Truly bad—not merely bad in a pedestrian way—movie premises are a natural resource that must be carefully rationed and portioned out in order to get us through the lean times. As we enter an uncertain election season, surely our need for absolute junk cinema will be at its highest, after all. It’s reassuring, then, to know that something so unabashedly stupid as Alphas is entering pre-production.
Directed by James Cameron protege Steven Quale, who served as a second unit director on Avatar and Titanic in addition to directing Final Destination 5, Voltage Pictures’ Alphas is soon to be known as “that sharks vs. killer whales movie.” Starring Sam Worthington, with whom Quale obviously already had a working relationship, it’s seemingly evidence of just how little impact being in the #1 box office film of all time can have on someone’s career.
But really, check out this verbatim premise:
When the local Great White population spirals out of control, environmentalist Gavin McDade (Worthington) is tasked with finding a natural solution to the shark problem. He tracks down the owner of a nearby Killer Whale sanctuary, whose career as an Orca trainer was cut short when she attacked by the star of her own show. She reluctantly agrees to reintroduce a pod of juvenile Orcas into the same waters to drive out the sharks, but soon realizes there’s a female alpha Great White lurking beneath the surface capable of destroying them all. With nowhere else to turn and with his rebellious sister’s surf competition quickly approaching, he must convince the former trainer to unleash the same creature that nearly killed her in what will become the greatest battle of apex predators the oceans have ever seen.
There is so, so much to unpack here. The fact that Great White Sharks are implied to be too plentiful in this scenario, rather than ecologically vulnerable? The fact that Worthington is implied to have to work hard to “track down” the owner of a “nearby” Killer Whale sanctuary? The idea of an “alpha female” Great White that is presumably will be depicted as the size of a freakin’ Megalodon? Oh, and his rebellious sister’s surf competition as random side plot material? This has “instant trash classic” written all over it.
Casting and pre-production on Alphas is currently underway. Meanwhile, check out the first poster below.