• Sharks in Venice

    by  • April 11, 2010 • Cinema, Class Prep, Critique • 0 Comments

    Sharks in Venice

    Terry and I are taking our class preparation very seriously. Since one of our goals is to discuss depictions of Venice across all media, I, as the film theory half of the partnership, have been dutifully checking out various Venice-related movies with an eye toward using them to enhance our lectures.

    As a result, while Terry was getting her abstract accepted for “The Renaissance of the Pilgrimage,” I rented Sharks in Venice (Lerner, 2008) and forced us both to watch it this weekend. Hmm. That may reflect poorly on how much I’m contributing to the course….

    WARNING: SPOILERS!  What can one say to adequately describe this cinematic, er, feat? It stars Stephen Baldwin, Vanessa Johansson, Hilda van der Meulen, Giacomo Gonnella, and a great deal of stock footage of shark attacks. We think the director did, indeed, go to Venice to shoot footage, although we’re not entirely convinced that any of the actors ever set foot in Venice. We’re also not entirely convinced that anybody involved with the film is familiar with the term “continuity editor.” Pity, although it meant we did excitedly stop and back up the DVD several times during the movie to ensure that we did, indeed, see what we thought we saw. Like that leg Stephen Baldwin lost underwater that miraculously reappeared a scene later, without even the slightest mention of prostheses or months of physical therapy. Or the gondolier who wisely vanishes off the back of the gondola before the shark attack.

    And I really need to buy my nephew the wetsuit capable of hiding a machine gun without any unsightly bulges and the mouthpiece that will allow him to talk underwater in voiceover.

    My esteemed colleague insists that if we feed students enough pizza they’ll sit through an after-class screening of all 88 minutes of the film.  I’m not so certain. Maybe if we order enough grease-laden meat on the pizza, sheer digestive overload may keep them in their seats, in which case I hope they’ll take the time to work through the mangled logic of the villain’s master plan and then explain it to me.

    Nevertheless, I think this movie has to become part of our lecture series. Maybe under “Venice as Symbol: Decadent and Dying.”

    Now, where to put that gondola chase scene in Moonraker….

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