"Much-needed escapist summer fun." "The Shallows may look like it's all show, but this tropical nightmare quickly flashes a wicked bite as well." "A crackerjack summer thriller." "A taut, brutal film pitting a ravenous sea creature against a woman as hard as coral." "The best shark movie since Jaws."
These are the glowing reviews for Blake Lively's new summer thriller, The Shallows. And yes, color many people surprised. When the trailer hit the Internet a few months ago, the flick seemed like your standard, run-of-the-mill cheesy ocean movie. Open Water with a much better cast, if you will. Or, Open Water 2: Adrift with a much, much, much better cast, if you will. But no! Pipe down all ye naysayers, because it seems that this shark movie is actually quite good.
But even more surprising than the positive reviews from harsh critics or the 79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (before it even hits theaters, natch) is the movie's breakout star. It's a character that has everybody talking, a character that is giving Lively a run for her money, a character that will maybe even incite some awards buzz. Ladies and gentleman, we're talking about Steven Seagull.
Yes, Seagull. The unequivocal best part of the entire movie is the seagull with which Blake and the shark share the screen. Move over, Air Bud, because you've got some major competition.
Fame started slowly for Steven, whose real name is Sully "Steven" Seagull. According to IMDB, The Shallows is his first big movie—or at least we assume so, since he doesn't actually have an IMDB page, given that he is a seagull. He first broke out onto the scene thanks to Lively's Instagram, when she posted a sneak peek of her new costar during the movie's filming. As you can see, the two formed quite a bond during their time together on the ocean/rock/whale carcass that served as the flick's set.
But now that Sully/Steven has made his big screen debut, America is falling in love. He plays a pivotal part in The Shallows, offering some humor and basically serving as a glowing light at the end of the long, dark tunnel that is being stranded at sea with a shark that wants to kill you.
The Shallows is a pretty simple premise—a med school dropout, played Lively (Adams, Nancy Adams, is her name) travels to a secret Mexican beach that her late mother once visited in order to find herself. Instead, she finds a deadly shark. She is brutally attacked while surfing alone, and is forced to seek shelter on a precarious rock formation that is slowly disappearing to the tide while she tries to fend off further shark attacks. As you can imagine, it's not exactly fun and games.
But then comes the seagull! Adorable little Steven is also stranded, due to a broken wing, and is literally the cutest little set device one could ever imagine. In fact, he's more than just a set device—he's a bona fide third character with thoughts and feelings and a personality and a great one-sided conversationalist. Think Wilson from Castaway, only with feathers. And now that audiences and critics alike are starting to flood the theaters, they can't stop raving about Sully's performance.
New York Magazine's Kyle Buchanan called him "The most important movie character of the summer." Christopher Rosen of Entertainment Weekly called it "A breakthrough moment for seagull actors." Both Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair and David Erlich of Indiewire dubbed the seagull's performance as "poignant."
.@iTunesTrailers Makings friends with my buddy, the seagull, Sully. He's the real star of the movie. Don't be fooled (DIVA!).— Blake Lively (@blakelively) June 15, 2016
Blake Lively's THE SEAGULL— Richard Lawson (@rilaws) June 21, 2016
Blake Lively befriends a seagull and clings to a floating whale carcass for dear life in The Shallows, which on the whole is quite rad. ?— Michael Nordine (@slowbeard) June 23, 2016
The seagull just doing his thing in the background while Blake Lively fights a shark is killin me pic.twitter.com/4cBJ0QVQy8— Casey Malone (@CaseyMalone) June 14, 2016
Forget that MIB / JUMP STREET crossover. We need to get Wilson and that seagull from THE SHALLOWS together.— Kent Sanderson (@MrKentSanderson) June 23, 2016
And on and on. Some Twitter users have even started a petition to vet Steven Seagull as Hillary Clinton's Vice President. Now is your time, Mr. Seagull, so soak it up.