Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Guest Review: MegaShark vs Giant Octopus

I mentioned seeing this on the latest episode of Reel Insight.  When I sat down to write an actual review, I knew my brother, Tom, with whom I saw the movie along with his fiancee, would do a much better job describing the experience.  So here is his review of MegaShark vs Giant Octopus.

Action movies always require of the viewer some level of suspension of disbelief.   We're not supposed to question it when Jason Bourne emerges unscathed from a barrage of bullets, only to turn and fire three perfectly-placed shots into the foreheads of his assailants.  And somehow, the love interest never catches on to how similar Clark Kent and Superman look or how Peter Parker always seems to arrive just after Spiderman leaves.  But none of these films can prepare us for the level of suspension of belief required for a battleship-sized extinct shark jumping 20,000 feet out of the ocean and timing a perfect chomp on a jumbo jet cruising at 500 miles an hour.  Such is the awesomeness of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.  

For movie-goers who thought the utmost pinnacle of American cinema was Snakes on a Plane, this film will not disappoint.  Never mind that both animals prefer feeding on inanimate metal objects such as oil rigs, submarines, and in one particularly memorable scene, the Golden Gate Bridge.  Never mind that a battleship fires its guns straight ahead and up into the air to fend off a shark.  If you can let go of any shred of plausibility, decent acting, or plot continuity you might expect from a movie-going experience, this film is a heck of a good time.  

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus is the type of movie that the guys from Mystery Science Theatre 3000 would sit and make make wisecracks about, but it is so over-the-top awful that no wise cracks are necessary for it to be hilarious.  The graphics for special effect scenes (which are repeated identically throughout the film to stay within budget) look like they were made using Microsoft Paint, and evoke late 1980's Atari video games.  Perhaps this is why pop-singer Debbie Gibson fits perfectly in the lead role, as no one has heard from her since the late 1980's either.  Gibson delivers lines as if she was randomly selected from the audience at a film-making demonstration at a Universal Studios theme park.  Her co-star, along with The Bold and the Beautiful's Lorenzo Lamas, Sean Lawlor takes on an accent that Jess took to be Australian and I thought was supposed to be Southern until it was revealed that he is, in fact, Irish.  The actors work together in a science lab, studiously pouring liquid from viles into beakers until the liquid glows bright green, at which point they look at each other and nod, thus letting the audience know this is the outcome they were hoping for.   

There is a strong environmental theme throughout Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.  For instance, the two monsters are awakened from their dormancy after an illegal US Navy SONAR exercise confuses a pod of whales in the Arctic who then crash into a glacier, cracking it open and releasing the ancient creatures frozen inside.  As Gibson's character explains, mega shark and giant octopus are natural enemies and were frozen mid-fight, which makes perfect sense because most things freeze while thrashing violently in the water.  All of this has something to do with global warming.  Also, the scientists are adamantly opposed to killing either creature because, as the only one of their kind, they are of course an endangered species.  They seem to be assuming that the shark and the octopus are somehow planning to breed with each other, thus creating the fearsome MegaGiant Sharktopus!  (Why not, it worked for Donkey and Dragon in Shrek!)  

In the end, the scientists' plan works and they lure the two creatures together who both manage to kill the other one at the same time.  They do this using "pheremones," which I'm pretty sure the screen writers read about on the side of a jar of honey.  In the final scene, the characters sit on a beach and reflect on their adventure when they are approached by a colleague urgently describing another "disturbance" in the North Sea, thus setting us up for the sequel, entitled (I'm not making this up)...Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus.

And if there aren't enough over-sized heterotherms for you in that film, stay tuned for the final installment in the trilogy, due out later in 2011,Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, in which Debbie Gibson is joined by (oh how I wish I were making this up)...Tiffany.  


Nick said...

Nice review! Yeah, I need to watch this with other people. I watched it alone and was bored.

There IS a movie called "Sharktopus," by the way. Just thought you'd like to know that.

Jason Soto said...

Mega Python vs Gatoroid aired on the "sci Fi" channel earlier this year. It'll be out on DVD in June. I'm so looking forward to it.

Yeah, I was a bit underwhelmed by Megashark/Giant Octopus but maybe I didn eed to see it with friends. Oh well.

Jess said...

It really was a blast mocking the movie and adding our own thoughts. Particularly since Tom and I are biologists by training.

CS said...

I recently watched this film and was won over by the silliness of it all. I agree that the film really works well if you have someone else to view it with.

On a side note, I found it funny that the most unbelievable aspect of the entire film is the love story. I am willing to buy the idea of a Mega Shark, and even a Giant Octopus, but there is no way Gibson would fall for the guy that she does. Talk about far fetch. LOL