Eagle vs. Shark


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Rating: R

Jemaine Clement as Jarrod
Loren Horsley as Lily
Joel Tobeck as Damien
Cohen Holloway as Mason
Craig Hall as Doug Davis
Jackie van Beek as Anthea
Taika Cohen as Gordon
Rachel House as Nancy
David Fane as Eric Elisi
Morag Hills as Vinny
Brian Sergent as Jonah
Bernard Stewart as Zane

Directed by Taika Waititi

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary
Feature Commentary With Writer/Director Taika Waititi & Guests
The Phoenix Foundation “Going Fishing” Music Video

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 90 Minutes

The following is from the DVD cover:

“From Miramax Films and acclaimed director Taika Waititi comes a wicked and witty offbeat comedy for the closet romantic in all of us. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, this hilarious story about relationships and redemption finds humor in the most unexpected places and proves that love is truly blind. When Lily, a lonely, oddball fast-food waitress and hopeless romantic, and Jarrod, another forsaken eccentric who has spent the last decade plotting revenge against a bully from high school, connect at a ‘dress as your favorite animal’ party, it’s a match seemingly made in outcast heaven. But as Jarrod bumbles his way to his day of reckoning, he and Lily are pushed to find faith and hope in each other while the world of ‘foolish suckas’ spins around them.”

“Eagle vs. Shark” is rated R for language, some sexuality, and brief animated violence.

If I had to describe “Eagle vs. Shark” to someone, I’d describe it as a New Zealand “Napoleon Dynamite.” Both films are comedies featuring incredibly awkward social rejects. Both films have subtle, weird, and bizarre funny moments. Both movies feature geeks in love. The big difference is that Jarrod is a bit more violent, rude, and thoughtless than Napoleon. And he has an illegitimate child, too.

Jemaine Clement is excellent as Jarrod. He’s stupid, mean, and unthinking, but you still care about what happens to him. You want to see how his quest for revenge against a high school bully will resolve itself. Loren Horsley is also fantastic as Lily. She has to be one of the most incredibly socially awkward characters to hit the screen in decades. She gradually makes a change from mousy fast food waitress to a mousy fast food waitress just coming out of her shell. It’s not much of a transformation, but it’s still a transformation. The rest of the supporting cast members all have moments to shine as well.

One of the few drawbacks of “Eagle vs. Shark” is its pacing. It does get quite dull at times. There are also long moments of stop motion animation that I didn’t feel helped move the story along at all. Big laughs eventually do come, but those slow stretches can easily pull you out of the story.

I’d only recommend “Eagle vs. Shark” to people that liked “Napoleon Dynamite.” They’re the only people that will give its weird humor a chance. And even then they may find this Kiwi import to be a bit slower and weirder than “Dynamite.”

The bonus features on this DVD are rather lean. There’s your standard commentary and outtakes along with a music video by The Phoenix Foundation entitled “Going Fishing”. Rounding out the extras are 13 Deleted Scenes. They show more of Jarrod’s family, most notably his daughter (who is surprisingly funny mocking her father on the phone). The deleted scenes fill in a few of the blanks in the story, too. You find out where Lily ran off to after shedding her clothes at the party. You see local town thugs harassing Jarrod. You also see Lily face off with Jarrod about lying about the death of his mother.