October 8, 2005

Movie Review: Into the Blue

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAt first, this movie seems to have been made to show off the beauty that is underwater, a beauty which, more often than not, includes visions of the lovely Jessica Alba swimming by. By the end of the movie, there has been a shift in dynamics, it moves from a travelogue featuring Jessica Alba, to a film that has a surprisingly effective conflict and a build of genuine suspense. However, the film suffers from being overlong and having a weak script. Still, there is a sense of fun and adventure that doesn't rely on loads of CG effects that is refreshing.

The film opens with a plane crash, for unknown reasons, with unknown characters. But we know it will be important later, as the credits sequence lingers on the undersea wreckage. The sharks swimming around it signaling the trouble that will come of it later. We then begin our introductions to our cast of characters. We have the idealistic treasure hunter Jared (Paul Walker), his even more idealistic girlfriend Sam (Jessica Alba), his dopey friend Bryce (Scott Caan), and the girl he just met Amanda (Ashley Scott). On the other side of the fence is his competition, diver Bates (Josh Brolin) and a night club owner called Primo (Tyson Beckford).

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe story, such as it is, follows Jared as he works at fixing up his boat and searching for sunken ships filled with treasure, which apparently can be a rather lucrative venture. He has a loving, and absolutely stunning, girlfriend, who may be even more of an idealist always encouraging him. Then his buddy shows up with a new woman in tow. They head out on his boat for a little diving. During the dive that crashed plane from the beginning is found, and it has a payload that is worth a lot of money, but could also attract a lot of attention. At the same time, a potentially huge shipwreck discovery.

Of course, they can't celebrate for long, it is time for the moral dilemma. Should they start digging up the ship? Should they retrieve the illegal payload of the plane? Should they report the plane wreckage? Oh, what a quandary. The thought process, or lack thereof, that goes into their actions isn't the best laid of plans. But, without these wonderful thoughts we wouldn't have the high action climax involving boat races, car chases, underwater shootouts, and, of course, the big twist.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIt was slow going until about the halfway point, when some more bad guys jumped in and joined the fray. The action picked up, and the immediacy of the characters actions becomes more important and dire. Leading to a resolution that works in the "happy ending" sort of way.

The film looks great, lush colors, exotic fish and the lovely swimming forms of Jessica Alba, Jessica Alba, and Ashley Scott. The performances, on the other hand, not so good. Scott Caan is just way too hammy, I get what they were doing, but it was poor execution. Paul Walker still can't act, he has a single expression, and a poor Keanu Reeves like delivery. Ashley Scott actually does a decent job as an unknown factor in our little group. Josh Brolin gives probably the best performance in the movie as the smarmy (is that a word?) competitor.

Did I say Josh Brolin was best? I'm sorry, I meant Jessica Alba and her ever shrinking bikini. In all seriousness, she may not be able to carry a film yet, but she is charismatic onscreen. She does a pretty good job here, playing the idealistic encouragement. Given some more time, her presence and ability will grow. At least I hope so.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe film was directed by John Stockwell, who also helmed Blue Crush and Crazy/Beautiful. He shows he has a good eye, but his editor could use an editor. There are too many music video segments. What am I there to see, a movie or MTV? They could have easily trimmed somewhere in the vicinity of 20 minutes, with no noticeable loss. It was written by Matt Johnson, who wrote last year's Torque. Doesn't really surprise me, both films attempt to transcend the style over substance film, and neither quite makes it. Into the Blue has better scenery (read as Jessica Alba in a bikini).

Bottomline. I can't say that this is an awful film, but it is not anywhere near being a good film. The last 30-45 minutes are pretty good, especially the dialogueless (mostly) climactic chase/fight. If you hadn't gotten the hint, I am a big fan of Jessica Alba, and she is a good reason to see the film. If you want something with substance, see History of Violence, if you want to see pure entertainment, see Serenity, if you thirst for underwater scenes, Jessica in a bikini, and some decent adventure, see this.

Mildly Recommended.

To end on a happy note:
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