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Eagle vs. Shark
DVD disk
01.24.2008 By: Mathew Plale
Eagle vs. Shark order
Director:
Taika Waititi

Actors:
Jemaine Clement
Loren Horsley
Rachel House

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A low-esteemed video game expert (Clement) teams up with a fast-food cashier (Horsley) to exact revenge on his bully.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Oh, just look how quirky they are with their abnormal haircuts, freakish families, and cartoonish personas. It’s just what we’d expect now from Jared Hess—only he has no involvement with Eagle vs. Shark.

Did New Zealanders just never get wind of Napoleon Dynamite? Maybe they, out there on those funny-shaped islands, only heard of it, inspiring writer/director/ripoff artist Taika Waititi lifted about every idea and plot point for his movie, which in turn isn’t likely to draw comparisons to anything but the 2004 cult phenomena.

But Waititi is trying to make us hate his oddballs and his movie. At least that’s the drift I catch from the script and performers. His Napoleon is Jarrod (Jemaine Clement, of folk-electronica duo Flight of the Conchords), a video game salesman/expert. Deb here is Lily (Loren Horsley, lacking the quaint charm of Tina Majorino), a mutty, wide-eyed fast-food cashier who tends the shortest line at Meaty Boy.

After Jarrod’s 3rd annual “Dress as Your Favorite Animal” party (he’s the eagle, she’s the shark—no ligers), the two engage in what they’d call sex, but we’d call a swift thrust. The self-loathing twosome makes for a likely team, both in love and revenge, simultaneously playing The Match Game and The Waiting Game while Jarrod trains for the arrival of his “Samoan” bully of yesteryear.

I remember seeing Dynamite in theaters—I was the one grumbling over the “tots” and ‘Vote for Pedro’ nonsense; but those of you who put up with Dynamite for 82 minutes can probably handle Eagle’s 88. And afterwards, feel free to dissect the “meaning” of the rotten apple and compare Napoleon’s Uncle Rico to Jarrod’s Uncle Whoever…like you have anything better to do.

The above paragraphs, every last one of ‘em, allude to Napoleon Dynamite in one way or another. This is what the filmmakers want, to be likened to a Hot Topic sensation. And I’m almost embarrassed to oblige to their wishes. Almost as embarrassed as I am to now own a copy of Eagle vs. Shark.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes: We get an unlucky 13 here, involving Jarrod’s intimidating physical condition, his ninja stars, one strange fountain, and too much more.

Outtakes (2:47): Self-explanatory, but the cast flubs their lines and laughs at, uh, nothing inparticular. Skip it.

Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Taika Waititi and Guests: The “And Guests” part is about the only intriguing part of the commentary—and we don’t even get Jemaine Clement! Otherwise, discussion of Sundance, inspirations, etc. ensues.

And a Music Video.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
It's as simple as this: if you went ga-ga over Napoleon Dynamite, you'll get a few kicks out of Eagle vs. Shark. Otherwise, avoid at all costs.
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