No matter what I say below, know this: I will see Shark Night 3D. There are no press screenings, no DVDs mailed to my home. I will head out to a theater to watch it because I love sharks and I love watching people get eaten by them. So to be extra clear: I haven’t seen the film yet. No one has. But still, I’m going to bitch about it, because that’s how I roll.
Why? Well, because it’s easy to get mad at this film. It’s rated PG-13. I mean, if there ever was a title for a hard R-rating, it’s Shark Night 3D. After all, Piranha 3D, which was probably instrumental in green lighting this late entry to Shark Week, was well received because of its gore. Its nudity. Its generally over the top nature.
Without Jerry O’Connell getting his dick bit off and two hot, naked women swimming for six minutes, that film is a pile of crap. The blood makes it – and the PG-13 rating for Shark Night might break it.
Jaws aside, most of the time shark movies are pretty bad. Looking at the trailer, we can tell that Shark Night 3D is no Oscar winner. With dialog like “Why are these sharks here?” and the response “Maybe someone put them there,” guarantees that this film won’t shape the way we see the world. What we’re getting, and what we’re wanting, is basically a shark-Jason Voorhees eating naked people, and possibly smoking and flipping people the fin while doing it. Probably have some extra-marital shark sex too.
But no, we won’t get any of that, because it’s PG-13. We won’t get the penis chomping, boob baring, blood bath we want. That would take an R. This is a very bad idea. After all – what’s the difference between a shitty Asylum SyFy movie and most passable genre movies in theaters? Titties and severed limbs.
I’m not the first to bring this up – it’s super obvious. How do you make a schlocky Roger Corman-type film but leave out the Roger Corman essentials: sex and blood? That’s what we all want to see out of a horror movie.
This is a good example of Hollywood just not getting it. This is producers looking at studio math which never really adds up. If a movie about killer 3D piranhas does well, it makes sense that a movie about killer 3D sharks will, too. And if a PG-13 movie makes more money than an R-Rated movie, then surely that must mean we’ll get more money! Combine the two and we get a PG-13 killer shark movie. What’s neglected is that the only reason why a 3D piranha movie did any business is that it openly embraced the absurdity of it. Lose that, and you lose your audience no matter what the age range you’re aiming for.
It reminds me of Live Free or Die Hard, where producers thought taking the chain smoking, potty mouthed death machine that is John McClane and getting rid of the cigarettes, the dirty words, and the brutal, bloody kills wouldn’t be an idiotic move. Or when McG removed the balls from the T-800 when his Terminator Salvation cut out nudity and a brutal screwdriver kill to get a PG-13 (the first in the series to go slumming with teenagers).
King Arthur, Alien vs Predator, Accepted, and Ghost Rider are all properties that beg for an R-Rating, come from a pedigree of R-Ratings (Braveheart, Aliens, Animal House, Predator, Blade) and lost the edge that defined them due to the rating.
Listen, the rating only matters when it handicaps the story. There are tons of PG and PG-13 movies that are great, because the story doesn’t call for that kind of violence or nudity. We don’t need an R-Rated Scooby Doo or Goonies. A movie should be told as it needs to be told – if it needs brutal kills or boobs, then it should have them.
Shark Night 3D is clearly the type of movie designed to highlight ridiculous amounts of blood and bare skin, so the PG-13 rating is driving me past my boiling point.
Hopefully I’ll eat as many of my words as these sharks do teenagers, but is it even possible to have high hopes? We’ll see.