Some movies have titles that lend an air of mystery. Other movies have titles that let you know exactly what you should expect from start to finish.
Cast and Crew Information
Deborah Gibson as Emma
Lorenzo Lamas as Allan
Vic Chao as Seiji Shimada
Sean Lawlor as Lamar
Written and directed by “Ace Hannah,” which the IMDB says is an alias for Jack Perez. (With a name like “Ace,” you knew it had to be an alias for something, right?)
Two natural prehistoric enemies were frozen in ice in midcombat. They are freed by accident, and immediately flee the scene instead of continuing their battle. It’s up to a handful of oceanographers to lure them back into proximity with each so they’ll destroy themselves and stop killing every human that goes near an ocean, whether by boat or plane.
The landscapes shot in the first few seconds look amazing.
Everything after those first few seconds.
We’ve seen monster movies before, starting in 1933 with King Kong. It’s hard to make an original mark in these movies, and this one doesn’t appear to try. I give it 1 out of 6.
The effects shots seemed okay (though not great) the first time I saw them. Then they were used, reused, and reused throughout. To top it off, the original location shots of a minisub in water looked amateurish, but only due to textures, and not design. When the battles (eventually) start, we get torpedos exploding near the target, but not on target. The target (Mega Shark in the vast majority of cases) is shown using the same footage used for swimming quickly, and things explode near him without ever seeming to hit him. It truly looks like they generated 5 minutes of unique CGI and then used it to fill 30 minutes of screen time. I give it 2 out of 6.
The story is horrible. (Sadly, it’s better than the acting, effects, and production.) As one might expect from the title, the only thing this movie could possibly have going for it would be battle scenes between two giant monsters. I came into this expecting a knock-down, drag out battle raging for the last half hour of the flick. Instead, we get a lot of trite dialogue between our three lead stereotypes (female professional, Irishman, Japanese man) and very little actual combat and destruction. We see two preliminary attacks, and then a map of attacks that shows dozens. We get natural enemies who, apparantly, will attack each other on sight, except for when they are first thawed out and take off in different directions, completely ignoring each other. We have a love story founded on seemingly nothing; there’s under 30 seconds of personal dialogue before they head for the broom closet. We have an initial mission which we know is secret because they say so right in a public radio transmission. We have a partner in crime introduced at the start who then completely disappears. (There should have never been a Vince. That should have been Lamar from the start.) We have two major battles with intent to capture at the end of the second act, and we’re only shown one of them. Generally speaking, there is a complete lack of logic or character development. I give it 2 out of 6.
The acting isn’t acting, it’s line recitation. There’s really no other way to describe it. I give it 1 out of 6.
The production is the worst part of the film. The editing is horrendous. I’m going to spoiler guard two of the most outrageous examples:
- We see footage of a normal day at the Golden Gate bridge, with traffic flowing in both directions. Then Mega Shark takes a bite out of the middle of the bridge, making it impassible. The ensuing panic is established by cutting to identical footage of normal traffic flow at one end of the bridge, as though the people on the bridge hadn’t even noticed the attack!
- Mega Shark and Giant Octopus have their great battle and kill each other. (Giant Octopus had Mega Shark in a bear hug. I have no idea how that killed Giant Octopus.) They are declared dead, people go home and have their little nonsensical epilogue, and then it cuts back to the original battle just a few seconds after we last saw it. Huh? What’s the time frame?
We have characters talking about how they love swimming with whales while listening to Mozart, but the credits confirm that the music we hear was Bach. All outdoor action happens either at sunset or sunrise. Light flashes and camera tricks are used to make the science sequences seem flashy and exciting. (I’m honestly excited about science, but how they know that a compound would need to be luminscent before they figured out what kind of compound they would need is beyond me.) I firmly believe that Ed Wood could have made a better movie given this budget today. (And yes, I know he’s been dead for over 30 years. That might not matter in this case.) I give it 1 out of 6.
The emotional response isn’t even good. As I said, I went in expecting a large portion of the film to be the actual fight between Mega Shark and Giant Octopus, and I think that sequence was the same 15 seconds of footage repeated 6 or 7 times. I knew the rest would be terrible, but it’s not the fun kind of terrible that I was hoping for. I give it 2 out of 6.
Overall, this can’t be enjoyed on its own merits, and those who enjoy watching truly terrible flicks or monster fight flicks can find some that are much more satisfying elsewhere. I give it 1 out of 6.
In total, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus receives 10 out of 42.