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Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Eagle vs Shark (2007)

Eagle vs Shark (2007)

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Released 25-Jun-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Introduction-by Director Taika Waititi (.50)
Audio-Visual Commentary-Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, Loren Horsley
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Mouse Wheel (1.10)
Theatrical Trailer-(2.05)
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Director, Producer, Actors (29.52)
Interviews-Crew-Director Taika Waititi (21.21)
Deleted Scenes-(17.36)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 83:49 (Case: 93)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Taika Cohen
Icon Entertainment Starring Loren Horsley
Jemaine Clement
Joel Tobeck
Brian Sergent
Craig Hall
Rachel House
Morag Hills
Bernard Stewart
Taika Cohen
David Fane
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music The Phoenix Foundation

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Jarrod : Hey Biatch!
Man on phone: Hello... who's this?
Jarrod: Oh sorry...Hi. Is Eric there please?
Man on phone: No, he's not back till later tonight. We are gonna to the airport. We got a minvan. You wanna come?
Jarrod: thanks.
Man on phone: OK D'you wanna leave a message for him?
Jarrod: (pause) Yes. Tell him that JUSTICE is waiting for him!
Man on phone: OK Justin. Thank you. Bye bye.
(hangs up)
Jarrod: No, justice. Justice.

I am willing to bet that New Zealand director Taika Waititi cringes whenever he hears his film Eagle vs Shark compared to Napoleon Dynamite. It is true that both films feature lead characters who are undeniably geeks and both have a quirky aesthetic that carries a real charm. However, Eagle is shot through with a greater degree of melancholy than Napoleon and is a far deeper look at the human condition. It also has a wickedly deadpan sense of humour - a trademark of the kiwis.

That's not to say that Eagle couldn't have benefited from some of Napoleons box office mojo as it has so far failed to secure a wide release. That is a pity as there are great rewards to be had from this tale of two unfortunates in a world of other unfortunates who find each other.

Lily (co-writer Loren Horsley) is a cashier at the local Meaty Boy Burger store. She is awkward, shy and not particularly good looking. She has just a little crush on her manager who flirts with everyone else but her.

The only bright light in her day is when Jarrod (Flight of the Conchords Jemaine Clement) saunters in for his regular burger fix. One fateful day he rocks up and presents Lily with an invite to a party he is having on the weekend. It will be a blast - dress as your favourite animal, challenge him in the streetfighter video championship and throw shoes at the person who is bringing their helmet so that , well, people can throw shoes at this head. Of course, Jarrod tactlessly asks that Lily give the invite to a good looking Meaty Boys girl. When the hottie impolitely refuses the summons to nerd central Lily forms her plan to snare Jarrod. Lily dresses up as a shark and attends the party with her brother Damon (Joel Tobeck ). When asked by eagle Jarrod why the hottie is not there she says: "She's a lesbian. She's gone to a lesbian party." When the streetfighter championship comes to an end there are only two players left in the arena - Lily and the now impressed Jarrod.

So starts this quirky awkward relationship. Love doesn't run smooth as Jarrod is just a little self obsessed. He has a mission in life - to go back to his home town and get revenge on the bully who made his life miserable as a kid. When Lily is fired from her job she has nothing to do but follow him to said small town as he trains for the battle. Jarrod has his own family to contend with, another hodgepodge of misfits, including a father who is in a wheelchair, a dead brother who was the pinnacle of the family, and a daughter who he hardly sees.

When the film hit the cinemas, albeit briefly, in the USA I recall the critics comparing it unfavourably to Napoleon and others finding it too disturbing at times to be truly called a comedy. I think Jemaine Clement summed it up best in the interview that is an extra on the DVD when he called it a "not very romantic black comedy". Jarrod is difficult at the best of times and his ill-treatment of Lily, who is guileless and loving to the core, makes him difficult to empathise with and results in some very bleak moments. In one scene, a distraught Lily pulls out a love heart shaped rock she has found on the beach and hurls it into the ocean. It hits a seagull and downs it mid-flight. It is that sort of comedy.

Horsley is exemplary playing a character that she originated and then she Waititi workshopped and developed using the assistance of the Sundance Film Festival. The character is closest perhaps to Muriel in Muriel's Wedding in that, at heart, she knows that she is not like the other girls and her shyness speaks volumes. Those who aren't in love with Flight of the Conchords soon will be and Jemaine Clement plays Jarrod close enough to himself(?!) to be interesting, but he is Jemaine gone a little bad - self absorbed, ludicrously convinced of his own complexity. The cast are pretty good all round in conveying the quirky and disturbing side of small town life.

Director Waititi (an Oscar nominee a few years back in the short film category) has had fun putting the film together and uses quirky stop motion animation to great effect. I would whole heartedly recommend Eagle vs Shark to anyone who likes their comedies off-beat and is not afraid to dislike the "romantic lead" a little.

Perhaps Eagle missed the cult boat by not having a suitable t-shirt slogan such as "Vote for Pedro". I just might make myself a "Justin is Waiting !" shirt!

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Transfer Quality


Eagle vs Shark was shot on 35mm film and presented theatrically at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

This Icon DVD is presented at a "near enough" ratio of 1.77:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

Despite the humble, low budget origins of the movie it looks pretty good on the screen. No amount of movie magic can hide the windswept, sometimes dreary, look of the film, which was shot in and around Wellington. There is a fine patina of grain. The colours look bright, perhaps overly so, in the case of the Meaty Boys outfits. That, of course, is intentional.

The picture is a little soft but again this is probably in keeping with the directors idea to create an 80's ambience around the film.

The print is clean and there are no artefacts on show. This is a short film and consequently compression doesn't present any problem.

There are subtitles for the hearing impaired which give a clear account of on screen action.

Whilst no reference DVD fans of the film will have nothing to complain about with this transfer.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


Eagle vs Shark has a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a 2.0 track, running at 448 Kb/s and 192 Kb/s respectively.

The higher bitrate track may have a bit more weight but most of the action in this film is around the centre channel. The subwoofer only cranks up with the bass on the many music tracks.

The soundtrack consists of a few indie NZ bands and ably conveys the off-beat nature of the film. The original music for the film is provided by The Phoenix Foundation another talented bunch of trans-tasmanites.

The kiwi accents can be a bit tough at times but the actors all speak clearly. Audio sync is fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


There are a few good extras on offer.

Introduction by Director Taika Waititi (.50)

The film features an optional introduction by the director. Show in frankly crummy video it has him in his smoking jacket introducing the film with a "sit back and enjoy" manner.

Audio-Visual Commentary

The commentary track features Waititi, Horsley and Clement. It is not so much a track as a "get together and giggle" session. That's not necessarily a bad thing as I don't think a po-faced intellectual dissertation would have suited this movie. I can recall a participant to a commentary smoking before but never eating their lunch as Clement does here! The team are novices at this sort of thing and it shows when they chat about anything and everything that comes up. Fans of the film will relish this interplay as it shows the depths of creative humour of the team that created the film. Clement may be right when he says at the end that they have "taught us nothing" about the film but the journey was worth it!

Featurette-Behind The Scenes: The Mouse Wheel (1.10)

The giant wheel provides some moments of interest in the film and we get to see Loren Horsley walking around on it until she feels just a bit sick!

Theatrical Trailer (2.05)

The trailer is pretty good at encapsulating the mood and humour of the film even if it does edit some scenes differently than in the finished product.

Interviews-Cast & Crew (29.52)

Director Waititi, actors Clement and Horsley and producer Ainsley Gardiner all get some decent interview time here. All are forced to reveal their favourite animals - no eagles and no sharks! Waititi is adamant that he wanted a film where the ugly ducklings stay ugly. He also wanted to make a comedy as he saw a dearth of NZ film comedies - Sione's Wedding the only recent example.

Horsley is a revelation as she goes from the long faced Lily with funny looking teeth to the cherubic pretty actress. Clement is an urbane clever man and he talks about creating his character as a "not very nice man".

Some nice interviews.

Interviews-Taika Waititi (21.21)

This lengthy interview takes us through the origin of the film, the casting process and the directors approach to drama and comedy. It is no surprise that he expresses his admiration for directors like Todd Solondz who mix laughter and tragedy in uncomfortable ways.

Deleted Scenes (17.36)

There are 15 deleted scenes on offer comprising some 17 minutes of new and extended material. This includes a different credit sequence and an animation featuring Lily and some vengeful seagulls. A running gag with some hoons was all but excised from the film. One scene carried some greater weight as it featured Lily and Jarrod talking about their love gone wrong but I suspect it was removed as the movie is on an extended downer at that point and audiences may have given up on Jarrod. Also Jarrod's relationship with his brothers widow is explored in more detail. All interesting but none essential.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

Eagle vs Shark is available in Region 1 with some different extras. It has a short outtakes reel which would have been fun. There is a music video by The Phoenix Foundation. The commentary track has the director and lead actress but adds actor David Fane who plays the Samoan Eric Alessi. It has the deleted scenes but no other extras. The Region 4 is marginally ahead just on availability.


Eagle vs Shark is a funny, sad film that shows the merits of the Sundance Screenwriting Lab as it helped bring this interesting vision to the screen.

It is probably a must for those who love Conchords.

The video and audio transfer aren't exemplary but do the job and there are some interesting extras on board.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

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