Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus: Worst Movie Ever?

Mega Shark vs. Giant OctopusThere is a certain point where the quality of a movie deteriorates such that the film transitions from good to bad then to so-bad-its-good.  Admittedly, I often enjoy watching the few films which transgress the border between bad and “how in the world did this script get funded”.  The issue is there is a level of skill needed to achieve that hallowed level of putrid.  Directors such as Paul W. S. Anderson (Alien Vs. Predator), Stephen Sommers (GI Joe) and the current reigning monarch Uwe Boll (House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, In the Name of the King, etc) have all successfully produced films which are so bad they are actually quite enjoyable – particularly if watching while inebriated.

So, naturally when I came across the poster and trailer for an obviously small budget project by the title of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, I was intrigued – maybe even a little elated at the infinite possibilities of suck.  A quick viewing of the trailer only reinforced my suspicions that a new undisputed heavyweight champ of camp may be fast emerging.  I mean, how can you not expect a horribly over-the-top movie where a 1500 foot long shark jumps out of the water, bites a flying 747 in half and drags it back into the depths of the ocean to be such a bad movie that it devolves into a comedy?

Imagine my surprise when I watched (most of) the movie and found myself drowning in disappointment.  Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus is bad, there is no question here.  It’s so bad that it should have been hilarious.  I should have been laughing so hard that my abs would be sore the next day.  In reality, it’s just so bad that you’ll want to be environmentally unfriendly and toss the DVD into the microwave and let it run overnight.

First of all, the acting is pretty much on par with – if not worse than – your typical Syfy Channel produced made-for-TV movie of an equally absurd subject, which for a movie of this ilk is to be expected.  But even the ponytail sporting awesomeness of a finely clothed, grizzled naval officer portrayed by none other than Captain Camp himself, Lorenzo Lamas, can’t do much to save the dialog, which is more like periods of whispering and shouting thanks to the awesome (insert dripping sarcasm here) microphone work by the crew.

The editing is atrocious – the director used so many random flashes of light throughout his B-roll footage that I almost had a seizure, but what really pushes this movie past the ‘so bad its good’ point is that it’s just boring.  I will usually watch any movie from start to finish.  Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus I had to fast forward in many, many places because once I realized the dialog couldn’t make this film funny all I really wanted to see was cheesy action – like a huge shark jumping out of the San Francisco Bay to chomp the Golden Gate Bridge in half.  Moments such as this account for maybe 5 minutes of the 88 minute run time.  The rest of the movie is essentially just bad dialog.  Really, really bad dialog.  Not ‘so bad its funny’ bad either, more along the lines of ‘stop talking before you impede the advancement of the human species’ bad.  Like so bad it makes Steven Segal look like an Oscar winner.  Like so bad that that David Caruso would groan in agony from watching it.  Like so bad…well, you get the idea.

Speaking of which, allow me to address writer / director Jack Perez for a moment.  Jack, did you go to school at all?  Did it not occur to you that a movie so full of really absurd continuity problems can neither be taken seriously nor be enjoyed for just being an awful movie?  I don’t really even know where to begin with this.  How about the Mega Shark – a 1500 foot long Mega Shark no less – swimming at 500 knots (that’s 575 mph to the nautically challenged)?  A Boeing 747 flies slower, though maybe that’s how the shark was able to bite one right out of the sky.  Or how about said Shark moving at 575mph through the ocean while chasing a submarine which is somehow able to outrun it?  I’m not a boat guy, but I’m pretty certain there isn’t a single buoyant object on the planet that can move that fast.

My personal favorite was the whole set up for the film – which by the way took abysmally long to establish due to the painful editing.  Really, that cute little seven year old Asian girl that did the commercials for Windows 7 could have done a better job putting the sequence together.  Anyway, so some classified top secret military sonar experiment in Alaska finds its way to the toe of a large glacier in an apparently uninhabited area (where, of course, the protagonists are in a small submarine studying a nearby pod of whales).  The sonar activates and all the whales decide to start ramming into the glacier (because whales apparently do that sort of thing), which causes a huge chunk of ice to cleave into the ocean instantly releasing the Mega Shark from its frozen-for-millions-of-years captivity.  Never mind the fact that any animal which might be frozen in a glacier wouldn’t instantly, if at all, come back to life.  Never mind the fact that there isn’t a single glacier on earth which is composed of sea water and thus there isn’t a single glacier on earth which would harbor a frozen shark.  But how about that our Mega Shark is supposedly 80 some odd million years old, yet the oldest ice on earth is only about 750,000 years old – and it isn’t anywhere near Alaska.  Perhaps this is a time traveling Mega Shark?  We may never know.

I could literally go on and on here.  The stock footage of the Battleships with their guns lowered and pointed straight forward which happen to still be firing; the Naval submarine with “emergency super turbo boosters”; the pilot of the aforementioned submarine getting so nervous about his steering in an underwater canyon that he snaps, pulling a gun on his captain which results in a strangely homoerotic Mexican standoff which is only resolved when our generically forgettable 95 lb heroine TKO’s the instigator with a right hook (though I have to admit this scene was fairly amusing); the giant Octopus tentacle swatting a fighter jet out of the air, etc.  I really don’t know if writer / director Jack Perez thought he was being funny, or if he thought this would actually make a good movie or what.  All I know is he sucked in doing it, and not in a good way.

All I wanted out of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus was a stupid, campy movie with a horrible plot, cheesy one-liners, bad special effects and unnecessary drama at all the wrong times that I could laugh uncontrollably at.  What I got was a stupid, campy movie with a horrible plot, cheesy one-liners, bad special effects and unnecessary drama at all the wrong times that ended up boring me so much that I actually felt like going outside to watch the grass grow, and I’m not being sarcastic whatsoever when I say that.  Why, Jack Perez could you not deliver on this simple formula?  Why is that so much to ask for?

I really can’t call this the worst movie I’ve ever seen, because that would grant it recognition deserving of jeering and lampooning for years to come.  That would grant it legitimacy as a contender among the greats by Uwe Boll and Paul W. S. Anderson.  What can be said about Jack Perez and his non-masterpiece of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus is that it takes skill to fail, but it takes something much more to fail at failing.

Maybe Wall Street should give him a job.

Grade: F | Review by Bryan Swan

By Bryan Swan
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