Wednesday, November 9, 2011

#450. Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009)

Directed By: Jack Perez

Starring: Lorenzo Lamas, Deborah Gibson, Vic Chao

Trivia:  This was thee first Asylum Studios production to have a theatrical release

From the title alone, you know Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus is going to be a CGI-laden creature extravaganza, but all hopes for convincing special effects are dashed in the opening scene. I mean, how good can the shark or octopus look if ice breaking away from a glacier isn't even convincing? Not five minutes in, and I already had a bad feeling about this film. 

A routine exercise conducted by the U.S. Navy inadvertently releases two prehistoric underwater monsters (a Megalodon and a giant octopus), which were frozen inside an iceberg for thousands of years. It isn't long before every commercial and military vessel in the area is under threat, causing the entire Pacific rim region to panic. Marine biologist Emma MacNeil (Deborah Gibson) teams up with her old college professor, Lamar Sanders (Sean Lawlor) and Japanese scientist Seiji Shimada (Vic Chao), to figure out a way to destroy these creatures, Under the guidance of military liaison Allan Baxter (Lorenzo Lamas), the three determine that the only way to end the reign of terror is to lure these two natural enemies into the same waters, and watch as they fight one another to the death. 

One thing you don't expect to find in these sort of films is well-rounded characters, and that's a good thing, because you don't get a single one in Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. Shortly after the scene in which the creatures are released from the ice, Emma is on the beach, where she's being chastised by her boss, Dick (Mark Hengst), for “borrowing” their facility's submersible without permission. Eventually, the two make their way to the remains of a whale washed up on shore.  Emma tries to convince Dick that the giant mammal was mauled to death, but Dick (determined to live up to his name) arrogantly refutes her findings, filling the role of the closed-minded bureaucrat who's more concerned with pleasing the laboratory's Board of Directors than he is with facts. Dick is incredibly one-dimensional, which is the highest dimension any of these characters ever achieves. 

But you can excuse poor characterizations in a movie like this if the monsters themselves are even remotely entertaining. That's why you watch a film titled Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus in the first place, right? Unfortunately, they're just as weak as their human counterparts. The first time the giant octopus attacks is in Japanese waters, where it destroys an oil rigger. At least we think it destroyed it; we never see more than its huge tentacles hugging the structure. As for the shark, its initial encounter with mankind is more memorable, jumping thousands of feet into the air to grab a commercial plane right out of the sky. But its next maneuver is much less impressive. Closing in on a U.S. Navy Destroyer, dodging one torpedo after another, the shark, charging at full speed, opens its massive mouth, and at the moment of impact...the action cuts away to the next scene, robbing us of the carnage. One of many such disappointments to be found throughout this mess of a movie. 

Watch Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus only if you're in the company of friends. You'll have a great time picking it to shreds.


Kevin Bachelder said...

We had lots of fun talking about this one on our Saturday B Movie Reel podcast.

One of our favorite things was watching the "scientists" pour neon colored liquids into beakers all throughout the movie. :)

DVD Infatuation said...

Kevin: Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment.

Yeah, those neon chemicals were something, weren't they? They pour one into another, then shake their heads in disappointment. Funny...I thought they were trying to hunt down two monsters. Not sure what a test tube turning green instead of blue would tell them about THAT...but never mind!

I'm downloading that podcast now. Can't wait to hear what you all had to say about this one!

Kevin Bachelder said...

As you pointed out in your review there were plenty of things to pick on in this movie but for some reason all the beaker work just stuck with me. So much so that I spent a long time searching the web to find the perfect picture to use on our blog post for this one. I just had to have a beaker photo on there. :)

DVD Infatuation said...

Kevin: Even with so many elements to pick apart, I can see why those neon chemicals caught your attention!

Everyone: check out the URL Kevin above for some more input on this strange film (I'm not sure why it's not posting as a link...please copy the URL and paste it into your browser). You won't be disappointed!