New Zealand isn’t well known for breaking box office in any other country. In fact, name one film for me that came from New Zealand film industry. No, The Flight of the Concords was not a film. Brilliant, yes, but not a film. While we may have marveled at its scenery in Lord Of The Rings, we have never seen the heart and soul of the brilliant country. Well, my friends let me introduce you to Eagle Vs Shark. It’s not what you think; the love child of Sharktopus and Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus but it is in fact, the most genius romantic comedy to hit the face of the earth.
Eagle Vs Shark tells the tale of awkward and shy Lily; an unassuming fast food employee who is madly in love with regular Jarrod. Unfortunately, Jarrod is everything you’d dislike in a person; a geeky self obsessed man who thinks he is better than he actually is. After Jarrod tells Lily to pass an invite for a “come dressed as your favourite animal” party (and yes that is the name of the party) to her more attractive college Jenny (who turns it down flat,) Lily comes along dressed as a shark. Much impressed by this but still 100% douche, Jarrod and Lily begin a relationship which takes Lily to Jarrod’s hometown, his bizarre loud family and a quest for Jarrod to beat his old high school bully. With a mixture of clay-motion metaphors, a kooky older brother and many hilarious scenes; Eagle Vs Shark goes past looks and into the soul of a person.
It is the answer to all our prayers. While Hollywood churns out beautiful people falling in love beautifully and unrealistically, New Zealand answer with a story about genuine characters that are chock full of quirks and realism. In fact, the film was based on actress Loren Horsley’s original character Lily and it works as her first outing on the big screen. Lily is an unsung hero that we all need; she is kind and generous if a bit dim and shy, very rarely getting angry. On paper, her love for Jarrod shouldn’t work but it does in heaps of laughter filled moments and clears awkwardness that we can relate to. (For example, the sex scene at the beginning takes longer to pop on a condom than it does to actually do the deed.) And Jermaine Clement is brilliant as the involved but tragic Jarrod who makes you really hate him one minute and then feel completely sorry for the next. With fantastic acting and sharp writing by director Taika Waititi, Eagle Vs Shark is a kooky romance that warms the coldest parts of your soul.
There is also a mix of supporting characters that flesh out the romance in very different ways. From Jarrod’s withdrawn disappointed father to Lily’s loving brother, there is never a person who doesn’t belong in this natural tale. A particular highlight would be Jarrod’s sister, Nancy and her husband Doug as they try relentlessly to pawn off their “home” products all the way from garish tracksuits to questionable make up kits. Eagle Vs Shark is fresh and unique. Eagle Vs Shark boasts many layers that are subtly weaved between the comedy and has a pulse beating throughout it that is so strong, you can feel the rhythm.
Eagle Vs Shark may break my rule; that no film is without faults. Though there are some that may find the humour at a stretch boring because it is its own particular brand, Eagle Vs Shark is damn near a perfect love story. It is one that you see on the streets everyday and is not left to any stretch of the imagination to fathom out. Eagle Vs Shark has bite and soars just as high as the greats.
Happy Taika Tuesday!
Thor: Ragnarok is out now!