Deep Blue Sea

Deep Blue Sea
Deep Blue Sea

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Renny Harlin
Produced by Akiva Goldsman
Robert Kosberg
Tony Ludwig
Alan Riche
Rebecca Spikings[1]
Written by Duncan Kennedy
Donna Powers
Wayne Powers
Starring Saffron Burrows
Thomas Jane
LL Cool J
Jacqueline McKenzie
Michael Rapaport
Stellan Skarsgård
Samuel L. Jackson
Music by Trevor Rabin
Cinematography Stephen Windon
Editing by Derek Brechin
Dallas Puett
Frank J. Urioste
Studio Village Roadshow Pictures
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) July 28, 1999
Running time 105 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60,000,000
Box office $165,048,228 [2]

Deep Blue Sea is a 1999 science fiction horror film that stars Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, LL Cool J, and Samuel L Jackson. The film was directed by Renny Harlin and was released in the United States on July 28, 1999.



On Aquatica, a remote former submarine refueling facility, a team of scientists are searching for a cure for Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Susan McAlester (Saffron Burrows), violates a code of ethics (the fictitious "Harvard Genetics Compact"), and genetically engineers three Mako sharks to increase their brain capacity so their brain tissue can be harvested as a cure for Alzheimer's. The increased brain capacity makes the sharks smarter, faster, and more dangerous. Aquatica's financial backers become skeptical about the tests and send a corporate executive (Samuel L. Jackson) to visit the facility.

To prove that the research is working, the team manage to remove brain tissue from the largest shark. The shark attacks a scientist, and as he is put into a helicopter to be flown to land, the helicopter crashes. A shark breaks the glass of the underwater laboratory, flooding it and letting the sharks inside the facility. The group has to escape the sinking research center and avoid being killed; the sharks are targeting the scientists as prey.

The team is slowly killed off by the sharks as they climb to the top of the facility. The cook, Preacher (LL Cool J), the shark wrangler, Carter Blake (Thomas Jane), and Dr. McAlester are the only ones to ascend to the top of the building. They discover that the sharks want to escape into the open sea.

Dr. McAlester, in a effort to distract the last of the three sharks,cuts herself and dives into the water, while she attempts to get back to land the ladder crumbles and breaks, she is then killed by the shark . Her death lures the shark into a position where Preacher and Blake can kill it. Preacher and Blake wait on top of the flooded facility as they see boats containing other researchers arriving.



Renny Harlin describes the production on the film's commentary.[3] The film was shot entirely in Mexico. The sets used for the interiors of the facility were built so that they could be submerged in a water-tank to create the illusion of the facility sinking practically. However, for windows separate water-tanks with lights shining through them were used.

The film made an extensive use of digital doubles for actors being eaten by sharks. Depending on the scenes, the sharks were either animatronic (when interacting with actors) or computer generated (when in water). As an added homage to Jaws, the license plate pulled from the shark's teeth by Carter at the beginning of the film, is the same plate found in the tiger shark carcass from the 1975 Steven Spielberg film.

Samuel Jackson was initially offered the role eventually played by LL Cool J. Jackson's management didn't like the idea of him playing the role of the chef and so Harlin created the role of Russell Franklin for him.


The film received positive reviews from critics. While overall, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 57% rating with 51 out of 89 reviews counted fresh, "Top Critics" tabulated by the site gave the film a 67% "fresh" rating. The site's summary is "Aside from a few thrills, Deep Blue Sea is unoriginal and unintelligent." Empire magazine gave the film three out of five stars, saying "It was never going to crash any parties come Oscar night, or usurp previous nature-fights-back epics (Jurassic et al), but Deep Blue Sea remains defiant. It's about giant sharks eating people. And that's exactly what you get."[4] Top Critic Roger Ebert went further, saying of the film "In a genre where a lot of movies are retreads of the predictable, 'Deep Blue Sea' keeps you guessing."[5]

The film opened on July 28th, 1999 and grossed $19,107,643 ($25,164,533 including Thursday screenings/previews) in its opening weekend and went on to earn $73,648,142 domestically and $164,648,142 worldwide.[6] Adjusted for inflation, the film's worldwide total would equal $258,168,286 in 2011.[7] The film is listed as #12 on Box Office Mojo's list of highest grossing "Creature Features" (1982 -) behind such films as the "Jurassic Park" franchise, though outgrossing such films as "Predator" and "Alien: Resurrection." The film was released on DVD December 7, 1999 and was ranked #1 release for the week ending December 12th, 1999 and remained in the DVD rental top 10 for eight weeks.[8]


A soundtrack was released on June 27, 1999 by Warner Bros. Records featuring rap and R&B music. The soundtrack made it to #55 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Composer Trevor Rabin scored the original music for the film. The released soundtrack contains 10 tracks.[9]

In popular culture

  • Samuel L. Jackson's surprising death scene in the film appears on several lists of best movie deaths of all time - including Den of Geek's "10 surprise deaths in blockbuster movies" [10], the list "Greatest Movie Deaths of All Time" [11] and The Vine's "Top ten surprise movie deaths".[12]
  • Deep Blue Sea appeared on Mythbusters in the episode "Phone Book Friction"[13] when they tested the many elements of the shark's death at the end of the film, with most being proven untrue.
  • In the popular comedy series Chappelle's Show (Episode 2-1)[14] Dave Chappelle plays Samuel L. Jackson in a beer commercial for "Samuel Jackson beer." Chappelle, as Jackson, yells at a restaurant customer drinking his beer: "You ain't ever seen my movies?... Deep Blue Sea? They ate me, a (expletive) shark ate me!" in reference to Jackson's death scene in the film.
  • The Sealab 2021 episode "Tinfins"[15] centers around the crew of Sealab making a movie which is an obvious spoof of Deep Blue Sea.
  • Several film reviews, including Rolling Stone, have noted distinct plot similarities between Deep Blue Sea and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011). Both stories center on researchers using genetic therapies on animals' brains in an attempt to cure Alzheimer's disease; therapies that inadvertently make the animals intelligent, enabling them to escape and cause murderous mayhem. Reviewer Peter Travers noted that the newer film has "twists lifted from 1972's Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and 1999's Deep Blue Sea."[16]

See also

  • List of killer shark films


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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