Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Mega Shark v Giant Octopus
Mega Shark v Giant Octopus
“You can love the Sea, but it won’t love you back.”
Jarv’s Rating: 2 Changs out of 4
There are some films out there that I want to love. I’m predisposed to think that they are epic, even when every fibre of my being knows that they are actually terrible. This is one of those.
This should be a film that does exactly what it says on the front cover, and look at that cover! However, as is so often the case with aquatic films, it doesn’t. It should be a big, brash and brazen B-Movie, and it isn’t. What it is, is a typically cack handed attempt by those cretins at Asylum to make an A-movie.
The premise of the film is remarkably stupid. A navy test cracks a bit of the arctic releasing our 2 antagonists who then run riot before being led to fight each other. There’s a bit of a fuck up where the shark trashes San Francisco, and the octopus does corn hole an oil rig for no apparent reason, but really, it should be superficial monster fun.
However, at the end of the day, it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong there are laughs to be had with it (as there fucking well should be, what with it being about a Giant Shark and a Mega Octopus fighting) but overall the film struggles to rise above the mediocre, and it’s all self inflicted. I imagine it’s budgetary based, but I’ve got a solution for that that they should have used.
They start so well what with avoiding the mistake of setting the whole film around 2 dimensional characters with little underwater action. They cast utterly hopeless actors in the main roles, and gave them plenty of diabolical dialogue to munch on. It was going so well for a while, until they made a howling mistake. I’ve briefly alluded to it, but for some reason best known to the producers they insisted on using shady CGI for the shark and the octopus.
If you are going to spend cash on effects, which is fair enough, then for the love of god make sure you have enough cash for the effects. I know that sounds like a stupid thing to say. But this film really suffers from them using the same sequences about 6 times. I love b-movies, I think they’re great and I also love shitty effects. It is entirely appropriate for a film about a big FUCKING shark and an even bigger FUCKING octopus that fight for no real reason to feature crap plastic/ foam tentacles, a shark that looks dismal, crappy model work, and useless matte paintings. It all adds to the fun and the charm of the film.
When you go the CGI route, which sadly is where most productions seem to be going, then I personally believe that you lose a lot of the heart of the film. A prime example is Alien 3. The Alien may be slicker than in the previous films, but is it as effective? Do you remember it at all? This is a film that I truly believe would benefit from being less professional and a lot more shoddy. It would, I believe be far more fun to watch different sequences of underwater carnage and laugh at the incompetence than to watch the same sequence multiple times. That’s probably just me though.
Anyhow, is there anything good to be said about it? Well, yes. For a while, I have to say that it is fun. Debbie Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas (no surprise in his case) clearly understand that they’re in a B-movie. (How the fuck did they get Debbie Gibson? Seriously? I know that it’s a long time since her bubblegum pop heyday but are times really this bad?) Talking about which, there is a sex scene that crests previously unscaled heights of incompetence. They don’t even air Debbie’s sweater puppies. I consider this to be a heinous crime. It isn’t as if she hasn’t got form for getting them out at every opportunity. Disgraceful, as gratuitous nudity in a pretty gratuitous sex scene always improves films like this.
Furthermore, there’s no gore in the film. None. Bath toys get destroyed in big eye-catching explosions, but there is no actual gore. What a shame.
To get the most enjoyment out of this film watch it with beer and watch it with the fast forward button. It isn’t a dead loss, no film that features a flying shark or a giant shark chomp the Golden Gate Bridge ever could be, but it never reaches the heights that it could have with either a lot more or a lot less cash. The lesson is- if you can’t afford CGI don’t use it. Practical effects should always be the way forward for schlocky fun.
Jonah did a far more professional review of this, and read his musings here.