EAGLE VS SHARK
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Loren Horsley as LILY
Jemaine Clement as JARROD
Directed by: Taika Waititi
BY KEVIN CARR
Last year, I heard a lot about “Eagle vs Shark.” It won some nice awards in the festival circuit and made some noise during the early part of the year. So, the bar was set somewhat for the movie.
In the end, “Eagle vs Shark” lives up to the hype because the hype didn’t overtake the film. The movie is a story of geek love, which has been popular lately. Lily (Loren Horsley) is a quiet girl who works at a burger joint in New Zealand. When her job is pulled out from under her, she makes an attempt to be social.
At a party, she meets up with Jarrod (Jemaine Clement), a total dork who revels in his uncoolness. They hook up at the party and start a somewhat awkward relationship. Ultimately, Jarrod invites her on a trip, but their relationship starts to crumble, with Jarrod’s utter awkwardness amplifying through the entire experience.
I think “Eagle vs Shark” would have made a bigger splash if “Napoleon Dynamite” hadn’t come out of nowhere just a couple years ago. In many ways, the movies have virtually the same look and feel. Both focus on the uncool geeks that so many of us know (or are). Instead of the characters turning their backs on their geekiness, it is heralded, giving the nerdier class their own movie heroes.
While “Eagle vs Shark” is quite funny at times, it’s not without its flaws or its low points. “Napoleon Dynamite” has a much stronger focus where ‘Eagle vs Shark” hits several speed bumps along the way, which left me wondering (and not really caring) where things would go.
The strength of “Eagle vs Shark” lies in its unconventional story with unconventional leads. It definitely made me laugh at points, but too often it seemed to try too hard to be the converse of what you might expect from a standard Hollywood movie.
Fans of independent film should enjoy this movie, if for no other reason that it doesn’t march to the usual drum beat of romantic comedies. However, it’s just a little too purposely quirky to really have me fall in love with it.
The DVD comes with deleted scenes with commentary from the director, outtakes, a feature commentary with the filmmakers and cast and a music video.