Saturday, November 24, 2007

#26: Deep Rising (Stephen Sommers, 1998)

I normally hate the shorthand comparisons lazy critics make, particularly X-meets-Y. (It's Schindler's List meets Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium! On acid! With a twist of lime!) However, the blurb on the video box for Deep Rising sums it up perfectly: Die Hard meets Aliens meets Titanic. In addition, the Han Solo character has been added to the mix. This delightful concoction, when consumed, results in really, really stupid fun. Maybe my limited blockbuster intake makes me appreciate something like Deep Rising more than if I watched these jams all the time. Nevertheless, Stephen Sommers has directed a fast food bacon double cheeseburger of a movie. And I like fast food bacon double cheeseburgers, even though they will one day kill me. This movie is a non-stop procession of cliches, but they're good cliches, and the pacing never flags. Sommers has the good sense to leave out the dumb stuff, and to leave in the super-dumb stuff. For example, he discards everything in Titanic except for the awesomeness of the ship and what happens when it sinks. (Incidentally, Sommers gives the ship the fantastic name Argonautica and the even more fantastic motto "Good times forever.")He keeps all the good stuff from Aliens but has the good sense to cast someone other than Paul Reiser in the Paul Reiser role. He realizes that casting Treat Williams as an action hero is ludicrous, so all the self-deprecating one-liners are hilariously unhilarious (e.g. "Now what?" "This is turning out to be one hell of a day," "Cut me some slack," "I'm working too hard," "Jeez Louise," etc.) These lines are delivered the way Bruce Willis and Schwarzenegger deliver their one-liners. Kevin J. O'Connor plays the Bill Paxton "game over, man" role. O'Connor starred in Candy Mountain. I mention that only because Candy Mountain is a great movie that everyone should see. It has nothing whatsoever to do with this post. The sea monsters are pretty exciting, but I will always believe that CGI looks like shit. It doesn't matter too much in this case. A half-digested man gets to melt in front of our eyes. The villains are a Rainbow Coalition of pirate mercenaries, multi-culturally plundering the world, one enormous cruise ship at a time. Stuff blows up. A ski-doo is propelled in mid-air. Giant mutant octopi in the South China Sea fuck shit up. I am putting my journalism degree to good use. Treat Williams! Argonautica! Good times forever! Whoo!

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