Into the Blue is a summer sun-and-skin flick that is about as light as the highlights in its attractive casts’ sun-bleached hair. Beyond the boobs, behinds, and brawn, Into the Blue manages to follow a bare-bones storyform that provides the limited treasure this 110-minute movie has to offer, structurally-speaking of course. I was able to find a satisfactory storyform for Into the Blue. Had there been more story substance and less cleavage I might have found a better fit.
You might ask, "Why bother doing a story analysis of something so clearly fluffy and frivolous?" My feeling is that you can learn something from good AND bad films. This one happens to be better than some, not as good as many. Enough said.
Hardly more than a ‘00’s twenty-something version of The Deep, everyone in the story is concerned with something lost (Overall Story Concern of Obtaining). For some it’s sunken treasure of the pirate’s kind. For everyone, it’s treasure of the sunken airplane loaded with drugs kind (Story Goal of Obtaining). A bunch of people get killed in the process of trying to get the drugs (Overall Story Throughline of Activity). It’s all because they’re trying to make a quick buck (OS Problem of Temptation) rather than take the longer and legal route (OS Solution of Conscience).
Jared (Paul Walker) is the Main Character. He is an aging scuba bum (MC Throughline of Situation) who is worried that his life is going nowhere fast (MC Concern of The Future). He’s a man of action (MC Approach of Do-er) in a story that requires action to get things done (Story Driver of Action). After discovering a sunken ship, Jared also discovers a nearby-submerged plane filled with illegal drugs (Story Driver of Action). Should he report the crash to the authorities and risk losing the find of a lifetime (MC Solution of Conscience), or should he ignore it and make a positive identification of the wreck (and treasure) first (MC Problem of Temptation)? His feelings tell him to listen to his gut instincts (MC Symptom of Feeling), but he overrides them with argument that he can work on the wreck without problems so long as he leaves the plane alone (MC Response of Logic).
The Influence Character is sparingly drawn in the form of Jared’s long time girlfriend, Sam (Jessica Alba). She is more down-to-earth than Jared and barely puts up with Jared’s dreams of sunken treasure (IC Issue of Dream v. Hope). She has deep feelings for Jared that turn to fears as he lets his personal dreams get ensnared with the drug mess (IC Concern of Innermost Desires). Though this Influence Character is sketched more than fully realized, her Influence (when present) is easily identifiable.
In a weird storytelling twist, the Relationship Story throughline does not use Sam as the Influence Character. Her substitute IC is Bryce (Scott Caan), Jared’s obnoxious friend from the mainland. Bryce is constantly manipulating Jared (Relationship Story Throughline of Manipulation) and bullying him. Bryce’s sleazy approach (OS Catalyst of Approach) creates real trouble in both the Overall Story and in his relationship with Jared. Jared puts himself on the line with friends and professional colleagues only to find that Bryce is lying (Relationship Story Issue of Responsibility). Though this throughline is patchy (storyform-wise) and only works in the most minimal way, it does help MC Jared grow out of his dependence on logic (MC Growth of Stop).
Eventually, all of the players in the drug war are revealed (Story Limit of Optionlock) and the bad guys AND the drugs destroyed (Story Outcome of Success). Jared has gone from a driven man to a man who can enjoy leisure time with Sam (MC Resolve of Change, Story Judgment of Good).