Location photography is wonderful. Blake Lively is easy on the eyes and has some good moments acting wise. The Seagull steals the movie -- best character and best character arc by far.
1. The Seagull is the best character and has the best character arc in the movie
2. Overdirected in all the wrong places
3. Doesn't establish the water as the threat rather than the shark (a la Jaws), so all the tension lets out the moment the shark drops under the waves
4. CGI overkill. Clever mix of CGI and practical effects is the key, why does this simple equation still elude so many directors??
5. Blake Lively also has some very bad moments acting wise. Mostly when it comes to moments of peril. Part of this may have to do with the fact that a portion of this movie was shot in a giant pool. If you want to do this right, go Revenant with it and stick her out in the ocean. It would have informed her performance more.
6. Not shot entirely in a real environment. So many scenes were clearly shot in a tank with the backdrop put in digitally. The scenes that are actually shot on location feel much more visceral. Had the whole movie been that, this likely would have been a different review.
7. Terrible terrible script!!! This was a Blacklist script? Seriously. Unless someone went through after the fact and tagged on a bunch of unnecessary plot arcs and hack dialogue onto a brilliant script, we may all have to reassess Blacklist's veracity. This is absolute garbage. Had this just been about a surfer chick nursing her grief with a world tour trip to all her late mother's favorite surf spots who then runs afoul of a rogue shark things would be fine. But no, there is this added on backstory of her dropping out of medical school, and a stock father and sister who spout inane expository dialogue. For what? I don't care whether she goes back to medical school or not. Completely unnecessary and offers no stakes. And the last scene of the flick is teeth clenchingly bad. The absolute worst kind of wrap-it-all- up-with-a-bow happy ending nonsense that is the hallmark of terrible movies.
8. NO STAKES. Nothing builds from one moment to the next. There are just sporadic moments of watered down shark attack mayhem interspersed with indulgent and unnecessary slo-mo shots of Blake Lively looking off into the horizon.
9. Inconsistent physical state. One scene Lively is close to death with sores on her lips and eyes burning red from dehydration. The next scene she's swimming with Olympian vigor and her complexion is vibrant and crystal clear. Never once did I fear that the elements might kill her before the shark did.
10. Stalker level overkill of T&A. Can't believe I'm complaining about this but by the 10th time the camera was crammed up Lively's butt or down her cleavage I was over it. Give us one or two shots to show off her body and move on. She's beautiful and deserves the attention, but when bikini shots outnumber shark shots in a shark movie you've gone too far.
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