Cover Art and Menus: 9/10
The cover has an independent kind of vibe, which I love. The Eagle Vs. Shark is quite clear when you see the image on the front of the box, that’s for sure. The menu is a nice hand drawn little number with moving parts and some cozy music to get you in a low key mood for this understated film. I always love any hand drawn artwork, it might even bump up the DVD score just a tiny bit.
- Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary – These are mostly extended scenes that have some tagged on parts not found in the movie. They wouldn’t have changed a whole lot in the final cut.
- Outtakes – Things falling, kisses gone wrong, lines forgotten…you get the picture.
- Commentary With Writer/Director & Guests – I’m not sure what they said, I was too busy swooning over their New Zealand accents, but I’m sure it was fun and entertaining.
- Going Fishing Music Video – whatever. (Ascully says “The soundtrack of this movie is awesome and Gone Fishing is a great track”
The Movie: 9/10
“Kewl.” It’s a nice word. It’s not “cool”, necessarily, and I’m sure it’s not a real word actually, but I like it and that’s that. IWhen it’s coming from a character in this movie, Lily, who is a New Zealander, “kewl” has a certain charm that somehow hypnotizes me. I’m not sure if that unfairly enhances my view of Eagle Vs. Shark, but even if it does, that’s fine with me.
This is a movie about unconditional love. Isn’t that what we all want in life? It’s not the glossy kind of love with shiny happy people with manufactured good looks wearing trendy clothes and living in swank city apartments. This is real love.
We live in a world where we are bombarded continuously by images of what and who we are SUPPOSED to be, or at the very least who people want us to be so we are beautiful enough, skinny enough, and wealthy enough. It’s hard to think of yourself as loveable when everything around you is telling you otherwise. That’s why I really enjoy characters like Lily, or Dangerous Person as she likes to be called for the ultimate video game challenge in the movie. She is what she is, no frills, no complications. She’s a twenty something woman who falls completely in love with Jarrod, a not so uncomplicated and definitely not 100% appealing, with or without all the glossy features.
Where do we find the people who look past every flaw, every misfit feature we all have? We try to cover them up with make up, trendy clothes, fancy cars, dyed hair, fake colored contact lenses, and everything else we can pile on, but we all have those flaws, those wonderful quirky bits of goodness underneath. That’s what we want someone to love, everything that’s wrong about us. The reality is that it’s rare to find someone who is willing and able to look at us with THOSE eyes. The eyes Lily looks at Jarrod with even from the opening scene of the movie. This is the kind of movie that takes the awkwardness of the characters and turns it into why they want and need love….universal theme I reckon.
Lily is a danger to Jarrod, that’s for sure. Danger comes in many forms though. For Jarrod, who is hell bent on getting some kind of weird revenge on an old high school rival by staging a street fight, the danger is that someone will come along and not be impressed by what he thinks are his skills and accomplishments. He fancies himself a fighter, a video game champion, and a candle maker. What he wants is to be noticed by his father, over shadow his dead brother’s memory (brother was talented and a champion at the things he did), and be a winner. Instead he fails a lot. Lily doesn’t mind his failures, and she thinks he’s “kewl” but she’s not so starry eyed that she doesn’t see his faults.
Once they are together they make a trip back to Jarrod’s home town where he plans the fight against the old high school bully. As if Lily and Jarrod aren’t compelling enough with their truncated conversations and her moony eyes for him, oh and there groovy animal costumes (an eagle and a shark..hmmmm), we are treated to the introduction of his family. There is a father in a wheel chair (sort of), sister and brother-in-law who are seemingly always trying to sell something that’s not quite sellable, and one small surprise. You’ll have to see the movie to find out what it is.
Through the events that take place, Lily gets to know the family in that quiet quirky way that is the signature of the movie. Jarrod pursues his quest for revenge, but more and more shows just how unappealing he really is. It’s one of those quiet and humorous, but sad and a little pathetic at the same time kind of stories. Regardless of the situation, Lily never tries to make Jarrod return her love, other than always supporting him and encouraging him in her own calm and lovely way. She doesn’t talk a lot, but when she has something to say, it’s softly profound. He doesn’t seem worthy of her love, but that doesn’t matter to her, and that’s the heart of the movie. Does Jarrod fight his arch nemesis? Does Lily throw the video game championship for love? Do you still not get the difference between “kewl” and “cool?” Deep and haunting questions only the movie can answer.
The style of the movie is, kind of quiet, awkward at times, with lots of close ups and those moments of uncomfortable laughter you can’t help but feel a little sorry for a few of the characters as they struggle through love, grief, pain, hurtful memories, and regrets. There is even a little bit of cool animation tucked in here and there, plus some very groovy sleeping bag scenes. If you appreciate subtle with a dash of boldness tossed in for good measure, Eagle Vs. Shark should be on your list.
This is one of those DVD’s I personally want to own. No, it’s not got a lot of extras or frills attached, but never mind. Every great movie can’t be on a great DVD. I want Eagle vs. Shark on my shelf for those times when I need a calm, clever, understated story to make me feel happy inside. There are very few of those in the world, so when I find one, the price is no object. If you do care about price you are looking at about 22 bucks. Not a great price, I agree. I want all DVD’s to be in the $5-$10 range, but I won’t hold my breath. If you are not interested in owning a movie that doesn’t blow stuff up or take you back in time, into the future, or into outer space to fight aliens with big friggin’ guns, or giant robots, or talking animals, or magic supernatural powers of some kind….at least rent it then you mindless drone!!! (FYI, I like aliens, robots, talking animals, and futuristic supernatural stuff too, but sometimes it’s nice to jump out of the mainstream and into something a little different).
Overall Score 8/10