Friday, November 24, 2017

Favorite Scene Friday! Deep Blue Sea: Enough is Enough

I've made no secret of my belief in the fact that Jurassic Park is the greatest movie of all time, so it should be no surprise to learn that I also love some other films that have taken more than a little inspiration from it. Deep Blue Sea follows an almost identical template - a skeleton crew of scientists, trainers and visitors are trapped in a remote, water-surrounded facility when, during a storm, a combination of human error and digestion-based natural instincts cause the crew to rapidly diminish in number whilst trying to safely find a way home - oh, and they both feature Samuel L. Jackson. The main difference between Deep Blue Sea and Jurassic Park - other than the abundance of giant brainy sharks instead of lysene-deficient dinosaurs - is that Deep Blue Sea is more often ridiculous, and potentially the pinnacle of this nonsense is the subject of today's FSF.

Deep Blue Sea wallpaper available on AlphaCoders from darkness

It's easily the most famous scene from the film. In fact, it's a scene I'd seen before I'd even heard of the film itself. It's the kind of film where someone will show it to you by skipping just to this scene, and ending it right afterwards. And yes, that's exactly what happened to me. It took me a few years to actually watch the rest of the film and, whilst I highly enjoy the various scenes of shark-spearing, helicopter-exploding and bird-eating, it's still this scene that stands out from all the rest. Prior to this point the pressure in an underwater shark research laboratory has potentially been compromised and the few remaining survivors - shark wrangler Carter (Thomas Jane), scientist Susan (Saffron Burrows), terrified marine biologist Janice (Jacqueline McKenzie), skittish engineer Scoggins (Michael Rapaport) and corporate executive/avalanche survivor Russell (Samuel L. Jackson) - are coming to blows over their best course of action. There are deadly sharks on the loose and their submersible is damaged, so the best means of escape seems to be climbing up an elevator shaft, but opening the door to the shaft could drown them all. Anyway, here's the scene:

Most of this is Russell's monologue. Sam Jackson has had a fair few phenomenal monologues in his time - Pulp Fiction of course springs to the forefront of my mind - so there really is no-one better to deliver these lines. Granted I could have done with the occasional "motherf*cker" thrown in here and there for good measure, but I'll take what I can get. What I really love about this scene though, and what makes it genuinely annoying that so many people see or hear about it before seeing the film as a whole, is that the end of it comes as a surprise. The scene itself is a cliche - the characters are panicking and heading in different directions, so one member, generally the most senior, makes a rousing speech to bond everyone together to face the climax as a team - but what breaks it from the mould is as Russell comes to the end of his speech and begins laying out his plan of action he is violently taken out by an appalling CGI shark emerging from the very pool Russell is suggesting they seal up. His body is dragged back into the pool which, after a little churning, becomes a bloody hot tub of commotion. We witness the reactions of the other characters and, unusually for this sort of film, we're as surprised as they are. Not only is it a shock that someone got taken out mid-motivational speech, but that person was Samuel L. Jackson, the biggest name in the film and one of the first character we met. As the outsider to the facility he has essentially been the audience surrogate so far, the character we've clung to during his tour and introductions to the rest of the characters, and now he's nothing but chum.

Deep Blue Sea is a film full of decent character deaths - very few characters actually survive the film - but Russell's demise is easily the most memorable and iconic, despite chronologically falling in the middle of them all. It almost feels as if the entire film has been created around this moment, and if it means getting to witness a scene like this then as far as I'm concerned that's a pretty great reason to make a movie.

What's your favorite Samuel L. Jackson movie moment?