Tuesday, June 9, 2009

MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS

In true, classic exploitation film style, The Asylum has discovered the value of an outrageous title. Like the infamous SNAKES ON A PLANE, MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS (2009) has gotten lots of incredulous internet interest and tons of word-of-mouth since its announcement simply due to the ridiculous title. But ultimately, the question is, does the movie deliver on the outrageous promise of its moniker?

Well, sort of.

The adventure begins when two marine biologists in a "borrowed" minisub happen to be on the spot when a pod of whales crash into an iceberg (!) releasing two frozen prehistoric monsters from its frozen depths – a Godzilla-sized "mega shark" and an equally gargantuan "giant octopus." See how that works? The two monster immediately split up, and set out on separate reigns of terror. The octopus heads for Japan where it attacks ships and off-shore oil platforms. The shark sticks to the American side of the Pacific and chomps down on ships and low-flying (!) 747s. Scientists and military men argue, scientist mix lots of colored liquids together in beakers, and ultimately, because they can’t think of anything else, it’s decided to lure the monsters back to each other and let them fight to the death.

Because that always works.

The plot plays out very much like an old 50’s sci-fi flick, minus the traditional "radiation" explanation for the monsters. The production values are on about the same par, too, with one single set passing as the control rooms of every ship and submarine in the movie. The cast is uniformly awful – ponytailed Lorenzo Lamas plays the most unbelievable military officer ever, and doesn’t even wear a uniform. Deborah Gibson is attractive enough, I guess, but as an actress, she makes a good over-the-hill teen pop star. Let’s not even discuss the so-called supporting players. Ace Hannah’s direction… nah. I can’t go on.

But then, you’re not interested in movie called MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS for the thesping, are you? You want to know how the titular titans acquit themselves, right? Well, prepare yourself for a disappointment. The CGI is particularly shoddy here. Effects shots are brief to the point of ridiculousness. When the Mega Shark leaps from the sea to snag the aforementioned airliner, it’s over so quickly that you wonder why they bothered. There’s no follow-up, either – no shot of the shark dragging the crushed plane down beneath the waves with bodies and debris trailing behind, nothing. The creatures are rarely given any sense of scale, and when they ultimately fight, the fight is slow, boring and consisting of many repeated shots.

The Asylum DVD presents the feature in a sharp, anamorphic widescreen transfer and 5.1 surround sound. The bonus features are: a "behind the scenes" documentary, blooper reel and a bunch of deleted scenes. And, of course, the usual selection of trailers for other current Asylum releases, which, on my disc, had no sound.

So, does MSVSGO actually deliver on it’s "promise?" Well, the monsters are there, and they do fight. And, while it’s a pretty crappy movie, there is some entertainment value in its crappiness. Deborah Gibson is likeable and sorta hot, and Lamas is hilariously bad. With the alcoholic beverage of your choice close at hand, you might get your money’s worth out of a rental. But make sure you have a lot of that beverage handy.

BUY: Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus