Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sharky Sneak Peak: USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (2016)

Just for a taste of what will hopefully be coming up in the relative near future (and what was supposed to be here already) on The Shark Film Office... This is the full length trailer for USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage:



USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage is directed by Mario Van Peebles, and stars Nicolas Cage and Tom Sizemore. Yes, it is the same true story that Captain Quint spins his monologue around in one of the most memorable of many famous scenes in Jaws: the tragic fate of the U.S.S. Indianapolis during World War II. Shortly after delivering parts of the atomic bomb that would eventually level Hiroshima, the ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sent to the bottom of the Pacific along with 300 of its crewmen.

Around 900 more U.S. men were left stranded for five days in the open ocean, and among the varied reasons that another 600 or so men died before a little over 300 were ultimately rescued, the one that plays best in a widescreen movie theatre are the massive amount of shark attacks that occurred.

Let's face it, as tragic as this tale is, and though there is a need for it to be told to future generations, if there weren't sharks in this story, we probably wouldn't hear about it as frequently as we do. Not just in Jaws (which had some historical inaccuracies), but there was a made-for-television movie in 1991 called Mission of the Shark, starring Stacy Keach and Richard Thomas, as well as a couple of Shark Week specials over the years devoted to the topic. The tragedy has been name-checked and briefly told in numerous other shark specials as well.

Watching the rather lengthy trailer above, which seems like one of those that is devoted to leaving no single plot point unturned (something that I despise in trailers), my primary concern is in the portrayal of the sharks. Some might check out to see if Nic Cage can remain somewhat in check and actually tap into his most often dormant acting skills for the length of a full motion picture; me, I'm in it for the sharks only.

Sadly, it seems that the filmmakers have decided to concentrate mainly on great whites. This is just from the closeups and action shown in the trailer. It is generally considered by most experts that the majority of deaths by shark that occurred during and after the sinking of the USS Indianapolis were perpetrated by oceanic whitetips. I am not saying that there weren't great whites on the scene and that some made meals of our men; there were probably a great many shark species involved, including blues, bulls, and tigers, alongside the whites. But from most eyewitness accounts, and from the gathered knowledge of sharks in those waters, whitetips – who themselves are counted amongst the most tenacious of species and are most frequently seen at the sites of shipwrecks and maritime disasters – were likely the prime suspect in the majority of deaths by shark attack.

It will be interesting to see if whitetips are portrayed in the film at all. From the breaching scene alone, it is clear the filmmakers are going for Jaws-style fake-shark scares in their great white scenes, so how will they handle any other species in the film? Will there be other species seen clearly in the film? And will any of the attack scenes be better than the one in the trailer that basically looks like they spent a day on the Universal lot at Amity Island?

Or will the chewing in the film be left primarily to Nicolas Cage as he tears into the scenery, as he has garnered quite the reputation for doing so in much of his recent work? 

The film's official release date was September 1, and that has come and gone, and now almost three weeks past that date, there are still there are no U.S. showtimes on IMDb. The film has already had its world premiere in late August in the Philippines (where it was shot for the most part), but nothing since. 

Will this $40 million budgeted flick shoot straight to video, or will we get another shark flick on the big screen this year? Only time will tell...

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