Thursday, June 27, 2013

DBHR Review:Orca(1977)

By Eric Polk-
It's summertime in the United States. Time to beat the heat by cooling off at the pool or beach but as always, when your told "Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water"....wait....Oh, this is Orca. Whew. For a moment, I thought I had to once again endure the trauma of Jaws:The Revenge. Nevertheless, one always must be leery when faced with a knock-off of a big hit. In my movie experience, unless it was shot by an Italian director, knockoffs don't work.

Orca, of course, follows in the wake of the original summer blockbuster Jaws which in a way is a shame because(and I'm not medicated or drunk)  this isn't that bad of a movie. It does follow the 'when nature goes berserk' pattern formula(fisherman trying to hunt down a prize male killer whale winds up killing the pregnant female instead and is pursued all the way to the arctic). However, what holds this film together is its sincerity(well, that and a young Bo Derek who apparently has some tasty legs if you were to ask Orca). This movie appears to have had thought put into it as opposed for going for the quick buck. There is a sense of doom and finality on the part of the fisherman(played by Richard Harris) because of the guilt he felt from his misdeed. Plus, the infamous birth scene...wicked!

What really clinched this movie for me was towards the end when Harris is standing on a piece of ice, separated from the other survivor and it's just him and the whale one-on-one. It reminds of a western showdown. There are some silly moments such as the whale's hang time when killing some of its prey and The fact that apparently killer whales have the mental capacity for vengeance does seem far-fetched. Nevertheless, Orca doesn't deserve its 'bad movie' reputation. It's not brilliant but one only has to look at a SyFy Saturday Night Movie to see far, far worse.

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