Friday, June 19, 2009

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009)

When a movie called Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus comes out, it is absolutely impossible to pass up. The title encompasses great bad movie subjects: sea monsters, arbitrary conflict, and the juxtaposition of the words "mega" and "giant." MSvGO begins exactly where you might expect something about an epic sea battle to start: a snowy mountain range.
Marine biologist Emma MacNeil (Debbie Gibson) tools around in a minisub to study humpback whales and hammerhead sharks (which both inhabit the arctic waters near Alaska). During her expedition, a lip-glossed helicopter pilot pouts his way through the skies, setting off an LFAS (low frequency active sonar) beneath the water for absolutely no reason.
This arbitrary act of environmental assassination comes back to haunt him, as the LFAS releases none other than MEGA SHARK from its icy slumber, who gobbles up the whirlybird like an aerial chum bucket.

On the other side of the world, an oil derrick off the coast of Japan is attacked by GIANT OCTOPUS, both as retribution for disturbing his habitat, and hamfisted environmental social commentary on the part of the director.
Racist, profane, and ignorant government agent Allan Baxter (Lorenzo Lamas) seeks the help of Dr. Debbie, her Japanese love interest (Vic Chao), and her extremely Irish former professor (Sean Lawlor), who takes time out of his craic at the pub pickin' feckin' fights, eating potatoes, and guzzling Guinness to find his own pot o' gold: the entrapment of these two global menaces. Despite asking for their assistance, Agent Baxter is needlessly mean to the researchers, regularly throwing insults at them for no reason other than to serve as a foil to their reasoned scientific minds.

After their plan to capture each respective creature using pheromones backfires, the trio determine the best hope at mutually assured destruction is to pit the two against each other for a "thrilla in Manila."

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus delivers in all respects. Firstly, the DVD menu rules.
Second, the two actually fight. The CGI is not terrible (though heavily relied upon). They destroy fighter jets, regular jets, bridges, derricks, subs, and destroyers. Most of the characters are unreasonably stupid for their respective positions. During the hunt, the marine biologists debate whether the sonar is picking up the shark or the octopus, as they stare at a distinctly octopus-shaped object on the screen.
There is not one but two laboratory sciencing montages: beakers of colored water poured into other beakers of differently colored water, initial pitfalls, computer readouts, gradual success, falling asleep mid-work, late night coffee, and hunching over microscopes.
Each interior shot features the same two party lights. There are numerous small continuity errors, like when it cuts from a nail-polish-less Debbie Gibson, to the nail polished hand of her stand-in.

Also, it's a good thing they blacked out the stem in the Apple logo, otherwise I'd never know which kind of computer she uses!
And why does the sonar display contain a swarm of tiny penises?
In the spirit of Snakes on a Plane, director Jack Perez (credited as "Ace Hannah") anticipated Internet buzz for a film so wonderfully titled, and assured its moderate success with the inclusion of numerous baffling non sequiturs. The oil derrick scene begins in the middle of a conversation about urinating on a coworker. Before Mega Shark destroys a commuter jet, there is a needless reference to a passenger getting married. When the trio is taken in by the government, Dr. Irish suggests the facility has the "same lighting as Guantanamo." First of all, I don't think Guantanamo has "lighting." Second, if it did, I doubt it would be purple-gelled stage lights positioned under the guards' hands.
But overall MSvGO is a rousing good time. Even though it's self aware, it contains just enough camp to ensure a fun viewing.

What to drink:

Miller High Life wrapped in a paper bag.

Quotable quotes:
American Derrick Worker: We have customs in the States too.
Japanese Derrick Worker: Like urinating on coworkers?

Flight Attendant: Please sit down sir. It's just an air pocket. Thank you.
Passenger: I'm getting married in two days.

Dick: Don't love the ocean so much. It doesn't love you back.

Baxter: Now clearly we're dealing with a menace that no one has ever imagined, much less counted on.
Dr. Shimada: Like Hurricane Katrina.

Baxter: (to Debbie Gibson) A lot of mouth coming from someone whose career is all washed up.

Arbitrary ranking system:

Four sequels and two sasquatch-related spinoffs.

1 comment:

  1. as if i needed more convincing, the DVD menu sealed the deal.