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Read This: The glorious unreality of shark-attack cinema

Photo: 47 Meters Down
Photo: 47 Meters Down

Shark movies aren’t modeled on actual sharks so much as they are the creature known as Jaws. That particular brand of Great White, lest we forget, developed the ability to track a human foe from Massachusetts to the Bahamas, not to mention roar. These are not things sharks do, and this kind of depiction has had a decidedly negative impact on their reputation. Jaws author Peter Benchley felt so bad for his part in demonizing sharks that he dedicated the latter part of his life to shark conservationism.

This past weekend, a new shark movie swan into theaters. 47 Meters Down was no masterpiece, but it’s been lauded by critics (including our own) for not indulging too much into the sensationalistic qualities of most shark movies. Like last year’s The Shallows, however, its third act “takes an abrupt swerve in a less plausible, more heightened direction,” according to our review. Alas.

Jezebel’s Rich Juzwiak has long struggled with filmic depictions of sharks and, inspired by 47 Meters Down, decided to dig deep into everything shark movies get scientifically wrong in an entertaining new piece.

Unsurprisingly (at least for fans of shark movies), Jaws The Revenge suffers most of Juzwiak’s wrath. He sums it up thusly:

Jaws the Revenge features several astonishing violations of basic science: The great white travels from Massachusetts to the Bahamas in three days (physically impossible) to enact revenge on the Brody family (psychologically impossible) and at the movie’s climax, it stands on its tail (gravitationally impossible) on water (spiritually impossible) so that Ellen Brody can spear it with a boat, which causes it to explode.

Not only does he accompany his analysis with hilarious clips, he also concludes the piece by culling a series of photos and GIFs that serve as “a salute to the sharks that have completely misrepresented sharks’ appearances and exposed the limitations of rubber and fiberglass.” They’re all gold, but it’s hard to imagine any movie topping the uncanny manipulation of stock footage favored by cult favorite Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, which has given us glorious sequences like these:

Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon

Maybe their unreality is all for the better?

[Note: Jezebel, like The A.V. Club, is owned by Univision Communications.]

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