Retrospective Review: “Eagle Vs. Shark”

Year: 2007
Runtime: 88 Minutes
Director/ writer: Taika Waititi
Stars: Jemaine Clement, Loren Horsley, Craig Hall, Joel Tobeck

By Bianca Garner

“There’s someone for everyone…apparently.” This is the tagline for Taika Waititi’s directorial debut film, “Eagle Vs. Shark”, We can probably all agree that there is indeed ‘someone for everyone’. Another key message that we can take away from the film is that ‘love is blind’ and that we shouldn’t judge people solely on their appearance. In his usual quirky off-beat fashion, Waititi manages to bring us something rather unique and special with “Eagle Vs. Shark” and you will either ‘get it’ or you will find it all a bit too silly for your liking.

Since watching the film upon its release, I have remained an advent fan of Waititi’s work and it’s been a delight to watch him evolve as a filmmaker. If you’re like me and you’re also a diehard Waititi fan and you haven’t had a chance to check “Eagle Vs. Shark”  out yet then you must do immediately…Yes, that means pausing reading this review and going to watch the film right this very second! Actually, it’s probably best that you continue reading this review because otherwise you might forget to actually come back and I don’t want to have written such a glowing review of the film and have no-one read it. 

So, what is “Eagle Vs. Shark” all about? Well, Waititi describes it as the following: “It is a small, cute, quaint, quirky, quiet, quivering film about love and acceptance. The idea came about from watching people try [to] fall in love. It is a painful and yet hilarious process.” I can completely agree, falling in love is something that is painful but can also lighten up your entire world and leave you feeling like you’re floating on cloud nine. “Eagle Vs. Shark” manages to capture how awkward it can be trying to demonstrate your love to another person, and the struggles of trying to express how you truly feel. 

Loren Taylor in Eagle vs Shark (2007) | Photo Credit: IMDb

“In his usual quirky off-beat fashion, Waititi manages to bring us something rather unique and special with “Eagle Vs. Shark” and you will either ‘get it’ or you will find it all a bit too silly for your liking.”

The film follows Lily (Loren Horsley), a shy young woman who works in a fast-food restaurant but has aspirations to be a singer/songwriter. She’s a loner who lives at home with her brother Damon (Joel Tobeck) who is a cartoonist and does celebrity impressions. Lily spends most of her time at work waiting for Jarrod (Jemaine Clement) to come in and order his lunch everyday. Like Lilly, he’s also a bit of a social outcast, as he’s a geek who works in a video game store. He seems unaware of Lily’s crush on him and is more focused on winning the affections of her co-worker Jenny. 

One day, Jarrod decides to hold a fancy dress party/video game competition (the theme is “dress as your favourite animal”) and he asks Lily to pass along the invite to Jenny who rudely dismisses the invite. So, Lily decides to go (dragging along her brother) and dresses up as a shark. Jarrod (who dresses as an eagle) becomes impressed by Lily’s video gaming capabilities and the two end up sleeping together.

Loren Taylor and Jemaine Clement in Eagle vs Shark (2007) | Photo credit: IMDb

“Horsley is so delightfully charming and is a perfect match for Clement’s off-beat nature with his monotone delivery. “

However, their relationship doesn’t seem to get properly started as Jarrod declares that he needs to return to his hometown in order to get revenge on a school bully who used to beat him up. Lily decides that she’ll tag along to give moral support. She ends up meeting his family (who are all as strange as Jarrod is) and learns about Jarrod’s mysterious past. 

The film works because of Lily’s strength and determination. She may seem quiet and shy, but there’s an explosive nature to her personality which manages to shine through. Horsley is so delightfully charming and is a perfect match for Clement’s off-beat nature with his monotone delivery. Their scenes together are entertaining, and you can’t help but root for them. Jarrod is the way he is because of his upbringing and the way his father favored his brother over him. Once you get to know the truth about Jarrod, you can’t help but pity him. All Lily wants is to look after him, and that’s something very sweet. 

Loren Taylor in Eagle vs Shark (2007) | Photo Credit: IMDb

Overall, “Eagle Vs. Shark” is a charming little indie film which isn’t going to be exactly everyone’s cup of tea but I think it’s worth seeking out if you like your comedies a little different. It doesn’t feature your typical glamorous, drop-dead gorgeous film stars, it’s not set in the most tropical and exotic location and it features some very strange humor; but it always leaves me with a smile on my face.

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