origin story on spec, do they care about following through with the series? And what happens when the young actors age out of their roles?

Am I just barking down a well, here? Woof, woof — does anyone care ?

I ask right now because I just watched The Darkest Minds (2018). It was…okay. Was it good enough to follow through to the end of the franchise? I’d probably say no. I’ve been burned a lot recently.

Here’s a list of YA series that will probably never see completion, for better or worse:

A Wrinkle In Time (2018) — This was just awful; totally incomprehensible. The company spent some money on it, but somewhere along the way it devolved into a hot mess. I don’t expect any of the sequels will be forthcoming.

A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) — There are so many childish books in this series that kind of sucked — I lost interest early on while reading them. How many of these books came out? I can’t say. I couldn’t be interested enough to watch any of them onscreen. Remarkably juvenile writing, IMO. (Looking it up, three movies of the 13 books actually made it to the theaters.)

Maze Runner (2014-2018) — I recently rewatched Maze Runner, and I have my opinion — it’s an okay version of an actually quite decent book. The sequel was middling, and the third film was frankly awful. Is there more to come? Do I care? This is ridiculous. Nothing made any sense in the 3rd film, and my Peetimes probably reflected this.

Divergent (2014-16) — I’m not sure how many books made it through to the screen. Three? Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant? All I have to say is that the first movie hewed close enough to the book to be worthwhile, and things fell apart quickly after that. I think I turned off Insurgent halfway through, and certainly didn’t bother with the third. Is there more? Do I care? (Note: Ascendant is supposed to follow soon as a TV series, but Shailene Woodley isn’t bothering to appear.)

The Chronicles of Narnia (2005-10) — This one hurts. As a child, waaaay before I picked up The Lord of the Rings (best book ever penned), this was my absolute favorite novel series in the world. In the universe! I believed if I had enough faith, when I died that I’d go to Narnia. I even had a special role — I was a forest nymph. My best friend and I made up stories about our lives in a magical meadow in Narnia…and as grownups, we re-met to hold our hands and hold our breath, trembling with excitement, and watch The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on the big screen. And you know what? It was kind of lame. Prince Caspian was about the same, while my favorite book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, was only a little bit better. Not better enough to save the series. If they ever do The Silver Chair, they’re going to have to hire newer, younger actors in a sort of soft reboot. Oh, well. I’ll always have The Lord of the Rings to rewatch.

The Golden Compass (2007) — to be honest, I tried to read the book and stopped pretty early in. I would love to give this series the full shake, but it seemed so…well, dark. It’s called His Dark Materials, so I guess that is to be expected. From the photos and the trailer, it looks really pretty, but it flew so far under the radar that I kind of can’t be bothered. One case where riding a super cool polar bear just isn’t enough.

I am Number Four (2011) — I did like this movie. I like the science fantasy aspects, and the story was well supported by both cast and narrative. Not enough to save it, however. Next.

Eragon (2006) — I didn’t bother with this one, so I’d love to hear if anyone enjoyed it. Dragons and fantasy sounds right up my alley, but all reviews say this was the pits, and there’s no news for keeping the saga going.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians (2010 and 2013) — These were pretty good! So why the silence? Good novels, decent films…and crickets. I would have stayed with this one. Bummer.

The Black Cauldron (1985) — Well, hmph. The Chronicles of Prydain is an underrated classic, and I’d love for some studio to try this again. The seven-novel YA series was my second youthful favorite adventure tale after the The Chronicles of Narnia, and since this one kickstarted so long ago, a reboot might do well. I mean, they did this one in the 80s! I doubt anyone has anything to hold against this poor attempt to get Taran’s saga going. Disney owns it, and they might be ready to option it again. Please, somebody give this excellent series a fair chance.

Vampire Academy (2014) — This sounds great on paper, sort of like a Harry Potter/Buffy match up. I’d watch that. Except somehow this was so bad I’d never even heard of it. Someone must have really screwed the pooch to mangle a really cool premise like this.

Ender’s Game (2013) — This one is truly a bad deal for us all. The book is magnificent. It was only a middling movie. You could watch it, and even sort of enjoy it, but Orson Scott Card’s literary masterpiece didn’t manage to move people in the theater. Maybe they can reboot it sometime and get the entire series done right. Or better yet, leave it be. Just re-read the novels.

The Mortal Instruments (2013) — Another one that slipped under my radar. There’s six books in this one, and people say the novels are fine. That doesn’t mean it translated well to the cinema, since it slid quietly into dust.

There’s more. I can delve further into the failed classics and promising franchises, but it’s frankly too depressing to keep going. Feel free to discuss what I missed and what I’m wrong about in the comments.

As for me, I’ll still keep the flame burning. I’m a believer in the genre, and I know there’s some good ones yet to emerge. Besides, someone has to watch these films and get the Peetimes for RunPee. 🙂

Related: 

Movie Review – The Darkest Minds

Movie Review – A Wrinkle In Time

Movie Review – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Movie Review – The Mockingjay, Part 2

Movie Review – Maze Runner, The Death Cure

Movie Review – Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Movie Review – The Vampire Academy

Movie Review – Twilight Eclipse

Movie Review – Twilight New Moon

Movie Review – Twilight Breaking Dawn, Part 2