Living hesitant, unconfidently, and unfulfilled in Hollywood, California, Matthew finds himself fired by his employer after experiencing a promotion interview from hell, but that’s not the worst of his problems. Earlier the same day, Matthew learns his estranged older brother, a free-spirited and enthusiastic Jason, has been kicked out of his parents’ home, provided a plane ticket, and sent to live with him possibly forever. The estranged brothers finally reunite after years apart and Jason infiltrates back into Matthew’s uptight life their childhood obsession with sharks to try and finish a rough, shark-thriller script from their past, entitled “Sharks Outta Water.” When a magical movie muse decides to grant them their boyhood cinematic aspiration, the sudden appearance of a poorly render man-eating shark floats about their neighborhood streets, hunting down the brothers during a night of computer imagery terror limned with shoddy shark frenzies.
Out in the surf of the internet, a list lurks just beneath the dark waters of the web. A list containing a flooded genre of some of the worst shark movies detrimental to mankind’s inherent fear of a primordial aquatic creature that was once known to be the ocean’s apex predator. To save us from the cold, bleak shark banality, “Bad CGI Sharks” absorbs all toxic mundane trash skimming the vast global networks and big picture boxes to recourse from the singular trained thought that sharks are much more than a punching bag of relapsed rendered dogfish with jaws. Written, produced, and directed by MaJaMa, an alias for Matthew Ellsworth (Ma), Jason Ellsworth (Ja), and Matteo Molinari (Ma), “Bad CGI Sharks” flaunts a straight-to-video, no-budget comedy-horror in the face of whoever is willing to once again put themselves in front of a speeding bad shark movie train; yet, the filmmaking trio embark on a creative, meta journey risky with little blood shed and a swarm of animated things that mark somewhat of a resemblance to sharks. What crests is insightful satirical wit over the ostentatious flare of gratuitous explosion, nudity, and monstrous sharks.
In keeping to the budget, MaJaMa already wear many hats behind the camera. To extend even further their invested working capital, the filmmakers also star in the lead roles, virtually as themselves, to surely hammer down a film entitled “Bad CGI Sharks” in their own brand of humor. We begin with Matteo Molinari, the Genova, Italy born actor who had a small role in 1994’s “Silence of the Hams,” a spoof starring Dom DeLuise and Billy Zane derived from the Jonathan Demme’s Hannibal Lector thriller, “Silence of the Lambs,” if the title itself wasn’t self-evident enough. Molinari is the only main lead not using his namesake and, instead, becomes the magical movie wizard Bernardo with his muse movie clapper. Bernardo was built for Molinari as the two are synonymous to each other’s manners, speech, and quirky simpatico charm, resulting in an innocent, mischievous movie imp to be the bridge connecting the gulf between Jason and Matthew’s polarizing characters. Jason’s a severe caricature of hyperactivity and of someone whose stuck in the past and while Jason Ellsworth has his moments, without his brother Matthew’s stern, grown-up, and spruced up onscreen self, the dynamic just wouldn’t be as potent as Matthew is essentially the activator spray to Jason’s gluey personality. The cast concludes with Jenn Liu (“Stranger in the House”), Josh Sterling, and Shaun Landry.
Tiptoeing around the fringes of being a stoner film, “Bad CGI Sharks” pushes a hyper-meta reframe of how shark movies, or perhaps the film descends deeper into the water molecule level of just the shark representation itself, should be brought back to the shores of reality from the watery depths of Davy Jones’ poorly rendered locker. Coinciding with crystallizing the shark-sploitation category is a more tender note of embrace with relatable themes of rediscovering brotherhood and mending broken bonds. Matthew’s parental manufactured disgust with his older, yet childlike, brother casts a large, dark cloud that seizes up any kind of affection and the floating shark, the symbolic dream of their childhood, tests their relationship, motivating the the character arches in the face of “Bad CGI Sharks.” Amongst the witty banter and flying carnivorous fish, “Bad CGI Sharks” shows innate signs of no-budget difficulty such as story pacing where the middle sags with Jason and Matthew running around Hollywood for awhile in a progression stagnation and there lies some early editing miscues with audio mixing and mic work. Like a shark, “Bad CGI Sharks” needs to keep swimming or else it’ll upend and die; luckily, MaJaMa saves the cinematic beast with the shark devours the internet and all bets are off!
If you like your sharks floating and roaring, then “Bad CGI Sharks” DVD home video is for you, sailor, courtesy of SRS Cinema and MVDVisual. The not rated, region free DVD is presented in a widescreen, 16:9 aspect ratio, with, an IMDB listed, Sony a75 II Mirrorless camera complete with a “vintage” lens. Most of the image transpires cleanly and sharp, even the inorganic, floating sharks look fair in their farce facade, and with the specialized lens seemingly cornered to just around the Bernardo’s outer shell host duties and intermission skit and also in the initial attack sequence in which is the only scene with any kind blood shed. The English language audio tracks include a 5.1 surround sound mix and a stereo mix. The audiophiles will find solace in knowing “Bad CGI Sharks” doesn’t mean bad audio tracks. Dialogue has clarity throughout, depth and range remains steady, and there’s negligible hum electric feedback. Bonus features include a commentary track with MaJaMa, a retrograde toy commercial for all the characters, the teaser trailer, trailer, and SRS promoted trailers. Though lacking bloody chum, “Bad CGI Sharks” has bite albeit with more comedy than creature feature horror, fleshing out real world problems with hilarity in a cheapjack rendition of a killer shark.