A great white step backwards for the Australian film industry, Bait 3D spectacularly fails to usher the Australian blockbuster into local cinemas with poor filmmaking and worse performances resulting in a humiliating waste.
“Remember, it’s a popcorn movie” was the warning/excuse given by those involved with the film before my entering a screening for Bait 3D, yet even being prepared with the lowest of expectations were expectations too high for what is only one of the worst films of 2012.
The confusion is not found in its high novelty premise, which has customers in a Gold Coast shopping centre contending with monstrous great white sharks after a lethal tidal wave traps them in a watery coffin.
Rather it’s why and how Bait 3D was made in the first place that will leave many scratching their heads in disbelief. Now this critic loves a good ol’ leave-your-brain-at-home movie as much as the next guy, yet for that type of film to work there must be a high entertainment factor to distract from the piss poor results on screen.
Bait 3D tries with all of its might to do just that, with director Kimble Randall throwing every disaster/monster movie cliché at his 3D glasses wearing audience, while pandering to the sex crazed teen crowed with an extended shot of Sharni Vinson’s bikini clad backside that would make Michael Bay envious.
Yet all of Randall’s enthusiasm towards making a Hollywood influenced Australian wannabe blockbuster can’t change the fact that he’s made a cringe inducing boring film, and considering its elements that’s quite a feat.
As a horror movie Bait 3D sleep inducing dull, with the great white jump scares predictable to the point of absurd. As a multi-character film there is not one soul stuck in this perilous situation worth investing in, with the films 6 (!) writers unable to provide any sense of personality amongst the human chum. Then there is the 3D visual effects, the films main currency sloppily presented with at least another stage of rendering needed to make these sharks look convincing enough to fear.
Worst of all is the lazy, sell your soul attitude of Bait 3D and how – if a success – it will leave an negative impact towards genre filmmakers in the Australian film industry. Despite assembling a rather good cast of talent from the young (Xavier Samuel, Alex Russell, Phoebe Tonkin) to the veteran (Julian McMahon, Dan Wyllie) they all turn in career worst performances, with half putting on American accents (and rather poor ones at date) no doubt to win over the American market.
Such a curiously annoying decision harkens back to a time when Australian cinema had no choice but to subject itself to such humiliation. Considering how far the industry has come along in creating its own voice with actors using their own accents, Bait 3D has essentially put up the white flag and stated that the only way the Aussies can create a blockbuster is by pretending it’s an American product.
There are many great Aussie filmmakers with a whiff of the budget Rendall threw away on this film that would never subject themselves to such foolish action. Perhaps had Rendall, his 6 screenwriters, and the studio brass focused on creating a good film rather than selling a glossy product, then humiliation would have been avoided. Yet they did not, resulting in one dead shark of a film.