Deep Rising, is a 1998 Sci-Fi film set in the middle of the South China Sea. The best way to describe this film would be Titanic meets Indiana Jones meets Jaws, but replace the shark with a different man-eating creature. The film started with text titles on a solid black background, giving the viewer a brief backstory on the South China Sea. The text stated that no man or machine has gone down there; and if any vessel that has attempted to go down there, has never returned. The camera then travels underwater, going through different parts of the ocean as if inside a submarine. The title of the film then shows in blue ocean-like font: Deep Rising.
The first scene is showing us all the main characters. Our first introduced character is Leila, who is outside a submarine adjusting some ropes, shouting for help to tie something down. Next is Joey Pantucci, followed by John Finnegan. This group was hired to guide a boat to a destination unknown to them. The storyline of the movie goes as follows: John Finnegan is a captain who will steer anybody literally anywhere on Earth if the price is high enough. He has a reputation for never asking questions and getting from point A to point B. He has a two-person squad: Leila, and mechanic Joey Pantucci. That “no-questions-asked” policy will be back to haunt Finnegan and his team. Unknowing to the squad, the crew they are taking from point A to point B happen to be a group of hijackers who plan to rob that cruise ship.
Meanwhile, on the cruise ship, we see the first round of a robbery attempt with Trillian St. James; a wanted criminal in four countries has the same intentions as the hijackers and wants to raid the ship’s vault. St. James gets close though, after pickpocketing the Captain’s wallet from his suit jacket, she uses his security badge she gets in the vault. After she is caught, she is thrown into the kitchen storage unit where she finds wine and Hors d’œuvres. The fun isn’t over on the ship just yet. The Argonautica is hit; an iceberg, but what audiences can suspect is a sea creature. This collision sent the passengers flying across the cruise ship, and over balconies.
One of the lifeboats were detached and fell into the ocean which later hit’s Finnegan and his team’s boat. The hijackers then take control of the boat and steer towards Argonautica to carry out their hijack mission. When they arrive on the boat, they see it’s trashed and has pools of blood everywhere. Noticing the eerie emptiness on the boat, they soon realize they are not alone. Back on the Squad’s Boat, Leila and one of the hijacker member’s are manning the ship, when a sea creature pays them a visit. Leila is snatched and taken underwater where her fate is self-explanatory to the viewer. After most of the passengers and crew are eaten by the monster, Hanover’s group from earlier gets to the ship’s vault and cracks it open to complete their raid and leave. However, the mission wasn’t compelted Vivo was shot from inside upon opening the vault.
Vivo was shot by the Simon Canton, who was hiding in the vault along with some passengers and crew. Once found under questioning, it comes into light that Canton was behind the boat’s collision and sabotage. He spent a fortune on this cruise ship, and he knows that the passengers won’t be able to repay him for him to result in profit. So, to get himself out of this hot water, he corrupts all the ship’s databases and glides the ship over the South China Sea which has never been explored by man or machine and is infested with man-eating monsters. He wanted to destroy the ship to collect the insurance. Once that’s out in the open, the hijackers sort of team up with whoever is left from the monster raid to try and get off the ship. There are more fighting and slaying man-eating monsters.
The monster crashes through the main deck, and this is when everyone realizes that it is just one giant sea monster rather than multiple small monsters. After what seems ages, Finnegan sees an island where the sky meets the sea so he, Joey and Trillian jump on Finnegan’s boat. Trillian, Finnegan, and Joey are on the squad’s boat to escape the monster. Canton tries to escape by jumping on Finnegan’s boat but is unable to make it, and dies when the Argonautica crashes into Finnegan’s boat, killing the monster in the process. The film wraps up when Finnegan and Trillian get to the island and Joey finally meets up moments later.
Under the impression that everything is over and that they can finally breathe, they hear a crash coming from inside the jungle on the island. The camera does a panoramic view, showing the three survivors on the island just as their next adventure continues. The major actors in this film consisted of Famke Janssen, Treat Williams, Kevin J. O’Connor, and Anthony Heald. The film could not have been done without Executive producer was Barry Bernardi, and the rest of the film’s production team: John Baldecchi, Howard Ellis, Mario Iscovich, and Laurence Mark. The director of Photography was Pat Turner. The screenwriters for this film was director Stephen Sommers and writer Robert Mark Kamen. The director of the film was Stephen Sommers.
Surprisingly, the title credits mentioned above were not present in the opening credits of this film. After what would’ve been the opening title credits, the film pulled me in with the music and the nice chemistry between the squad and the playful commentary. The lighting for the situation was appropriate, given that they were underwater, at night, in the middle of the ocean in a boat set in the late 1990s. The harsh winds and rain made it hard to hear some dialogue, but it wasn’t too difficult with captions. In addition to the lighting and dialogue, the camera shots were sometimes a bit cheesy, but that also could be for the fact that this movie was from the 1990s. The reason I say this is because the camera would sometimes remain still while the action is happening.
The director, Stephen Sommers used wide-angle cameras with high f/stops, not giving that blurry-background-romantic type cinematography. The Sommers, had good attention to detail on each scene, making the initial scene seem like an underwater adventure and then having Great Gatsby-esque party on the luxury cruise, The Argonautica. I would ballpark the demographic for the audience to be men & women demographic ages 24-30. As far as the appeal of Deep Rising, I lost interest in halfway through the film. Simply because I feel like this film was similar to the Titanic, and they threw in monsters, robbers, and a party thrown by Jay Gatsby himself on the boat.
This movie proves to be hardly anything but that. I realize CGI is very limited for a 1998 film, but I feel like the way some dialogue and reactions to the monsters from the passengers and robbers made no sense. I felt like most of the lines were predictable and made it less appealing as the movie went onward. Sci-Fi is my favorite genre but this movie didn’t quite cut it for me. One might think that combining Titanic, Jaws, and the parties from Great Gatsby would be a good thing, but in this case it’s not.