Hostage Pick: Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus vs. Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus

Good day all,

I have to open by apologizing for taking so long to send my two cents to y’all, but things have been a little awkward around the bunker since my little grasp at freedom and resulting wilderness adventure. The Lady has been really cool about the whole thing; in fact, it was just the matter of my complete and utter mental breakdown as I worked to accept my fate that kept me from writing. I played tough, but deep inside the inner-hostage was crying. She spent some time rebuilding my psyche and, as a reward, she let a cracker choose what to watch. My choice was probably a little hampered by the whole drooling, psychological recovery thing (think Dewy Cox needing more or less blankets) and decided to look at the Mega Shark movies. My understanding of the whole thing is that the Sci-Fi Network paid to have some bad, 50s style monster movies made; the intent being to re-create the monster, B-movie for the 21st century. The result is a couple of movies that you will either hate or love based on your world view; optimists will see actors who had a very brief moment, holding onto the dream, while pessimist will see the worst of the d-list performing terrible words with computer graphics just below that Discovery Channel show where they pit different animals against each other in cyber-battle (awesome). In either case, these two flicks are the most engaging train wrecks you could hope to fill three hours with and each has a clear nod to a well-known director that made my evening. These two flicks are the modern incarnation of the hideous bastard-child spawned by Godzilla movies and Ed Wood Jr. (that jolly, cross-dresser), and I mean that as a compliment. I will also be handing out the first annual “going for it” award for each film, acknowledging the has-been that has the commitment, if not the skill, to rise above some truly shitty acting (a little). Here we go:

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus

Picture the scene: Deborah Gibson is at the helm of a two-person submarine, researching whales, taking in the “poetry” of some clearly stock footage left over from BBC’s Blue Planet (Ed. Wood nod), when the whales start rushing toward a glacier killing themselves. This mad behaviour could be caused by an illegal, sonar beacon . . . . or . . .  it could be a giant shark chasing a giant octopus chasing a pod of blue whales (and eating the shit out of them). The only thing to erase the trauma for Deborah is brown-bagging cheap whiskey on the beach with her fat co-pilot (who is set up as a best friend, and then never heard from again). The government recognizes her marine biologist chops and calls her team in to help battle the giant sea creatures. The film boasts not one, but two (two!) scientific research montages, with the first cutting to black and white repeatedly in a clear nod to Oliver Stone (I kept waiting for Deborah Gibson to shoot Jack Ruby). Deborah has the good fortune to find love with a Japanese colleague, and you know it’s real because they have the same type of immediate connection as Romeo and my toenail clippings. One point I must concede is that our heroes realize that the key to luring the two creatures into battle, the only hope for the planet, depends on pheromones after banging in a broom closet. This is the exact opposite of how awesome it sounds, and leads to the second research montage, but does hold true to my belief that random hook-ups will save the world. I don’t want to ruin the ending, but let’s just say the battle is everything you would expect based on the production values, but it is so incredibly bad in such an incredibly awesome way that I felt myself getting pulled in.

As far as high cinema goes this thing is a piece of shit. The effects are absolutely terrible, like the graphics the Daily Show created for the royal wedding, but awkwardly mixed in with models (I think, it was too shitty to tell). The writing is a string of clichés and scientific babble that wouldn’t fool a nine-year-old (think the psychologist on Criminal Minds), and most of the performances are hack at best. There are a ton of re-used shots, some flipped to fool you, and they actually try to sell the exact same fight scene at two different points (the octopus has the shark in the same triangle choke until the shark bites the same leg off). All-in-all this thing is an absolute mess, but it is saved by hope. Every person on this shoot, much like the folks that worked with Ed Wood, believe that this movie is their shot. Some are c-listers that had a taste of recognition, some are never-will-bes and, I’m sure, even the guys holding the cameras are hoping this ridiculous mess will lead to another job. The players hold it just straight enough to make it so ridiculous that you have to love the ride.

The winner of the “going for it” award for this chapter is Lorenzo Lamas. You have to feel for the guy, I mean he had some t.v. success with Falcon Crest and Renegade, some recognition and a little fame, so this turn has to be a little rough. The fact is that this guy plays the douche really well. I’m sure he just looks better compared to the turdstorm surrounding him, but he holds a character and delivers lines in a near respectable way. I mentioned to the lady that this movie kind of reminds me of Avatar, in that it has a believable corporate douche and is a terrible fucking movie. Also, the Japanese Navy speaks English on their ships, and they have some white sailors, and one dude looked like a white guy dressed as an Asian guy (yellowface?). Just thought I’d let you know.

Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus

Round two begins with Jaleel White as a shark expert working for the Navy. He has discovered a way to impact shark behaviour by broadcasting the sound of dying fish at different frequencies (seriously) and has a breakthrough. We have a chance to meet his smoking-hot fiance just long enough to feel sad when she dies. You see, Jaleel’s breakthrough attracted the still living mega shark and it killed everybody on the ship but our hero. Understandably our hero’s mental stake is shaken, knowing he brought on the attack that killed his love. The only hope to avert his mental collapse is an offer by a crack team to use his shark knowledge to get mad revenge. The only problem is that another giant creature, Crocosaurus, has awakened from a slumber and has laid eggs all over the world. Jaleel is joined by a scrappy hunter/con-artist he was in the Peace Corp. with, and a stern-faced C.I.A. operative that is sexy and can fly a helicopter. By the way, a giant crocodile can be brought down by a two-inch tube of glowing tranquilizer, just in case you run into one. The twist in this chapter comes from the fact that the mega shark is humanity’s only hope against the new threat, as it is attracted to and feeds on the endless eggs of the crocosaurus lays (you see, it rapidly evolved to have more eggs because it was threatened by the shark. For real). Long story short this thing is equally as horrible and awesome as it’s predecessor.

Again, writing, direction, acting and effects are all the cheapest and weakest possible. There are repeated characters and naval vessels that show up just to be destroyed. The nod in this one is a Bad Boys slow-mo turn to see a helicopter that made Michael Bay’s little soldier stand to, as much as explosions do. The best explanation I can give is that the agent flies a crashed helicopter in at the last second to save our heroes from the shark, which is now a nuclear bomb because it swallowed a nuclear sub whole (that’s new-clear, Mr. Bush) before it is consumed and set off by a volcano. The scenes of the monsters reaching and destroying the cities is ridiculous, laughably ridiculous. The “going for it” award for this gem has to go to Jaleel White. He tries to play confident, unraveling, powerful and brilliant, and while he never quite nails it he tries really hard.

Well folks there’s my double feature and I hope you have the guts to give these a try, because there is something about them that leaves a positive residue. Much like the ninja flick I wrote about recently these are terrible films that have a heart that’s kind of fun. It kind of makes sense that I would reach out to movies that represent the last dream of a lot of untalented people, and I would walk away pulling for them, based on my turn of fate, but I really was engaged by these horrible films. At worst they made my life seem bearable by comparison.

Until the next time, fellow readers, keep living the dream,

The Hostage

P.S. Check out Wizard People Dear Readers, it’s bloody brilliant.

~ by stew37 on May 22, 2011.

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