harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,
harsens_rob
harsens_rob

Movie Time: "She Gods of Shark Reef"





She Gods of Shark Reef

(50 movie pack: Night Screams Collection)

(1958)

DIR: Roger Corman

Starring: Bill Cord, Don Durant, Lisa Montell


Blurb: Filmed in Hawaii, this tale features an escaped prisoner and his brother who become shipwrecked on an island paradise. The land is filled with delectable native women who fill their time enacting strange rituals, and diving in the ocean for pearls. When one of the women is selected by her peers to be sacrificed [the rest will not be posted because it gives the entire ending away... gee thank you for that].

My Blurb: I already hate this movie just from the description. The current IMDB score of 2.4 isn't helping me out either. I'm expecting lots of focus on bikini hotties, which is wasted on me. But, let's dive in....

{Get it, "dive in" cause with the ocean ... and ... never mind.}
A zone of spoilers ahead.





Scene 01: Great, right from the title screen I can see I should pop some aspirin to get through Mill Creeks usual stellar transfers; Be right back.


We open on some pretty harmless looking sharks swimming around in a tank. (I'm not sure we were supposed to know they were in a tank, but they were.)


Scene 02: We cut to a young man and an old man swimming just offshore under a pier. They are listening to footsteps above them on the dock.


Commentary: I actually had typed 'a young man and a girl swimming' because one of our bathers was so low in the water and the transfer is so bad, I thought 'she' was wearing a bathing cap. The picture is also jittery... damn it! Note that this won't affect scoring because that isn't really the movie's fault, but it needs to be pointed out.

I then thought they'd be our two brothers, so changed my description to "two young men"... wrong again. And, the old man is wearing a bathing... turban...?



Scene 03: On that dock, making the footstep noises, is an armed guard patrolling. Young man shares looks with old man. They peer up at the underside of the pier and we watch guard walking some more.




Scene 04: Oh, wait. Now the young man and old man are under a different pier, but the footfalls sounded like and they were acting as if the guard were directly over their heads, which he isn't because they have to risk swimming across a short expanse from their dock to his behind his patrolling back.


Commentary: Continuity is our friend. I believe we'll be missing our friend's presence, today.


Scene 05: Our two men make it and pull themselves up to a lower dock/boat launch area. They glance up at the guard's position and share more meaningful looks with one another.

With a nod, old man is off to sneak closer to guard with a large machete.


Scene 06: In the meantime, young man grabs a piece of rope and climbs up the pylons. He manages to come up behind guard's back. The guard is quickly garroted and stabbed to death, which is filmed in such a way as to have as little special effect work as possible.

Old man then checks that the coast is clear and no one heard guard's murder. With a nod and hand wave, the two rush off.


Scene 07: They return to a crate under a tarp. The crate contains rifles. But, before they can carry out the unloading, they hear another guard patrolling the dock. They have to duck out of sight, while waiting to see if the dead guard is discovered.


Scene 08: 2nd guard notices that 1st guard is missing. He finds his co-worker's rifle lying on the dock.


Commentary: This entire sequence is without music, which on one hand I really want to appreciate, but this opening set up is taking too long and a bit of dramatic 'danger music' could only have helped here. Our real problem though is the cinematography. It's all washed out colors and dull, dark scenery. I don't know how much of this is the cheap camera, the cheap film stock, actually badly planned lighting for the sequence, or the horrible transfer. I think there is more than one culprit, perhaps a little bit of all of the above.


The 1st guard's body is quickly found under another tarp.


Commentary: And the 2nd guard just squats there like a tulip... your co-worker has been found by you murdered and hidden... perhaps you'd like to raise a cry of alarm, or lift your rifle and look about in alarm... or... no? Just wanna hold position, staring at his corpse? Okay.


Scene 09: Young Man hears a splash and looks out at the water to see that Old Man is bugging the hell out and quickly swimming away to save his own ass (HAH-hah!).



2nd Guard also hears the splashing and spots Old Man in the water making an exit. He finally decides he should alert somebody and blows an emergency whistle, just as Young Man jumps down from the crate he'd been hiding behind.


Scene 10: 2nd Guard and Young Man duke it out, because despite having a rifle, 2nd Guard chooses hand to rifle butt instead of keeping a safe distance. Young Man wins and also dives back into the drink, but he didn't kill 2nd Guard, or even knock him out cold.

2nd Guard lines up a shot, but he misses and Young Man seems to make an escape.


Scene 11: OH NO, BAD NARRATION!

Young Man tells us he did in fact escape. We see him open a map and point to a random location. His voiceover tells us that he's made his way to the other side of the island he's on, where his brother maintains a boat.

With his finger trailing down the map, he tells us that he and his brother took off for some other island or another where Young Man has friends to hide him out. But, there was a hurricane that blew them offcourse.

They ended up on a reef.


Scene 12: We now have a shot of their (toy) boat being roughed up by the hurricane.


Commentary: Why yes, it would seem that narration business should have come after the storm... and should have been in dialog between the brothers, rather than a hand pointing at a map with a voiceover. You so smart.


The boat is indeed stranded on the rocks and torn apart.


Scene 13: In the sea, the two brothers swim under the worst of the storm. No wait, the storm is over. What are they doing?

Anyway, the brothers are underwater, there are some native boats above and there is a woman swimming in the sea nearby.

Brother who isn't Young Man... Let's call him "Blond Brother" is caught in the kelp bed, but is spotted by swimming woman as he goes limp and she rushes over to untangle him and get him to the surface. She rejoins the native boats with him, after a short shot of a random shark swimming nowhere near them.


Scene 14: Native Girl returns to the kelp bed, as we get more random shark swimming about, except the music doesn't imply any sort of threat going on.

Suddenly Native Girl is no longer in the kelp bed, but has swam out to the shark so she can stab it. Because, it's minding its own business was a distant threat and she's a proactive kinda gal.


Commentary: I'm really disturbed by this scene. To protect my sanity, I'm going to assume this shark carcass was already dead, or there is some good fakery going on. The anti-shark violence wasn't necessary, since the shark isn't anywhere near the kelp beds where Native Girl was swimming around. In addition, where the hell is Young Man? I thought she was returning to effect another rescue, but he should be good and drowned by now....


Oh, nevermind, there he is. He must be an Olympic diver, because he's still holding his breath in the kelp bed. She cuts him free. They return to the surface, despite the danger of the random-shark-swimming-footage insertions.


Commentary: Okay, he's rescued. A fade-out would have been fine... we didn't actually need a shot of him climbing up into one of the native boats. We got that from the first rescue.


Scene 15: Via the coconut-radios aboard the native skimmers, or their water telepathy - the village women sense the dramatic rescues and rush to the beach to watch the skiffs coming in.


Commentary: I bet this location was gorgeous. We won't be able to tell.


Scene 16: As the boaters help the Young Man and Blond Brother from the skiffs, we see that all of the sailors are women. We see no evidence of any menfolk.

Village Elder woman asks after their health and about what happened. Blond Brother reports that they didn't see the reef and ran aground. Blond Brother asks after another man, but island girl reports that he didn't make it. His name was Jim, and he isn't Young Man, because he's on the beach. Poor, unseen and now dead, Jim (although, I think dead-Jim is fake and he's actually real-but-dead Lee).

Blond Brother and Young Man are informed that they're stuck on the island of blah-something-blahs, which is under the control of some corporation or another. They're told they'll have to stay until a company launch comes to the island during its regularly scheduled visit... about 10 days.


Commentary: I was going to include the group shot of the beautiful women and shirtless two guys, but our transfer is so god-awful that everyone looks like featureless blobs. Sorry -- I'm sure I can get a close up cap or three later.


Scene 17: The men are escorted to a guest house, also company owned, for their stay. Village Elder woman reports that Young Man has a small case of the bends, or pressure sickness, or bump on the head or whatever. He'll be fine but right now he gets to overact over Blond Brother's dialog.



Village Elder Woman asks after their names and history, which they lie about, but it's names so I'll take them: Young Man = Jim going by Lee; Blond Brother = Christy.

Christy spins a further tale that he's a freelance marine specimen collector for the main island and they were out for samples when the storm came up and caught 'em.

Christy wants to offer the girl that pulled them out a reward, but the Village Elder Woman says there is no need. They don't use money on the island, as everything is provided by The Company in exchange for their pearl collecting.


Scene 18: Later, Village Elder Woman, who IMDB says is Queen Pua, so I'll go with that is in the forests walking with purpose. Pua unfurls a signal flag and raises it on a line. She's secretive about it, for no good reason.


Scene 19: Back at the cottage, the boys have recovered from their ordeal. And, well, THANK YOU ROGER CORMAN (but damned this old-VHS found in a dusty, musty corner transfer):



Jim and Christy both spot the sign quite easily, so again the whole secretive-look over raising it was stupid and pointless.

Jim is panicked that the cops will know he's there, but Christy points out they can't possibly know it is them that were shipwrecked and besides, they don't have any other way to leave without a real ship, anyway. The two boys discuss their situation and the danger of the company boat getting a description of Jim by the time they come to pick them up. This quickly devolves into an argument over Jim killing that guard during the aborted heist.

Jim storms back in the cabin, while Christy walks around a pond to speak to Queen Pua.


Scene 20: Queen Pua confirms that she's informed the Big Island about the shipwreck, but reports that many ships have gone down in the hurricane so it will still be 10 days.


Commentary: Wait. She had an entire conversation by semaphore... across the sea... without binoculars...? Just how much information was exchanged here? And how in the hell is the Big Island even seeing her dinky flag when it was half hidden by the tree trunk because of the wind direction?!


During their conversation, Christy reports that he thought he saw an object in the water (which we get a brief shot of). Pua reports it is the local Shark God, who has been angry and causing the storms that have battered the area. He jokingly wonders if there is anything they can do to put him in a better mood. She responds quite seriously that the God is hungry....


Scene 21: More shots of the women in their skiffs returning from a, presumably, pearl diving expedition.

Out on a raft, Jim and Christy have been attempting to salvage what belongings they can from their wreck. It isn't much. Jim accuses Christy of blaming him for the boat's loss. Christy denies this, stating they just had bad luck... I'd say that real-Lee's luck was worse, but we don't mention him.


This movie is wonderful....


Back on the beach... girls in skiffs...

Back on the raft... snarky comment from Jim... they head in.

Back on the beach, girls disembark from skiffs and wave to men on raft.


Commentary: Oh, and my prediction of bikini-focused storytelling is not coming to pass. The girls are in native dresses, whose name I simply don't want to search for.

So far, I'm not seeing anything really painful... I wonder why this movie has such a low rating. I mean there is a pacing issue, but it isn't severe....



Scene 22: The girls gather themselves for mealtime as the boys collect their meager possessions from the beached raft. One of our lovely ladies sees the boys approaching and briefly gives a smile, which isn't missed by Pua. Island Girl is Mahia and I sense interest in Christy.



The boys join the girls and Pua comments on their good fortune in retrieving their collection, but Jim counters that the whole take wouldn't be worth more than $20. Christy is still sore over losing the boat he's only had 8 months, it costing his every cent to purchase. Pua makes semi-bitter 'hands of fate' statements.

She also gives them way too much information about the pearl and oyster preparation and storage, before sending them to the girls to be fed.


Scene 23: Jim is already plan-hatching, and he sends Christy off to make an ally of the clearly-interested-but-shy Mahia. They rejoin the circle of girls where a spread has been laid out. Pua notices Mahia's attention toward Christy again, and makes sour puss face at her.


Scene 24: And, oh dear. We have a singing and hula scene....


Okay, that wasn't painful. And Mahia tells a quickie version of Chris' arrival on their island. She's certainly charming. But we're not done with it at that, and this story is only 63 minutes, so we're now spending too much time with this diversion....

It comes time for Mahia to give her hula-story, and she convinces Chris to clumsily join her. Their interaction is gazed upon by Pua and the Queen isn't enthused about this development.

Unfortunately, Chris, with his flailing breaks a lei and this causes a tizzy of panicked "bad taboo!" reactions. Queen Pua drags Mahia away from him and the girls all abandon the boys.


Scene 25: Sometime later... possibly even the next day, the timeline isn't clearly maintained: Chris comes out onto the porch of the bungalow (I am really jealous of these actors -- this place looks beautiful... even through the grimy transfer). Chris watches the girls loading up their skiffs for another day of fishing, when Jim joins him and asks him why is isn't down there meeting his "dancing partner".

Chris complains about both the girls' superstitions of the night before and Pua's whole attitude toward them (Okay, look, Pua has been nothing but gracious with these unexpected visitors... sure she isn't exactly grinning ear to ear over their arrival, but she hasn't been a bitch either. Chris needs to shut the hell up). Jim is frustrated at Chris' attitude, because he needs him to get close to Mahia so that they'll have somebody who knows the island and can find them another boat/get them supplies before The Company vessel comes for them.

Chris mentions a shark coming into the reef that morning and this makes Jim happy as it points out that they can leave if they can find the means. His brother is more worried about their attempt failing and ending up like real-Lee/faux-Jim (Hey, he remembered! Except, that the whole production sort of forgets that our current Lee is a made up identity for real Jim, him having swapped names with the decedent... or that was supposed to be a plot point that got dropped, but they went with the false name when the boys first arrive because they forgot to change that... the point is that dark-haired brother's actual name can be a bit hard to keep track of), but Jim is not to be disuaded. He sends Chris out to renew ties with Mahia.


Scene 26: Chris goes down to the beach and helps launch the boats for the girls. Then he wanders. In the meantime, Jim is out scouting. He comes across some rickety-ass canoe and gets all excited.


Commentary: This music is getting on my nerves. I want to go back to the ambient only sounds, please. Also - seriously - you're going to trust going across the ocean in that? Well, I guess if the Polynesians managed it, two white guys surely can... (that would be sarcasm, these guys are toast... or considering the shark angle... Ahi).


Scene 27: Chris finds Mahia swimming offshore and dives in to meet her (why isn't she out pearl diving?). Their drippy romance begins in earnest (get it, cause they're wet from swimming... hahahaha... *clear throat* never mind).

Mahia explains that she was left off of the boat trips because of what happened the night before (ahhhh, I see!) and that Pua says she should stay away from Chris and Jim as the breaking of the lei was a very bad omen of misfortune to come. They end up in a clinch.


Scene 28: In the meantime, Pua is wandering the hillside again. She sights Chris being led around the island on a tour by Mahia. The sight of them arm-in-arm and sharing a kiss causes a look of *something*... perhaps disappointment, or sad acceptance..., I can't be sure.


Scene 29: Later, Mahia has gone off to somewhere... maybe getting back to work... and Jim intercepts Chris to show him the outrigger he found. As they're going over the boat, they're spotted and called to by Pua who is in a tizzy.


Commentary: The sound mixing in this scene is appalling. It's really difficult to hear any of the dialog clearly because of the surf in the background.


Pua has been wanting to have words with Chris over his relationship with Mahia. She warns him that she wants him to stay away from her, as he'll be leaving in a week. Pua is convinced that Chris has brought strife onto the island and that he's now spread his bad luck bugs onto Mahia, which is going to cause 'big trouble' for all of them.

After she's stomped away, Jim and Chris resolve to just leave with the outrigger.


Scene 30: Presumably the next morning, Chris comes out of the bungalow to a drum being rythymically beat. The island girls are surrounding a smoke pit and singing hymnally.

Pua then performs a prayer to the island gods. Whatever they were doing, it wasn't enough to satisfy the gods' anger toward them and Pua gravely tells them that they'll have a purification the next morning. The group breaks up, somberly.


Scene 31: Mahia wanders off alone, thinking, when Chris intercepts her and questions her about the gathering. She shares that the spirits of the dead under the Shark God's watch is calling to the islanders for penance, including Dead-Jim-Who-Was-Probably-Really-Lee since actual-Jim is running around calling himself Lee at the moment.

All of this spirit talk and Mahia's mood is scaring Chris a bit. He gets enough out of her to get the gist... they plan on traveling out to the taboo place where the sharks hang out and swim in the waters, offering themselves up as food to the sharks. Mahia has already resolved to do so, as she believes she is the cause of the curse on the island.


Commentary: The "bad misfortune" appears to be tied to the sudden and precipitous loss in pearls being successfully harvested, but they never really make that clear. They're always yammering about bad omens and back luck and being cursed by the angry gods, but to me it looks like everything is operating as business-as-usual. They could have at least thrown an accidental drowning in there, or a fall off of a steep hill that ends in death in order to ramp up the girls' superstitious fears prior to the smoke pit ritual. I'm afraid the girls' motivations for allowing themselves to be sacrificed to the maw of sharks isn't very well defined and certainly isn't shown in enough detail to make us buy it.


Scene 32: In another badly done scene change, we're apparently to the sacrifice the following morning: Girls are loaded up in the canoes and hauled out singing to sea.

JimLee and Chris see this and rush down to the beach.


Scene 33: We get a quick shot of the god totem in the taboo area. And then we follow the girls' headed in its direction to carry out their purification ritual of horrible fates.



Chris grabs a bodyboard from the beach and paddles out to stop what is happening.


Scene 34: In the meantime, Mahia and the other girls who can't be given names because they're extras, are festooned with flowers. Pua makes statements that someone can make when it isn't they who are about to throw themselves into rows of vicious teeth. We see Tangaroa, the shark god (which is actually just a reef shark, but who the hell am I to question his godhood/avatar status) and this fills Pua with relief that he heard the women's song. Mahia and two other girls are tossed over the side with their limbs bound to drown or be eaten alive.

In the meantime, Chris is racing to the scene aboard his bodyboard of convenience. Mahia struggles with her bonds, but the shark has picked her out as the meal and swims (rather lethargically) near her. But Chris had a spear with him (he did pick this up, I just thought it was an oar because of the crappy transfer quality) and he's able to throw the spear into the shark (I think... it's badly edited).

He dives overboard. He brings Mahia up to the surface to the board... meanwhile the other two sacrifices have completely disappeared, so it appears that things didn't go so well for them. Sorry Extras, that's the risk you take.

Pua is incensed at watching Mahia rescued.


Commentary: Y'know, I have to say too, that for somebody who was convinced that she really was bringing the curse of the gods down on her sisters, Mahia sure didn't struggle any with her rescuer. What a traitorous bitch. Also, next time Pua wants to sacrifice girls to her sea god while there are Anglos on the island, she may want to arm the boat crews to drive them away until the sharks are done.


Scene 35: Back onshore, Chris picks up and carries Mahia away, while the boat girls slowly pursue. Pua tries to stop Chris from taking Mahia away from Tangeroa, but naturally this doesn't really work... see, the girls should really have had some spears....

Chris sends Jim/Lee off to fetch fresh water when one of the island girls they ran into refused to help.


Scene 36: Queen Pua is really pissed, now. She makes a beeline to the flag of signaling and fusses around with it, which I'm sure is telling a story I can't translate. She continues to give shifty glances over her shoulder as if this is all sneaky... for no reason. If Chris and/or Jim were concerned about it, they could have cut the ropes for the system by now.


Scene 37: Back at the bungalow, Chris and Mahia share some moments. Chris asks Mahia to leave the island with him, she says she can't, but if she could, she would. He leaves her to get some sleep.


Scene 38: Outside the cabin, Jim is ready to grab the canoe and get the hell outta dodge. The two brothers go back to the boat to repair the mast.


Scene 39: In the meantime, Pua is again standing around. She spots our twosome going through the forest and follows. Our guys pull out a make-shift mast cobbled together by Jim when he was offscreen. They carry it to the boat, with Pua watching from the brightly lit clearing extremely nearby, but pretending she can actually be sneaky in this setting, which is funny.

Confirming what they're up to (which you'd think would make her happy to see them on their way sooner than planned), she rushes off...


Scene 40: ... straight to the bungalow. Pua drags Mahia out of the cottage, because the police are to arrive the following morning for the men and she knows there will be trouble.


Commentary: Oh, c'mon! How would she know there were going to be police... she cannot possibly have been told via distant flag that one of the marooned was suspected of being a wanted criminal. We've seen zero evidence that the old woman has an actual office that might have some sort of radio equipment or a teletype, and if she had, then she shouldn't have been wasting time with flag raising to communicate. SCRIPT FAIL

Also, you'd think that Pua would have shown up with a mob and beaten/restained/gagged Mahia and rushed her back to the beach in order to carry out the aborted sacrifice if she were so worried about the shark god superstition. She seems more interested in saving Mahia from outsider trouble, despite the fact that she tried to sacrifice her just a few hours ago. I'd also seriously question Chris' judgement in leaving her alone for any length of time, considering he's interfered in a ritual that demanded that his new girlfriend be thrown to the sea and not come back.



For some reason, Mahia has trouble wrestling herself away from one old woman. In the meantime, Jim and Chris are on the beach strolling.


Commentary: This seems like a really random cutaway, so in my mind they're inspecting the bay to choose where to try to make their run and studying the tidal currents.


Chris hears Mahia calling for help and he and Jim rush to the rescue. The gang go back to the bungalow, dragging the resistant Pua with them.


Scene 41: Inside, they bound and gag Pua. They decide that they have to leave nearly immediately since Mahia shared the police would be there the next morning. Chris mentions that they can't make the reef navigation in the dark. He asks Mahia about food stocks and she's worried he's going to leave her behind, but he says that isn't the plan.

Jim objects to dragging Mahia's weight along with them on their escape. He and Chris argue, with Chris pointing out that Pua thinks Mahia brought a curse down on them... her prospects with staying behind are dim, indeed.

Jim is pissed off that Chris is always "lousing things up" over some dame. He points out that they don't have any money and then wonders if maybe that is what his brother wants... implying heavily that his brother is thinking of Mahia as a money-making venture, presumably through being sold, or prostituted. This earns Jim a sock across the jaw.

Mahia gets between them, and they put their differences aside to focus on supplies.


Commentary: Uh. We have a deep, deep problem now: The whole film is starting to fall apart. So, during the argument, we find out that it is actually nighttime and that dawn is quickly approaching, which is when they need to leave in order to avoid The Company boat with the police.

Which means, their return from fixing the canoe and Pua's trying to abduct Mahia all were occurring in the dark... WHICH, NO. NO, IT CLEARLY WASN'T. Seriously, that was some of the worst day-for-night pretending I've ever seen. Not quite as bad as
"Women in Cages" in which the actual sun doubles as the moon..., but this is pretty close. But, the much larger problem than the crap-filmmaking, is that this impacts the plot. Y'See, if this is night, it makes EVEN LESS SENSE for old Pua to try to drag Mahia with her without backup. It's also ridiculous to think Mahia could yell for help and none of the women would be curious enough to find out what is wrong. Then, when old Pua is yelling her resistence, we still don't have any of the islander girl extras coming to find out what their Queen's problem is... at first I blew this off as the girls being out on the water doing their jobs, but very clearly this isn't the case.

That stupid attempt at trying to pass this off as nighttime unravelled the whole thing... WITH NO ACTUAL REASON THIS HAS TO BE NIGHTTIME. In fact, it would work BETTER if this was the middle of the day, conveniently keeping the extras out of the way.



Next up is a discussion about Pua. Chris warns that they can't leave her behind because she'll warn the others. Jim implies she'll have to be quieted (and since he's already killed two men, I think we can guess his plan), but Mahia begs them not to hurt her. Jim decides they'll have to drag her old ass with them and kidnap her.


Commentary: No. No, you don't. She was yelling the whole way to the bungalow and nobody noticed. Tie her to a rafter pole and take off.



Scene 42: At dawn? One of the women is collecting wood for the breakfast fire. Jim sneaks to Pua's office to steal a map
(and now I'm on the look out for a radio that would totally destroy the very premise of the movie... that the guys had to wait for the regularly scheduled Company ship, because there was no way to report their wreck to the authorities immediately --- this is avoided, so I still don't know how Pua knows that the brothers are wanted).

He starts rummaging and is apparently going to take a bunch of files with him, for no good reason. His going through a shelf is interrupted by woman-who-collects-wood. Upon seeing Jim in the office, the woman runs off shouting for help.


Commentary: Um, okay. That was played really weirdly. I'm assuming she'd run off to tattletale to Pua, but the way she's reacting, you'd think she's afraid for her life.


So, now Jim has made a hash of their quiet exit. He rushes off with Pua's files... for whatever reason... as the girl-gang run after him.


Scene 43: He makes it to the beach, where Mahia and Chris are launching the boat - Pua is tied sitting in it. But the girls are right on Jim's tail and go in after the boat.

Jim is able to get the swimming girls off the craft, while Pua fights him as well. But, the other girls got into their own craft and are in pursuit.


Scene 44: Sometime later, they've opened a healthy lead due to the fact they have a sail on their craft. They've reached the lagoon entrance and Mahia worries over the reef. She has Chris un-gag Pua, who accuses the boys of trying to steal the pearls.



Commentary: At first I thought this was script fail and I had several paragraphs as to why this was stupid. But, they saved it by explicitly stating that Pua is saying they tried to steal the pearls because that is what the women were shouting at Jim while pursuing him. Yay, story didn't just fall apart.


Chris consults the map from Pua's office and for some reason they can't proceed and must wait {I'm assuming this is due to the tide coming in and pushing them back toward the island, but it is scantly explained}. They decide they have to beach the boat on the reef until the tide goes out, over the objections of Pua and Mahia.


Scene 45: As soon as they beach, Pua tries to make a run for it, though I don't know where she thinks she's going. Jim catches up with her and drags her back.

Jim and Chris return to the boat to keep it from drifting away or breaking up on the rocks, while Mahia holds onto the re-tied Pua. Pua bitches that she saved her life as a child and how she is treating her now, conveniently skipping that portion of their history where she ordered her tied up and thrown into the ocean for shark bait.

Because Mahia is more decent than I, she doesn't cuff her in the back of the head.


Scene 46: At the boat, the boys tie it to the rocks... which, I don't know... doesn't seem to be useful in that expressed worry about it breaking up on the rocks. Anyway, apparently trying to escape at dawn wasn't a good idea, because now they have to wait all day out under the harsh sun for nightfall before they can make their escape, assuming that the Company and police don't find them first.


Scene 47: Hours later (Chris mentions they only have a few hours to go before nightfall), Jim leaves briefly to try to scout out where the police are... more out of boredom than anything. This leaves Chris and Mahia to talk about their circumstance.


Commentary: This is another rough slog as far as audio is concerned. The wind and breakers are really loud.


Mahia questions why Chris is so afraid of the police and wonders if she hooked her wagon to a bad man. He explains that "Lee" hit a man while smuggling guns and the man died. (Obviously Jim spun a story about what occurred.) Chris tells Mahia that he'll be in trouble too, because he tried to help "Lee" avoid the police.


Scene 48: Jim, meanwhile, manages to swim back across the lagoon to the island so he can risk getting captured. Jim's true goal isn't spying on the police however, but to get back into the office and find some of those pearls for traveling money.


Commentary: Uh. Where is The Company ship? Where are the company men, who would surely have taken over the office since they have three girls missing along with the operations manager woman? Where are the police, surely they'd set up a command center in the office? Where are the officers investigating the area and searching for the wanted man? Why are the women carrying on as normal, despite Pua being abducted? No one wanted to ask them any questions about the men and the missing women?


Once again, he gets interrupted by a tribeswoman. But this time, he manages to clock her one and go on searching. Jim manages to abscond with the stored pearls in a cloth bag and rushes back into the forest. He makes it back to the beach for the long swim out to the reef, just as the knocked out woman comes around and goes stumbling off for help.


Scene 49: Back on the reef, Mahia and Chris swelter under the sun in each others' arms, probably dehydrating to death since we see no actual supplies. Pua rubs the ropes tying her wrists against the reef rock, wearing her bonds through. Now free, she also slips into the water and starts swimming.


Scene 50: Back at the island, the women find the knocked-out woman lying outside of the office where she collapsed. Pua managed to swim all the way across the lagoon, too, and arrives on the beach. She makes it back, exhausted, to the office and informs the others where Chris and Mahia are holed up. She also tells them about their trying to steal the pearls.


Scene 51: Jim makes it back to the reef with his bag o' pearls. He finds Chris and Mahia dozing... and dehydrating to death... and also notes that Pua is missing. There is more arguing about Jim showing up with the pearls and his implication that he hurt one of the guards enough that she won't be telling anyone anything.


Commentary: And for some reason, like everybody forgot, Chris keeps calling his brother Lee - even though that was just an assumed name and we're far beyond that ruse now.


This breaks out into fisticuffs as Jim tries to take off with the boat and leave Chris and Mahia behind. This ends up carrying them into the water (where it is impossible to have a good wrestling match) while Mahia does the usual (y'know, stand around looking vaguely put out by the bother).

They make it back to the rocks, where Jim uses the pearls to knock Chris out and leaving him face down in the water. Fortunately, Mahia doesn't just stand there with a look of horror, but actually goes to help him (Chris is fortunate that this isn't the '50s).

While Chris recovers, Jim makes his getaway.


Scene 52: He sees the women now headed toward the reef (those company men? police? hello?) and panicking now gets clumsy as a shark notes a small boat alone, and being evil because sharks are y'know (*sigh*, poor sharks), stock-footage rushes in his direction. Jim falls into the water, with Chris yelling out, "Lee!" (Wow, even as his brother is about to be attacked by a shark, Chris is totally going to stick to that cover identity.)

Alas, in the water, JimLee has gotten wrapped up in the rigging for the sail and is having a problem with not drowning. Mahia calls out in alarm as she watches the shark head in toward him. Chris goes into the water on a mad dash swim for his distressed brother. Being a woman and therefore slower, Mahia also joins the two in the water but several strides behind Chris... but she has a knife, so good on her.

Chris reaches JimLee and struggles to unravel him as the shark continues its leisurely advance. Mahia faces off against the shark and manages to grievously wound it with her blade, but of course she's... exhausted? Wounded? I have no idea.

Point is, Chris loses sight of Jim, who is still entangled. Another shark also begins closing, called by the blood of the previous. Chris dives and sees Jim get attacked by the shark (in a pretty decent special effect, actually) and thinks "Oh, well, too late", resurfacing. He rejoins Mahia in the boat and raises the sail.




Scene 53: Approaching with the tribe party, Pua calls out pleadingly to Mahia. She's made her choice though, and tells Chris to set sail out of the lagoon. Pua watches heart broken as Mahia and Chris sail away.... Oh, and that bag of pearls? They ended up falling into the sea and floating away... or back to shore....



The Good: Definitely the location shooting, which is gorgeous (what you can see of it through Mill Creek's transfer).

Both Bill Cord and Don Durant provide plenty to look at throughout, for which some of us are greatful. They both handle their parts relatively well, with Bill being the stronger of the two. Bill has a natural charm to him and I enjoyed his scenes opposite Lisa.

Lisa Montell and Jeanne Gerson also handle their roles well, and considering how limited their characters are, probably better than they needed to.


The Bad: It doesn't affect the scoring for the movie itself, but this transfer is really rough... again with the crap-dupes onto DVD from Mill. It is especially appalling at the very beginning, but it does improve as the movie goes on... or I just got used to it enough for it to stop hurting my eyes.

There are some editing problems with scenes just... skipping... into the next without a proper break.

The soundtrack starts to get wearying and unrelenting. We could definitely have used some ambient-only peacefulness. There are also a few cases where the sound mixing was a real problem as the waves crashing in the background of dialog scenes threatened to drown out the actors.

The absolutely awful attempts to pass day-for-night. It's... it's just... insulting.

The set up scenes for the movie are pretty badly blocked and acted... things dramatically improve as far as that goes after the brothers reach the island.

There is a real mix up going on with dark-haired brother's name; IMDB has "Jim", while everyone keeps calling him "Lee", but the scene where their names are given to Pua definitely gives the impression that "Lee" isn't the real name of dark-hair, because they're trying to protect his identity since he's on the run. But they keep referring to him as Lee, even in circumstances where they should be referring to him as his "real" name.

I have to admit, as painless as the film was to watch, that there are some serious script fails as well documented in the comments for those scenes.


Other Thoughts: This is an interesting case. By the end of the movie, I couldn't quite tell how I felt about it... is it average and unremarkable, or has it dipped into bad territory? This is the first time I've done this with a review, but I actually waited a few days and then rewatched the film without the critique... just watched it straight through in order to judge how I felt the second time. I think the IMDB scoring is much too rough on this one.

There are some pacing issues, but I didn't find them severe since each scene passes relatively quickly before you can get really-bored, but this may be helped by the scenery - both location and male skin. Also, the story is simplistic and basic, but again, I don't find it badly told and painful to sit through so I'm at a loss as to why this movie is apparently held in so low a regard by the IMDB-crowd.


The Score: So, I didn't dislike watching this movie which was a pleasant surprise. Is it good, though? No. Unfortunately, it just has too many scripting and logic problems for that (see scene comments) and the technical presentation of the film is also a drag against it. I still believe it is far too harshly graded on IMDB, though:


2.75 out of 5




-end-
Tags: review she gods of shark reef
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

  • 2 comments