Nothing Deep About “The Shallows”

Summer movie The Shallows, starring pretty much only Blake Lively and shark, was released this past June. The premise is Blake Lively’s body. And a shark that for some reason wants bloody revenge against human beings. The plot begins as the Lively’s character, Nancy, stares out into the beautiful blue waters of some secluded beach in Mexico, and then Skypes her dad about how amazing it is. Here we learn that Nancy’s mother recently died and she is trying to find solace by surfing at a place her mother loved. Disregarding the fact that Skype probably doesn’t work on a deserted beach in Mexico, this is about as deep as the plot gets.
The next few scenes quickly pass. Nancy joyfully paddles out, meets a couple of local surfers and carves into some sweet waves (Junior World Champion, Isabella Nichols, was used to play Lively’s stunt double). It all goes down-hill from there. The murderous shark enters the scene and pretty much cleans up shop, chomps on Nancy’s leg and then stalks her while she perches atop a rock for a good portion of the movie. Not only is she uncomfortably moaning on a rock, but she’s bleeding everywhere for an hour and a half straight. More stalking happens until she finally figures out how to kill the stalker shark. While not quite at a Jaws level of thrill, the movie portrays the shark in the same way- violent. Most surfers know that the chances of getting mauled by a shark are slim to none, and besides, life is too short to live in fear of the unlikely. Humans kill around 100 million sharks a year, so I would understand if there was a revenge shark, although again, probably to definitely not a real thing.
Movies with ominous music when sharks enter the scene don’t do too much for the fear mongers who feed off of sensationalism. People become apathetic to things, people, animals, basically anything they are afraid of. Movies where the whole plot is a murder shark doesn’t do too much for the shark population. There are enough people in the world who don’t care about sharks and want to eat their body parts or what not. Unfortunately for all ocean life, sharks are at the top of the food chain, and therefore have a huge affect on keeping populations of fish in proper proportion to the ecosystem. Without them, we would lose many more species. Fortunately for humans, we can make better decisions- in movies we watch and in what we choose to believe. Sorry, Blake, I give The Shallows one tomato. If you watch it, best to focus on the sweet skills of 19-year-old Isabella.

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