Sinking Ship

One of Deep Blue Sea 3’s earliest scenes features star Tania Raymonde diving as she records a video blog, preaching about climate change. Rising waters, changing animal behaviors, and other soon-to-come catastrophes become this killer shark movie’s thesis. By the end, two main characters find themselves trapped in a building, sinking, as rising waters threaten to drown them. This is not a subtle message film.

There’s more too – big pharma plays a key role, as it did back in the first film, the researchers seeking to cure Alzheimers and none-too-smartly using bull sharks as their basis. Those sharks want to eat people, because that’s why Deep Blue Sea 3 and its predecessors exist. Oddly, after spending some 90-minutes about how terrible the world and humanity are, the final lines from Raymonde have her wanting to return to civilization – the same civilization plagued by global warming and rouge pharmaceutical executives. Lots to look forward to then.

… no one is setting out to save the ocean after watching Deep Blue Sea 3

Credit where it’s due: Deep Blue Sea 3, even with its long-winded speeches and overly aggressive theme, is an infinitely better sequel than the dire Deep Blue Sea 2. Importantly, Deep Blue Sea 3 is only modestly budgeted, financially distanced from its theatrically-released progenitor. Digital effects lack the finishing sheen (but most do hold up to scrutiny), the setting is purposefully cramped (if creatively set on the South African coast), and there’s no major players in the cast (although the pulled-from-TV regulars do well).

Deep Blue Sea 3 does have a small spark. Some surprising, unexpected kills break expectations, and the shark’s climactic demise rates as a classic fit for a Jaws sequel in gruesomeness. And, while not wholly embracing the exploitation roots, Deep Blue Sea 3 does go in for modest sex appeal, men and women alike.

That said, no one is setting out to save the ocean after watching Deep Blue Sea 3 (after all, the ocean has sharks). It’s one thing to invoke pertinent issues, even in a movie like this, but Deep Blue Sea 3 soaks in them. Delivery is wonky, obvious, and forced, biding time until it’s acceptable to start offing these thinly composed characters, the worst being a comic relief tech geek (Alex Bhat) whose cliché, grating lines means he’s certain fish food. The human drama isn’t enough, and links to the series barely expanding lore. Then again, that lore is little else aside from a one-off idea: “build a better shark.”

Somehow, that led to three movies now.

Deep Blue Sea 3 Blu-ray screen shot

Video

Warner sends Deep Blue Sea 3 out to Blu-ray on a BD-25, and the minimal file size leads to issues. Noise runs throughout, a bit thick, and the encode falters. Compression becomes a significant concern, diluting detail. It’s especially prevalent on walls inside the “command center,” for lack of a better term; the yellow-ish walls draw all manner of blocking issues.

In close, the digital cinematography’s abilities show up. Facial definition consistently performs to modern HD standards, bringing enough sharpness and clarity to give things a pleasing veneer. Underwater cinematography deserves credit too, avoiding usual pitfalls like banding.

The main exterior set offers rich color and a slight warmth from grading. Various water gear comes coated in bright, neon shades, popping when against the earth-tone buildings. Sunlight drives home the heat via contrast, rarely letting up unless in the ocean. Black levels though never hit their mark, likely reduced at the source, if sapping the visual energy.

Audio

In DTS-HD, the budget limitations make themselves audible. The design is restrictive, favoring stereos/fronts, missing opportunities to spread ambient water effects into each channel. Discrete moments jump out only during major action scenes, the most notable being some grenade destruction, sending debris into all speakers.

Solid LFE support adds thumps to sharks slamming into windows, explosions, and an underwater mine going off. Things go deep enough to produce a satisfying rumble.

Extras

Two five-minute features, one an EPK, the other a slightly better making-of, sit in the extras menu. Meh.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Deep Blue Sea 3
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

Movie

Preachy and bland, Deep Blue Sea 3 is at least competent (even occasionally unexpected) which is impressive against the current DTV shark movie slate.

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