|Beast of the Bering Sea
Directed by Don E. FauntLeRoy
Written by Brook Durham
Starring Cassandra Scerbo, Jonathan Lipnicki, Jaqueline Fleming
For anyone with a cable channel or certain breeds of online connectivity these days, the Bering Sea has meant adventure, riches and danger. "Beast of the Bering Sea" takes advantage of that to put on its presentation, but it's got quite a bit working against it going in. Can it overcome its somewhat shoddy roots to reach greatness? Or will it be just another in an ever-increasing string of low-rent monster movies?
"Beast of the Bering Sea" joins us with brother and sister duo Joe--who you may recognize as child star Jonathan Lipnicki--and Donna, who have decided to seek their fortune in the Bering Sea running a gold dredging operation. They're not the first, and likely won't be the last, to try it. But this time around, Joe and Donna find a lot more than gold, specifically, a race of undersea monsters with a thirst for human blood. Can these sibling gold hunters put an end to a horror the like of which the world has never seen? Or will gold be worth a lot less in the near-term future as the number of people around who want it falls through the floor?
On a personal level this one hits me right away. I have a particular fondness for treasure hunts and scuba diving, and this one catches me in both points within the first five minutes, a particular note of excitement. Then the monsters show up, and it becomes quite clear that this movie will waste not one scrap of time. That's a very definite plus.
Granted, this will be no one's idea of a great movie, but it should do well as a good movie for a lot of people. In fact, the movie sums up its high points well in a line of dialogue: "There are three things to remember to do a good job: Common sense, an affinity to bust your ass, and teamwork." Thankfully, this movie has all three. The cast does a sound job, believably enough as down-on-their-luck gold dredgers, so there's the teamwork. The idea is reasonable enough--previously unseen sea life that bursts its sodden bonds when gold dredgers stir things up--that's common sense. Finally, the movie is going to try extremely hard, and though it's clearly operating from a handicap, it will do reasonably well. It has an affinity to bust its ass, and that means that by its own standards, the movie does a good job. Not a great job, mind you, but a good one.
It's not without faults. For example, the CGI is one step short of godawful. The technology is one step short of outlandish--a UV combustion bomb? Really?--and the whole thing feels like it's served at least one tour of duty on Voltaire's U.S.S. Make Shit Up. But still, there's a reasonable amount of quality here, and the whole thing does fairly well in the end.
Special features include trailers for "Ice Soldiers," "Squatters," "Cold Comes the Night," "Avengers Confidential," "The Hungover Games," as well as a set of English subtitles.
"Beast of the Bering Sea" sets out its own rules, and for the most part, lives accordingly. Those expecting Shakespeare were in the wrong place to begin with, but for a Saturday night popcorn muncher extraordinaire, you won't go far wrong here.