Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus

Rating 1

Written and directed by Jack Perez (using the pseudonym Ace Hannah)

Starring Deborah Gibson (Emma MacNeil), Sean Lawlor (Lamar Sanders), Vic Chao (Seijo Shimada), Lorenzo Lamas (Allan Baxter) and Jonathan Nation (Vince)

Marine biologist Emma MacNeil is plotting the migration patterns of whales off the coast of Alaska using an experimental mini-submarine she has borrowed without permission. At the same time, a US Navy helicopter drops illegal sonar transmitters into the water causing the whales to panic and ram a submerged glacier. This frees a prehistoric shark (a Meglalodon) and giant octopus that had been frozen there, in the middle of a fight to the death, during an ancient ice age.

I watched this film for one reason and one reason only – it is called ‘Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus’. The film received a lot of attention following the online release of the trailer, which had over a million hits on both MTV and YouTube. Although intended as a direct-to-DVD release, the film has attracted enough publicity to be been given a limited theatrical release at a cinema in London’s West End.

At least two British film critics have compared it to the work of the cult 1950s film director Ed Wood, with one suggesting that it is even worse than ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’, which is often cited as the worst film ever made. Quite frankly, this is a rather hysterical reaction to a film that is clearly bad, but which is nothing more than a typical example of the kinds of films broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel every week.

The story is preposterous, obviously, but it would seem to be loosely based on the 1955 monster movie ‘It Came from Beneath the Sea’. The special effects are appalling and often non-existent, indicating the lack of budget, but this doesn’t matter in the slightest. It is actually rather nice to watch a film that is not battered into submission by ten of million of dollars worth of tediously clichéd CGI effects. However, while there was the opportunity to make a virtue of this, instead we get visual effects that would have been an embarrassment in an old episode of ‘Lost in Space’ and no indication of imagination to make up for it. The acting is terrible, ranging from Lorenzo Lamas (who will be familiar to some viewers from ‘Falcon Crest’, ‘Renegade’ and ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’), who doesn’t even seem to be bothering to put in a performance, to Vic Chao, who utters every line of dialogue as if it is a Shakespearean soliloquy. Heading up the cast is Deborah Gibson, who will be better known to most of us as 1980s teen pop star Debbie Gibson.

There is one great moment when the shark leaps up thousands of feet out of the water to bring down a commercial passenger aircraft, but that aside, the film doesn’t have enough ambition to be anything but bad and it is not even bad enough to warrant genuine cult status. It seems to have no self-awareness at all. This is a pity, because it could have been fund to watch. Instead, it is just a typical example of mediocre direct-to-DVD fare of this ilk, of which there is already plenty.

Review posted 10 August 2009

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