Friday, May 16, 2014

Top 10 Movies With Water-Based Settings

I've promised to myself I'm gonna do this list right after I watch Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot, which I have recently done! So, here's the list (hopefully) everyone was waiting for, including myself. Time to get down to OCEANic business and count down the top 10 movies based over or under the water. There's more, but these 10 are best of the best in my humble opinion.

10. Daylight
Kick-ass action/disaster flick starring Sylvester Stallone, from the director of XXX and The Fast And The Furious. It may be extremely inaccurate in realism, but by God, did it keep me on the edge of my seat... quite literally.
I've also reviewed it here.

9. Jaws
The legendary horror classic from Steven Spielberg. If you haven't seen this masterpiece yet, you're gonna need a bigger education in cinema! The panic and outrage this killer shark story (based on a crappy Peter Benchley novel, which was based on actual events) caused to the tourism in USA was hilariously ridiculous. All-around a masterpiece of intensity.

8. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Very underrated Disney movie, which I had the pleasure to see in theater. It's not flawless, but I totally appreciate the attempt of the studio to switch to full-blown action/adventure, Indiana Jones style almost, even if essentially it was a remake of Stargate. But still, I loved the animation style and designs, the steampunk'ish machinery and near-seamless blend of 2D and CG techniques. Get it on DVD/BluRay and watch it on the biggest screen available - you will be blown away.

7. K-19
Another underrated movie I've watched in theater, a mix of war drama and disaster movie starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson. It's based on actual events of a secret Soviet submarine nearly causing the escalation of Cold War to WWIII, and the sub's crew heroically preventing the catastrophe. It's universally hated for historical inaccuracy, but other than that, a very solid picture.

6. Crimson Tide
(copied from my blog) Very interesting psychological (sort of) techno-thriller from Tony Scott. Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington are great here, and the whole moral dilemma the plot's built around results in the consistent feeling of suspense that makes you sit on the edge. Superb study on the risks and ideology of management as a profession. I had it on DVD for a few years but never watched... and hey, then it finally happened!

5. Hunt For The Red October
Adapted from a Tom Clancy novel, this intense action-packed political thriller is constantly mentioned in all sorts of 'Best action movies ever' lists, and for a good reason. When a Soviet submarine, let alone a super secret prototype one, is suddenly reported to be heading towards the US shores, it's up to the CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) to use the remaining mere hours and decide whether the Red October's captain (Sean Connery) is planning an attack, or his plan is not that straightforward?

4. Leviathan
Yeah yeah, I know it's a ripoff of Alien and The Thing, but hey, if you do that, at least rip off something good, and do it well! And this horror cult classic sure does - aside from the interesting monster and impressive visual designs, it also has the balls to feature a fantastic cast that includes RoboCop, Colonel Trautman, Winston Zeddemore, Marvin from Home Alone, Hera from Xena: Warrior Princess and Hector F%ckin' Elizondo among others! I was so impressed by this flick that I've pretty much borrowed the characters of Natasha and Svetlana from here. Sue me, but first, make sure to watch Leviathan - probably it'll convince you I did a good thing by paying tribute to it such way!

3. Below
Very obscure and underrated horror flick, directed by David Twohy and written by Darren Aronofsky. Oh, and it's also a variation of Event Horizon on a sub. I can't imagine why such a kick-ass combo wasn't at least a cult hit!..

2. Das Boot
Ja ja, now that I've finally seen it, I can't put this classic any lower. It's the first big movie by one of my favorite directors (Wolfgang Petersen), and what a magnificent debut this is! Starring Jurgen Prochnow, this 3,5 hrs long epic (I watched the Director's Cut) begins like a plotless, almost meditative and gritty war drama, but by the midpoint it suddenly switches genres and becomes an extremely tense disaster movie. WatchMojo.com called this the definitive, best submarine movie of all time, and I cannot disagree. Fear, paranoia, filth, panic - everything is captured perfectly onscreen, making it feel like a found footage movie at times. Thank God it was and still remains very popular and respected movie, because it totally deserves that.

1. The Abyss
Well, but of course - how cannot this be number one?! Words cannot describe how beautiful this movie is, as well as whether James Cameron had sold his soul to Cthulhu/Kraken/Leviathan in order to create what I consider a perfect underwater film, the Streets Of Fire of undersea adventures, a masterpiece of true art that simply has everything, and everything right. Action fans, melodrama admirers, sci-fi nerds - everybody would find something interesting for themselves here. Oh, and by 'beautiful' I don't even mean purely the effects and production value, which are perfect; it also has beautiful characters with beautiful motivations, beautiful love story that unfolds amidst all the high-pressure action going on, it even gives Michael Biehn a ridiculous mustache that somehow actually makes him look like a badass motherf%cker. I have the feeling that if I'll rewatch it once again (and I will), it might move Blade Runner from the #1 spot of my all-time favorite movies list. And that... hopefully says something.

Runners-up:

* Titanic
* Deep Rising
* Waterworld
* 007: The Spy Who Loved Me