b a i t
19th April 2013
A Very Big Fish
1st May 2013
It’s probably fair to assume that our love of shark movies has not escaped you. If you haven’t managed to get through our dissection of Jaws: The Revenge just yet, you’ve probably at least noticed that our entire website is named after the faulty fish model in Jaws. You can imagine how thrilled we were when we noticed Bait pop up while we were doing our previews for April. We couldn’t believe a whole new shark film was about to hit our cinemas. Yes, cinemas folks, it wasn’t going straight to DVD. Well, that last part is only true in the most technical sense. A bit of digging and we established that Bait was indeed getting a cinema release. In one cinema. For one week. Odd we thought, until we realised this is how it goes if you want to get rid of the ‘straight to DVD’ tag from your movie. Undaunted, we were determined to see it. Then man-flu hit and we missed out.
So it was with great expectation that we sat down this week to watch Bait 3D in glorious 2D at home. To deal with the 2D / 3D thing right off the bat, from watching Bait in 2D, it would appear that it is 3D in the Jaws 3 D sense. That is, every so often you’ll be either aware of something floating in the foreground or have a very unrealistic shark fly out of the screen at you. I suspect the technology is rather better now so it will probably look better than the hilariously stationary 3D shark in Jaws 3, but that gives you an idea of what to expect with that.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around an ex-lifeguard tormented by the memory of his soon to be brother in law being consumed by a big fish right in front of him. This has led him to retreat from the glamour of cleaning out swimming pool toilets (I may have got Aussie beach lifeguards confused with Brit swimming pool lifeguards here) to stacking shelves in the local supermarket. One fairly shabby but by no means awful CGI tsunami later and the entire supermarket is flooded. Did we mention it was being held up at gunpoint when the wave hits? Doesn’t matter, it was and now we have a motley collection of shoppers and staff stranded on tall shelves surrounded by water or trapped in their cars in the inexplicably half flooded basement parking lot. Things start to look a bit funny when things start moving in the water and very soon the variously injured survivors have sussed out that they are sharing their new aquarium supermarket with a large hungry fish.
Bait manages to avoid the Jaws: The Revenge problem by not trying to make us think that this is the same fish that nailed the brother in law twelve months earlier so it scores points here. This is just another bloody nuisance of a fish, only this time it’s not in the open ocean, it’s swimming up aisle 7. One of the many tag lines for this movie is ‘Cleanup in aisle 7’ which we greatly enjoyed.
The ragtag survivors are played by what i think probably qualify as B list Aussie stars (?) Is that fair? They’re better than the stars of Neighbours but i can’t see them signing up for any new Baz Luhrman films any time soon. The dialogue ranges from pointless exposition to painful ‘getting over family’ issues style cut-aways. The shark effects are decent, the deaths relatively predictable but pretty entertaining and there is at least one scene of a pet in peril. On that note, one of the more entertaining parts of the film is the bickering couple trapped in their car, submerged to the roof in the parking lot. This means they can argue about how to get out, their relationship and designer shoes whilst watching the shark cruise past the windscreen.
So the big question is where does this fit in the exceptionally dubious shark movie pantheon? I think it’s fair to say this is substantially better than Shark in Venice (a film so dodgy that not only does it star the third tier Baldwin but also can’t agree on its title on IMDB - Sharks in Venice on the poster, Shark in Venice in the details) but it’s also a long way short of The Deep Blue Sea. in purely Jaws terms, it‘s better than 3D and The Revenge but not even in the same lagoon as 2. If you think Snakes on a Plane but without the snakes, the plane and Samuel L but with Victor Von Doom from Fantastic Four, then you’re in the right place. Now go and try to find another film site that’s spared 800 odd words on this one.