Friday, April 9, 2010

Try just a little harder, please?

Try Just A Little Harder, Please Guys?
(HT rants a bit)

I had been toying with the idea of doing a series of reviews on animal attack movies. I've been talking about shark and crocodile movies a lot with some friends online lately, which got me thinking about this idea. So I gathered a few films that I thought may be interesting to watch and write about. I knew full well going into it that some of them would not be good, and knew that some of them would annoy me, but I thought I'd give them a shot anyway. Well... I watched several of them, and kept finding that I unable to cull enough from them to be able to write a review that would have amounted to more than a paragraph or two at most. And even then, most of those reviews would have come down to “I would almost rather stare into my cat's litter box for two hours than watch this thing again.” So instead of a big series of animal attack movie reviews (although I'm sure I'll be covering a few of them here and there), you guys get to read a rant.

Wild animal attack movies are one of my lifelong favorite genres. At the same time, it seems that ninety-five percent or more of these films suck. What's worse is that it's also one of the film genres that is hard hit by the technological achievements in film that allows us to have really bad computer generated effects. Anyone who talks films with me finds out soon enough that I really despise bad CGI. It can break a film for me as faster than anything I can think of. And a lot of cheaply made animal attack movies have gotten to the point that they don't even bother to include a real animal at any point in the film anymore. Just to clear the air, I'm not opposed to CGI if it's done well.

Syfy is particularly notorious for this. And as much as I love a good Jaws knock-off, the ones Syfy has been making are absolutely insufferable. I've seen better CGI in a video game than in some of these films. I recently sat through Malibu Shark Attack and Shark Swarm. Both of whom did not feature a single real shark as near as I could tell. Hell, Malibu Shark Attack even claimed a species of shark was extinct that wasn't. Guess what? Goblin sharks are not extinct, nor are they even known to attack people. See: So not only are they being lazy as film makers by not even bothering to dig up some stock footage of a real shark and sticking in some poorly done CGI that they probably used some poor intern hoping for a college credit to create, but they are giving out straight up misinformation besides. Yes, I am aware that this happens in other genres as well, shows like CSI give unrealistic expectations to the public of what police officers are actually capable of in the way of crime solving all the time.

Don't even get me started on snakes in movies. How many times over the years have I seen a so called poisonous snake depicted in film and have it only be a Columbian Boa, a California Banded Kingsnake, or a Ball Python? (Nerdy Film/Reptile Enthusiast Note: It's call venomous, venom is injected. There is no such thing as a “poisonous” snake.) Is it that hard to track down a non-venomous snake that isn't in 75% of pet shops in the world? I don't complain when they use a milk snake and tell me it's a coral snake, at least they tried. I've ranted on this topic before in my review of Chaw, but it still annoys me. This happens all the time in current films, and it's nothing new, but I always applaud when they at least give an effort. If you look at the original April Fool's Day there is a scene in the woods where a snake strikes at someone and it's a Cook's Tree Boa. Why don't they use those more often? At least it's an unusual looking snake. I realize that I might know a little bit more about snakes than the average viewer, simply because they interest me and I've been around them most of my life, but anyone who's ever been in a pet shop for more than fifteen minutes has seen a few Columbian Boas. All I'm really asking for is a little effort. Really. That's all.

I realize that these things shouldn't be taken seriously and that they are most likely made tongue-in-cheek hoping to appeal to the fans of the so-bad-it's-good types of films. But sometimes bad is just bad. End of story.


  1. Good post sir! I can't take issue with anything said here. It really is a shame that animals attack movies have just gone into the dumpster in the past 15 years. Not they it wasn't almost always a low budget genre, but it is getting pretty sad. Watched SABRETOOTH the other day. Wow. I mean wow. I'm ready to give up on them altogether. MEGA PIRANHA is my last hope!
    PS-Good eye on the snake in APRIL FOOLS DAY man. I salute your reptile expertise!

  2. Thanks for boldly going where I'm too lazy. It makes for great reading, if not watching. I hereby award you the Blogger Pathfinder Badge for bravely putting in the hours as your inner child starves.

  3. Well stated!

    I haven't seen most of the films you discuss here, but I did catch MEGAPIRANHA. Seriously, I thought after the first 1/2 hour that I was watching a comedy...that's how ridiculous it was!