Open Water / Open Water 2: Adrift (Blu-ray)
Based on the true story of a young married couple that went scuba diving but was accidentally left out in the ocean by the excursion boat. OPEN WATER wisely sets up the premise quickly in the first fifteen minutes then spends the rest of the film with our two leads treading water hoping to survive the shark infested waters.
Brilliantly shot with hand held cameras mostly at eye level of the two bobbing heads, OPEN WATER immerses you into the open desolate waters. Some of the scenes dip below the water to allowing you to view the danger sharks swarming below. These are not tricks mind you it is very clear that these actual sharks are splashing and bumping the two actors. The night scene was the most impressive, only using the lightning to light the scene during long moments of pitch black with the sounds of the storm and screams of the characters.
The opening scenes with the two leads Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis are little bland with some rough acting and dialogue but once they get into the water the real fear sets in and they are outstandingly natural. The extras at the beginning are good as well and the way they show the couple get left behind by there boat seemed like a plausible honest mistake without stretching believability. It’s nice to see a film with smart characters that logically respond to their situation but still find themselves helpless.
I cannot express how well this film was put together. Director Chris Kentis deserves all the credit for getting in the water and capturing these real moments with the actors, the ocean and of course the sharks. An uneasy feeling settles in when the picture is finished and leaves a fear of the water not like but reminiscent of JAWS.
OPEN WATER 2 (2/10)
Everything is wrong with this film.
It’s tough for me not to leave only that as my statement. It’s so terrible and if I were to go into great detail why I could write a novel describing in detail how every action, decision or lack there of is inconceivably stupid, improbable and just plain wrong.
Six friends meet up as sort of reunion on a yacht. They decide to go for a swim but forget to put the ladder down. They have to figure out how to get back on the boat before they kill each other. Yes kill each other because nothing in the water harms any of them other than their own stupidity. Oh and there is a baby on board because one of the couple put their child at risk by bringing their 3 month old (I could do an entire rant at the unfit parenting that continues to happen but again I will retain myself so I don’t give spoilers).
The group is floating right next to the boat and is never harmed by any elements of the ocean. Rather they are continually harmed by each other. They all give up before a days end and would rather end their own lives or each other’s before using team work or harming boat. They think of one idea (maybe two) and give up on it immediately at the first snag.
I’m shocked at the attempts of poetic symbolic cinematography with beautiful scenery. The vastness felt unreal. The direction by Hans Horn is forced and unorganized, full of unnecessary flashbacks, odd editing and slow motion and overemotional music cues. By the way, despite the advertisement sharks play no part in this film whatsoever.
How loose is the term “Based on True Events” used anymore. The initial setup may be true but there is no way these character’s actions are anywhere near true and if they are it should be treated more as a Coen Brother’s dark comedy rather than this attempt at a suspense drama. I am flabbergasted at how badly these characters are written with cheesy dialogue and over dramatic speeches at the weirdest times. Grey’s Anatomy’s Dr. McSteamy (Eric Dane) lets fly some of the juiciest bad lines.
So my suggestion is grab a friend, have some cocktails and laugh. It’s very near that so bad it’s good stage. But I warn you, watching by yourself you’ll just want to punch your own face repeatedly.
BLU-RAY REVIEW (OPEN WATER)
Video: (1080p High Definition 16×9 Widescreen 1.85:1) This was an early movie filmed entirely in digital and it looks great for being out in the ocean elements the entire time. The land stuff falls a little flat looking too independent as in my parent’s home video.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio) It sounds like the waves are completely surrounding you. Well done.
Audio Commentary with Producer Laura Lau and Director Chris Kentis: The husband and wife team give an interesting listen commentary that I would recommend between the two. I’ve noticed independent films seem to always have a much more interesting commentary that really teaches any aspiring filmmakers without much of a budget on tricks to make a production go well or not go well.
Audio Commentary with Actors Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis: The two actors give a very candid and upbeat recap of their experience. It’s an easy listen.
Deleted Scenes: Seven total scenes full of bad acting. Six are before they ever get into the water so I’m sure they were cut to get to the action and premise quicker.
The Indie Essential (5:03): This is a short segment giving advice to aspiring filmmakers on how to make a successful indie film.
Calm Before the Storm: Making Open Water (15:49): An extremely interesting and thorough making of process. Much better than your typical making-of that shows mostly clips of the film. A large portion was dedicated to how they worked with the sharks.
Bonus On-Location-Footage with Director Chris Kentis (2:30): A short snippet on how the director achieved his shark shots. As he hangs on a bouey with a camera get shot os sharks eating chum. They quickly gather all around him, which is ridiculously frightening.
BLU-RAY REVIEW (OPEN WATER 2: ADRIFT)
Video: (1080p High Definition 16×9 Widescreen 2.35:1) The pictures is extremely clear and sharp. The colors really bounce as they are trapped in some pretty clear water…perhaps a swimming pool?
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio) The sound is very clear. You can actually hear the characters getting dumber.
The Making of Open Water 2 (20:08): I cannot believe how serious and good these people think the film will be. This is several interviews with the cast and crew about the process while showing clips of the film.