This Shark, Swallow You Whole.
Strange as it is to say, there’s a clear hierarchy among killer shark movies (are there any other kind? I know of no “Friendly shark movies” or “Kinda-sorta mostly apathetic and sort of bored shark movies”). Clearly, the gold standard is Spielberg’s 1975 Jaws, not only the greatest shark movie ever, but one of the greatest movies ever, period. After that, things get dicey. There are the remaining Jaws movies, running up to Jaws: The Revenge, all of which are varying degrees of crap, but equally varying in their entertainment value. They were followed by endless numbers of copycats, such as Great White, Dark Waters, or Red Water. Then there’s the newer crop, featuring science-gone-mad sharks, such as Deep Blue Sea. Then there are the Sci-Fi channel staples, usually focusing on Carcharodon megalodon, otherwise known as the Megalodon. These are the bottom of the barrel, featuring G-List actors like Antonio Sabato, Jr., and titles like Shark Hunter, and Shark Attack III.
There have been relatively few giant octopus movies — the only ones I can think of are the 50’s drive-in feature It Came From Beneath The Sea, and a couple of entries from earlier this decade, all titled Octopus, usually featuring either a mutant tentacled beastie, or just a big fuckin’ octopus.
And then there’s Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus.
It’s below all of those. In fact, there’s about sixteen placeholder rungs on the ladder for future crappy shark and/or octopus movies. This one is below all of those. It is, as we are fond of saying around these parts, shitballs retarded. And by shitballs retarded, I mean, it’s fucking hysterical. Starring Lorenzo Lamas (!) and Debbie Gibson(!!!), it’s about a marine biologist (Gibson) who, while piloting a research sub looking for crappy CGI whales, encounters — you guessed it — a prehistoric big fuckin’ shark and a prehistoric big fuckin’ octopus, frozen in ice. And then… I dunno. Some shit about active sonar, and a helicopter explodes because of the whales and wind and perhaps severe mental retardation and… somehow the ice cracks? And *poof!* the shark and the octopus are instantly unfrozen, wide awake, and looking for action. Seriously. After 18 million years of being frozen in ice, they immediately start looking for shit to fuck up. It’s awesomely stupid.
Anyway, there’s a bunch of other nonsense — a government attempt at a cover up, with the eeeeeevil government being lead by Lorenzo Lamas overacting more than Pacino in Scent of a Woman, just with a fake tan and a pony tail like my cousin Tania (who is a lovely girl with lovely hair, but… dude, Lorenzo. I’d like to be the first to welcome you to the 21st friggin’ century). There’s a wise, lecherous old Irish professor whose accent runs the gamut from Groundskeeper Willie to that Lucky Charms twerp to completely unaffected. If it wasn’t so idiotic, it might be accidental genius. There’s also the Japanese scientist that Gibson falls in love with after about a minute of conversation, who says really deep, meditative things, none of which make a speck of goddamn sense.
But really, you don’t care about any of that, do you? I sure as hell didn’t. You care about big fuckin’ shark and big fuckin’ octopus-related mayhem. Well, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus certainly has that, in it’s bizarre, stilted style, and funded-on-pocket-lint budget. The actions scenes basically consist of the following camera shots:
People screaming/proclaiming things like “they don’t rest, they just kill” (actual line, stolen/paraphrased from Jaws, as is much of the dialogue.
Shot of CGI shark and/or octopus coming towards the ship/submarine/oil tanker
Shot of said ship/submarine/oil tanker (rendered in CGI by a blind, drunken howler monkey)
Shot of people screaming
Shot of CGI shark and/or octopus
Shot of ship/submarine/oil tanker
Shot of people screaming
Shot of CGI teeth and/or tentacles
Shot of people screaming filmed by cameraman in the midst of a fit of apoplexy
That’s essentially what you get. It’s all gloriously moronic, amateurish and kind of pathetic. But if you watch it in the right mindset (read: drunk), it’s also a laugh-until-you-snort good time. Gibson might be the worst singer/musician-turned-actor since The Fat Boys, although it’s almost unfair to single her out. Everyone, to a man or woman, is laughably bad. The dialogue is no picnic either, and when combined with the brutally bad writing and direction, it’s like a big, beautiful melting pot of suckerrificness. A shitballs retarded stew of glee. It’s like seriously bent sex — it blurs the line somewhere between pleasure and pain.
Even more fun, particular for those critical thinkers out there, is the science. I mean, I’m no scientographist — but even so, the science makes the science of Deep Blue Sea look Nobel-worthy. The solution to finding the creatures is figured out by essentially combining shot glasses of food coloring while pensively looking at Apple IIe’s in a high school cafeteria dressed up to look all laboratory-like. When explaining why the creatures are drawn to fight each other, the studly Japanese scientist (hey, kudos on the interracial relationship, though) somberly states that it’s because, “the laws of physics apply.” Um. Yeah. OK. They also develop the theory that, in addition to the laws of physics, the big fuckin’ shark and the big fuckin’ octopus are drawn to each other out of a inexplicable, deep seated hatred of each other. Seriously. I don’t know if the shark slept with the Octopus’s girlfriend, or if 20 million years ago, someone said something about somebody’s momma, or what. But “only a hate stronger than their combined survival instincts” led them to battle it out while the rest of the sea creatures were escaping the ice age.
Re-read that last sentence. If you’re not drinking yet, please start.
But my favorite, the best part, the absolute, fantastic cherry on this idiot-tastic sundae, is the sheer scale of the monsters, and the nature of the mayhem they wreak. I did a quick Wikipedia searchamabob, and apparently, the largest estimate for Megalodon size was about 60 feet long. In this delightful picture, with absolutely no explanation or logic, the shark is, um… bigger than that. I mean… way bigger. At one point, Paddy O’Stereotype estimates the teeth of the shark to be… wait for it… eleven feet. The TEETH. The shark bites battleships in half. IT EATS THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, PEOPLE. It also, as you’ve no doubt seen in the trailers, jumps about 5,000 feet into the sky and bites a 747 jet, destroying it in mid-air. The octopus is similarly wildly beyond proportion. It destroys an oil tanker, and it abuses and destroys multiple nuclear submarines (each over 200 feet - yeah, I’m a fact checking machine, folks) simultaneously. It’s as if they poured a bunch of LSD into a hyperactive child’s juice box, and then let him do the creature design.
I know, I know. You’re probably desperately wondering what I was wondering: why in the jumping Jehosaphat humping fuck would the shark eat a plane? Or a bridge? Those answers you’ll have to watch the movie to answer. And when you find those answers, please tell me, because I sure as hell couldn’t figure it out. I felt like Navin Johnson in the sniper scene of The Jerk, screaming, “He hates these submarines! Stay away from the submarines!”
Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus is the (now available) straight-to-DVD product of The Asylum production company, notorious rip-off masters of such films as Transmorphers, AVH: Alien Vs. Hunter, and Sex Pot. I swear to baby Godtopus, I did not make any of those titles up. I’ve actually seen a few of their films, because I am a generous sucker for wickedly bad sci-fi. This one? The best and worst of the lot. It’s the dumbest movie you’ll see this year, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
TK writes about music for Pajiba. He likes dogs, raising the dead, tacos, big fuckin’ sharks and big fuckin’ octopi. You can email him here.