Shark Night 3-D: An American Classic For All Ages

Andrew Gombas, Staff Writer

We’ve all been asking ourselves, whatever happened to the visionary director of Homeward Bound II: Lost In San Francisco and Snakes on a Plane? Well, ladies and gentlemen, it is my profound pleasure to inform you that David Ellis is back with his magnum opus, Shark Night 3-D (originally titled Untitled 3-D Shark Thriller). You will be pleased to know that no fewer than seven different species of shark find their way onto the big screen in this film to devour preppy college students in a variety of interesting ways. All of this, I might add, in the third dimension.

The story follows pre-med student Nick, who is invited by his tutoring charge, football hero Malik, to spend an idyllic shark-free weekend partying with Malik’s super-tan friends at the lake house of Nick’s college-long crush. The sharks, however, have other ideas. The real trouble starts when Malik tragically (and inexplicably) loses an arm while doing quadruple flips on a wakeboard. Nick, being an undergrad biology major, quickly stabilizes Malik and takes charge of the group of hormonally rampant misfits. There is, they quickly surmise, something possibly dangerous in the water. Just to be sure, several of them decide to investigate more closely. Hijinks ensue.

The gore is surprisingly sparse, and the film boasts a PG-13 rating, which means that you can bring your little sister without wondering if Sara will have a wardrobe malfunction before the mako shark eats her face. The plot holes in the movie are brilliantly huge, the largest of which involves two stereotypical rednecks who somehow manage to afford shipping one of every breed of tropical shark in the world (with hi-def cameras attached to their underbellies) into a lake in the middle of nowhere in order to tape the teens getting eaten to sell to Shark Week so they can become rich. David Ellis: 1. Logic: 0.

Despite its few shortcomings, the film manages not only to deliver thrills, but also to educate the audience. Did you know that a spear could explode a shark? I sure didn’t. And the sheer variety of sharks present is guaranteed to start a conversation at the dinner table. Sure, the classic great white shark is present. But have you ever heard of a cookie-cutter shark? You can have a great talk with little Jimmy after the movie about how the tiny sharks are so vicious that they swallow their own teeth as they take tiny chunks out of their prey. Wowie!

So grab the kids and swim on down! Say what you will about Mr. Ellis, but it’s hard not to have fun watching a group of wacky teens attempt to fight sharks by swimming up and hitting them with a cornucopia of blunt objects. It might not be for everyone, but I challenge you not to shed a tear when the grief-crazed Malik attempts to avenge his girlfriend’s death by wading into shark-infested waters with a harpoon to kill the shark that killed his true love. “How are you gonna find it?” shouts Nick from the shore. “I’m not!” shouts Malik. “It’s gonna find me.”