Tuesday, June 14, 2011

MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID (Blu-ray)

The latest low-budget megamonsterfest from the shameless inmates of The Asylum, MEGA PYTHON VS GATOROID (2011), will be hitting DVD and Blu-ray disc next week from Image Entertainment. Along with the usual cut-rate CGI monster action, this SyFy Channel hit offers the gimmick/stunt casting of 80s mall tarts/pop stars Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, who not only co-star, but provide a couple of catchy songs for the soundtrack.

The ludicrous plot goes something like this: the world's dumbest biologist (Debbie Gibson, MEGA SHARK VS. GIANT OCTOPUS) "rescues" a bunch of pythons from a laboratory and releases them into the Everglades with no regard for the consequences of introducing a new predator species into an established ecosystem. These snakes inexplicably grow to giant size and start chowing down on dogs, forest rangers, poachers, and the local gators. This inspires the world's dumbest park ranger (Tiffany, MEGA PIRANHA) to feed steroids and experimental growth drugs to the aforementioned alligators, in order to give them a fighting chance against the snakes. Needless to say, these geniuses soon find that the mega pythons and gatoroids are breeding like crazy, and the only one who seems to recognize that this is actually a bad thing is visiting herpetologist Dr. Diego (A Martinez, L.A. LAW), who must find a way to destroy the unnatural creatures before it's too late...!

Directed by Mary Lambert (PET SEMATARY), MEGA PYTHON VS GATOROID at least acknowledges that it's ridiculous, and makes some attempt to play the material for laughs. Unfortunately, the intentional comedy generally falls flat, while the unconvincing computer animation and incoherent story frequently inspire derisive guffaws and ironic chuckles. But hey, as long as people, laugh, right? Seriously, I know these movies are produced at an absurdly accelerated pace and on incredibly meager budgets, but would it really cost that much more to actually do a second or third draft on a script once in a while? Or maybe go outside the in-house staff for a writer who actually understands character, plot structure and story logic - and can pen reasonably human-sounding dialogue?

As poorly written as it is, there is still some honest entertainment to be had. Gibson and Tiffany are attractive and enjoyably over-the-top - and their catfight/foodfight is the highlight of the film. Martinez manages imbue his character with some dignity, despite the ridiculous scenario and the inane dialogue he's given. Ex-Monkee Micky Dolenz has an amusing cameo, and for B-movie buffs, it's fun to see the climactic sequences shot at L.A.'s Bronson Canyon cave, despite the movie's ostensible Florida locale. As usual, the rousing Chris Ridenhour musical score is far better than the film it accompanies, and the songs contributed to the soundtrack by the two stars are both quite enjoyable.

Image Entertainment presents MEGA PYTHON VS GATOROID on Blu-ray disc with a 1080p HD, 1.78:1 widescreen transfer that is absolutely pristine; Troy Smith's cinematography is sharp and colorful. Audio is DTS Master 5.1. The only supplements are a "Making Of Featurette" and the trailer. It's too bad - I think they really missed some opportunities here; a commentary track with Gibson and Tiffany might have been a lot of fun, and seems to be a no-brainer. Given director Lambert's MTV past, it would also have been cool if she and the stars had shot a couple of videos to accompany their soundtrack contributions. And no gag reel? Oh well.

The DVD edition is identical in content to the Blu-ray, with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer in standard definition, and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound.

As a movie, MEGA PYTHON VS GATOROID is pretty awful, but as mindless entertainment, it's reasonably successful. Ultimately, it's a tongue-in-cheek Asylum/SyFy monster movie starring two aging former teen songbirds best known for touring shopping malls in the 80s and a slew of CGI reptiles. It's not something I'm likely to ever watch again, but I had a good time with it, and you might too, if you keep your expectations realistic

BUY: Mega Python vs. Gatoroid [Blu-ray]

BUY: Mega Python vs. Gatoroid