If ever there was a film that seemed designed with MYSTER SCIENCE THEATER 3000 in mind, MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS is it.
See Prehistoric Beasts released from an ancient iceberg! See the Primordial Monsters lay waste to the seven seas! See the ultimate battle between megalodon and cephalopod! See your video rental money go down the drain, wasted on this salt-water-soaked bilge!
The truly truly ridiculous sci-fi sub-epic is almost bad enough to be hysterically funny – almost; in fact, if ever there was a film that seemed designed with MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATRE 3000 and/or RIFFTRAX in mind, this is it.
The story of MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS has two prehistoric monsters – yes, the titular “Mega Shark” and “Giant Octopus” – released when global warming melts an ice berg. The two were apparently frozen in mid-battle millennia ago, but instead of finishing their fight, they split up, their being more than enough ocean for both of them to terrorize. A tiny team of oceanographers (a mere trio, to be exact) is forcibly recruited by the “feds,” in order to deal with the situation. Several botched attempts leaves us wondering which is worse: the bad planning or the bad execution. Finally, they hit on the brilliant idea of luring the two monsters back together and letting them kill each other off.
In order to fill the length longeurs between the meager shark and octopus footage, the script tosses in a swelling romance between two of the marine biologists, one of whom is played by Deborah Gibson; apparently a former pop music star, she makes the least convincing scientist since Julia Roberts donned a pair of glasses to look intellectual in FLATLINERS. Meanwhile, DTV perennial Lorenzo Lamas works up a sweat delivering macho intensity that explodes off the screen – or maybe not so much.
Presented with a straight face, MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS, delivers cliched characters, bad dialogue, and laughably unbelievable special effects, all wrapped up in an absurd story that plays like an unofficial remake of KING KONG VERSUS GODZILLA (the melting iceberg unleashing a prehistoric menace, the human plan to pit the two monsters against each other). The main differences are that KING KONG VERSUS GODZILLA was an intentional comedy, and even though the rubber-suited monsters may not have been convincing, at least the actors inside could really mix it up during the climactic battle.
The closest we get to that sort of must-see movie madness in MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS occurs when the Mega Shark leaps hundreds of feet into the air (or perhaps thousands – the scale is not clear) and gobbles up an airplane flying overhead.* For the most part, the monster action is dreary, low-rent CGI, with disappointing digital effects that look, well, disappointingly digital. The lifeless shark fin cutting the surface as it zeros in on a helpless battleship (of the videogame class) is a particular delight, and just in case you can’t believe your eyes that something so bad made it into the final cut, the shameless filmmakers repeat the footage during a second attack scene.
Perhaps we should credit MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS as a “green” film that saves resources through recycling. And speaking of recycling, working on the theory that one control room looks pretty much like another, you will see different groups of anonymous bit players aboard several ill-fated ships whose interiors suspiciously resemble each other. If all of this recycling (combined with the global warming theme) sounds like evidence of liberal bias on the part of the filmmakers, don’t worry: the script reserves its real contempt not for carbon fuel industries but for the federal government, who are derisively dismissed as “the feds” at several points, as if they are somehow to blame for everything that’s going wrong.
Maybe that’s not unreasonable when you thing about it. After all, in this film there is a more than enoughblame to go around.
DVD NOTE: Amazon.com informs potential buyers of the MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS DVD, “This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com’s standard return policy will apply.” So, is there some guy in a basement somewhere, burning these discs on his computer one-by-one as the orders trickle in?
MEGASHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS (2009). Written and directed by Jack Perez. Cast: Deborah Gibson, Lorenzo Lamas, Vic Chao, Jonathan Nation, Mark Hengst, Michael Teh, Chris Teh, Chris Haley.
- This escalates the well-established tradition of enmity between sharks and flying machines, which also includes shark attacks on helicopters in JAWS 2 and GREAT WHITE.