The seaweed isn’t already greener for this Alien” meets “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” borefest.
Let’s begin this scathing review of “Underwater,” an “Alien” meets “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” cash grab, with some typical cliches and racial stereotypes.
The stereotype is how the only African-American character Rodrigo (Mamoudou Athie) has to be the first person to get brutally killed. I remember a comment Gene Siskel said when he and Roger Ebert reviewed “Daylight:” “The black guys always die in service to the others.” So, that was hurtful. At least, they have an East-Asian-British character named Emily (Jessica Henwick) surviving at the end.
And here are a few cliches.
- The comic relief character Paul (TJ Miller) always has to die, because the comedy stars have to go and let the serious actors live.
- The film is so dark, that I couldn’t see anything. My guesses are either the bottom of the ocean is supposed to be dark or our ocean is so polluted, it has to look dirty. I think the answer is both.
- The female led (Kristen Stewart) always has to be the Sigourney Weaver hero, especially if she has a short hair cut.
- There’s no story at all.
“Underwater,” directed by William Eubanks (“The Signal,” “Love”), involves an oil rig that drills so deep in the bottom of the ocean, that creatures from another dimension pour out, and raise some Hell on the people below the depths. At least, I’m going to have to assume that since I remember a “South Park” episode that spoofed the works of H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King’s “The Mist.”
That drilling also destroys most of the oil rig, and the remaining survivors must go Parkour themselves to what they believe is the safest facility in the ocean. By “Parkour,” I mean they have to go from one facility to the next, and each one dies by these creatures.
Now, before and during this hullabaloo, I was fascinated by the production design of the rigs and the flooding sequences. When the scientists have to wear their underwater gear and elevate themselves to the ground, and when the rig explodes, they actually looked cool. But that’s all I cared about.
There is no script for any of these characters; it’s just one formula after another. In fact, I could barely get anything out of them. The leader (Vincent Cassel) has a daughter, Paul has a little stuffed bunny, and Emily has a corgi. That’s all I got out of them. I got nothing out of Stewart’s character Norah, because all she does is stand around, walk around, and talks. She barely does anything.
Back to the darkness, I barely saw anything in the ocean, because it was supposed to be deep and polluted. I’m going to have to assume the filmmakers hated their monster visuals so much that they had to darkened them so the audience wouldn’t be able to see. But if we did see them clearly, it wouldn’t make any difference. The only monster we did see clearly is a baby the scientists examine in one of their facilities. I honestly thought it was some kind of face hugger, and I loathe those.
“Underwater” was one of the emptiest experiences of my life, and I nearly feel asleep through parts of the film. I can’t tell if it was the NyQuil I took to cure my cold or the film’s utter dullness. Maybe it was both, who knows? All I know is it’s a complete dead zone.