Movie review: Mega Shark VS. Giant Octopus VS. Debbie Gibson

15 May

megasharkaff

If you missed the trailer, see it HERE.

cinemagrade c-

Ahoy, Maties! It’s the epic seafood throwdown of the year–nah,scratch that–of the decade!

Mega Shark VS. Giant Octopus, the “highly anticipated” (on the internets, what isn’t these days?) new release from rip-off artists The Asylum heads onto DVD May 19th and in tow it’s bringing Debbie Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas. That’s right, two prehistoric has-beens thaw out in modern times and then engage in a titanic battle to determine who gets to terrorize another day; Oh, and the movie has an enormous shark and a giant octopus in it too.

So, why am I wasting the blog space on this one? As an avid fan of creature features, and particularly those giant beastie films from Japan, I have to believe somewhere in my heart that a movie with the title Mega Shark VS. Giant Octopus can be good, lest I succumb entirely to cynicism. Is it? Not quite.

The production company The Asylum has been previously churning out one mind-numbingly awful rip-off after another. How crass and commercial are they? Consider the recent titles: The Day the Earth Stopped and The Terminators. At the very least, MS VS. GO(Requiem?) is an original concept, in as much as there isn’t another big budget picture with a similar premise coming out this month. So, reviewing this film will be a bit like the critical version of “If you build it, they will come.” I’ll keep laboring until they manage to make one I can actually watch without doing something else at the same time.

The positive note here is that Mega/Giant, Octo/Shark isn’t actually that bad. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a completely ridiculous piece of schlock, with Debbie Gibson bemusedly mugging her way through some of the blurriest, poorly rendered cgi I’ve ever seen while Lorenzo Lamas stares bitterly and wonders why he never got to have Mark Harmon’s career. But, in it’s badness, it actually manages to be fun. Clueless more than it is incompetent, it becomes a beer and pizza movie  perfect for crap meisters that like a bit of the doltish with their action adventures or friends hanging out who want something ridiculous running in the background. So you know–I fall into both camps.

It takes all of its by the numbers pieces, shuffles them up and creates something so lame-brained that it will make Roland Emmerich palm his forehead. But don’t get too self righteous just yet, Emmy. I did manage to make it through MSVSGO,which is more than I can say for 10,000 Years B.C.  This is because the movie delivers basically what it promises. Lots of insignicant humans stand around and plan a way to stop the two newly thawed titans, while the monsters do what they do best–trash stuff.

After Debbie Gibson’s marine biologist manages to disorient and frighten an entire pod of whales(way more amusing than I’m describing it)they smash into a glacier, releasing the Mega Shark and Giant Octo, which I will from here on refer to as Sharky and Ocky. Apparently these two were locked in mortal combat while the Ice Age happened around them. Later, the Irish professor who thinks he is Scottish(he keeps calling Gibson “lassie” ) makes the epic statement “Their hate was greater than their own survival instincts, and they continued to fight.” Yea, Mothra and Godzilla, your little spat is nothing compared to these guys.

The two overblown bathtoys start ransacking ships and stations all over the ocean, and eventually Sharky takes a massive bite out of the Golden Gate Bridge, while Ocky, having already trashed San Francisco in It Came From Beneath the Sea decides he wants to get all kaiju on Japan. One of the movies most hilarious scenes has a guy on a commercial airliner looking out the window in time to see the shark leap out of the water and grab the entire plane in his mouth. What follows is obscured cgi that more or less looks like the animators just traced over that sequence in Blue Planet where a shark leaps into the air after a bird, except trade bird out for airplane.

Things go on like this, until  an out-of-the-blue booty call between Gibson and a Japanese scientist next to the water cooler leads the duo to hit upon the idea of using pheromones to attract the two species towards each other, and then let them pick up where they left off. It’s alot like The Dating Game, but underwater. Everything proceeds as you would expect. Gibson smirks alot, Lamas growls, Sharky and Ocky have an aquatic hugging match that looks like a UFC fight. Then cue the Gibson pop song and the credits roll.

Most of these Sci-Fi Channel original picture thingees(which this one will be, don’t you worry about that) are unwatchable. Just pathetic enough to become boring, but not silly enough to provide anything that could be called a smile, a chuckle or even a grudging smirk. Mega Shark and Giant Octo Go To WhiteCastle  avoids this fate, and the fate of all other Asylum pictures presumably, by being so darn cheerful as it goes about it’s schlocky business. Everyone working here knows what they are doing, and they seem to be having fun. Even Lamas is glad to be back in the spotlight, proof: he still hasn’t gotten rid of the mullet.

Mega Shark VS. Giant Octopus isn’t great or even very good, and I actually wish the fx had been better because it would have helped the picture considerably. But then, you have to give the movie its props for providing us with a shark eating airplane and Lamas wistfully  proclaiming “You can love the Sea, but it won’t love you back.”

I sort of enjoyed it for what it was, and yea, if we get a MSVSGO 2: Aquatic Boogaloo, I’ll watch it. And if you have read this far, it’s likely so will you.

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7 Responses to “Movie review: Mega Shark VS. Giant Octopus VS. Debbie Gibson”

  1. Xiphos May 16, 2009 at 12:38 am #

    So, Bartlby is it? Is this your new joint now? Are your former haunts null and void?

    • Bartleby May 16, 2009 at 8:34 pm #

      No, not at all. I’ll be around…and around..and around…but home is here.

  2. Herb May 16, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

    Congrats on the new site. Looks good. Hmmm. Was that a reference to The Highwayman? I think it was.

    • Bartleby May 16, 2009 at 9:52 pm #

      I was a highwayman….along the coach roads I did ride, sword and pistol by my side…

  3. Lhynard May 17, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    So, you actually were serious about sharks and octopi at church this morning…?

  4. lordbronco November 7, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    Good review Jonah-I liked jarv’s slightly more bitter take-but sounds like you guys agree on the fundamentals

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Mega Shark v Giant Octopus « Werewolves On The Moon - November 6, 2009

    […] Jonah did a far more professional review of this, and read his musings here. […]

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