By Christopher Null
One might say there's a limit to the amount of time one could watch a Jaws spoof. That limit turns out to be 47 minutes. 47 minutes until a straight satire gets just too goofy to endure.
Trees, a video-based indie, fills about 87 minutes with pure camp -- maybe too pure, and certainly too much for all but the die-hard Jaws obsessive. Your imagination can fill in the plot points as well as I can -- a man-eating tree is marauding a sleepy woodland town. Yes, it's a "great white pine" that walks around and kills people with its vicious pine needles.
Of course director Michael Pleckaitis is not quite a young Steven Spielberg, but we'll give him some credit. His comic sensibility is decent, but there are too few gags to carry the spoof (or rather, "homage," as the film touts) very far, the synthesizer music has none of John Williams' Jaws signature, and too many of the actors look the same as one another. The replanting (so to speak) of Jaws to land leads to a number of earth-based jokes -- tying kegs to the angry tree instead of yellow barrels, and a kid dresses in a big tree suit instead of putting a fin on his head in order to scare the populace. Most notable is the rechristening of the famous line: "You're gonna need a bigger axe." From where I'm sitting, you're gonna need a bigger laugh track.
When my wife walked in on my viewing of Trees, she immediately dubbed it "extraordinarily silly... it looks like someone made it on a dare." A more apt description I couldn't muster myself.
Two sequels are reportedly in the works, but let me leave you with one thought. If Jaws was about the mouth of a shark, shouldn't Trees have been called Limbs? Discuss amongst yourselves.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Monday 11th September 2000
Production compaines: Walt Disney Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Cast & Crew