So I’m a little bit tipsy after some end of the workweek drinks with the boys, and as my wife’s out of town, I decide to stop by the Blockbuster on my way home and pick up a couple of movies she likely would not be interested in seeing (yes, that’s how crazy I get when my wife’s out of town — movie rentals). While I did rent Wanted (stopped watching after 30 minutes) and Pineapple Express (a few good laughs), the true highlight of the night was my encounter with the Sharks in Venice DVD, that has the most outstanding and outrageous B-movie artwork I’ve seen in a long while.
First of all, I love the 100% literal translation of the title of the film into the artwork for the DVD. No critique here — I can understand that with a title like this, a subtle, nuanced effort or any attempt at symbolism would likely not be the right approach. But holy shit did they really go for broke on the literal interpretation.
I don’t remember the last time I saw a more psychotically aggressive and vicious depiction of an animal (even for a shark). Not only is this sucker HUGE, it’s so powerful that’s it’s destroying buildings around it as it thrusts out of the canal.
But the best part of this cover — the BEST — is the gondolier who is bearing witness to his own imminent death that is certain to score very high in the savage, brutal and terrorizing categories of ways to die. Let’s look at this moment in time a little closer and really study his predicament. I have to say, given the circumstances, he seems quite calm.
I mean, there’s no doubt — he’s got NO chance — he’s a goner (you could say he was a “goner-dolier” but that would be such a bad pun to impose on people that I would never, ever write that). Has the shark appeared so suddenly that he hasn’t even had time to see it? Is he suicidal? Is he high? Or is he so present in this moment that he’s instantly recognized and accepted his fate?
If so, then maybe, just maybe, there is some symbolism at work here. The inevitability of death, the importance of facing your fears. Maybe Sharks in Venice is really an art film, a profound contemplation of the very nature of existence, a complex intellectual analysis of our own mortality.