Few films have inspired more to less, nor answered the appropriately unasked question, "I wonder what Debbie Gibson is up to these days," than the epic-like, blockbusterish, middle-school produced, simultaneously not- and over-acted, unladen with meaning, suckapalooza that is "Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus."
Critics agree! This film actually has that title!
They are likewise unanimous that it seems to be "a movie" with people "saying words" that must have been "recorded in some way" to be played back later on a device of the viewer's choice.
Consensus opinion from those in the know indicates it was "made in 2009."
Its date of production stymied me given the special effects appear as if they had been filmed in some sort of digital bathtub with rubber miniatures, which is timeless as a production value. 2009? 1943? 1604? It was, is, ever shall be.
Usually when technology advances, special effects leap forward. "Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus" defiantly stands up to the bully of high tech cinema by using every computerized trick at its disposal in the worst possible way - like opening a new Word document on your computer then writing your essay on the blank screen with crayons.
The acting, when visible and/or audible, made me long for mimes. Even bad mimes.
Deborah Gibson, (Don't fucking call her Debbie, you miserable bitch!), formerly Debbie Gibson, (Whoopsie! Sorry, Ms Gibson!) has really matured. Indeed, she seems to be at least twenty years more mature than the last time she merited any attention. Her acting does cardboard a disservice. Oh! Cardboard! Why has thou abandoned us?
Lorenzo Lamas, (Please don't call him Debbie), abusively donning a ponytail and sideburns from a different decade, rasps his way through scenes with quips that were fresh in 1963 and intelligence that probably maxed out the same year.
But wait! There are other actors in the film; the Mega Shark producers really worked that angle.
Thrill at the sort-of Irish guy with no apparent purpose!
Wonder at the marvel of the Asian scientist who has to have sex with Debbie Gibson!
Confuse yourself at the width of Debbie's pants in a pastoral sunset silhouette!
But, best of all! Best! Of! All!
Drool, saturate, drench yourself in your own spit at the sight of the apparent method-acting of the Incredibly Intense Submarine Operator (the IISO) who strains himself into a double hernia and a couple minor aneurysms when charged with steering the submarine through a deep-water chasm that JUST TOO DAMN NARROW!!!
(To be fair to the IISO, this is a far better sex scene than the Asian guy and Debbie. Mmmm... long sub... tight chasm... too tight... can't make it... pull out now... no, don't... mmmmmm...)
This would all be fine if evidence suggested that the movie was purposely campy, but it lacked any humor or indicators that it was to be perceived as anything but a deliberate entrant into the realm of cinema.
To address the scientific, continuity or logical errors in the movie would require a book. A book so large that perhaps even Mega Shark itself could not fit its gaping maw around it.
Okay, sorry. I lied. I do have to address one science-y aspect of the film: the size of Mega Shark.
We are told that the eponymous Mega Shark, who I assume also does not wish to be called Debbie, is a live species of the ancient shark Megalodon. Truly, a large and fearsome fish it was. Experts have come to a consensus that adult Megalodon topped out around 60 feet in length.
But horror films would shit out a paltry 60-foot long monster like that. So you expect some exaggeration for the genre. What? Maybe a specimen of 100 feet? 150? 300?
We never know. Most of the "full body" shots of the shark give nothing against which to assess size.
We do see this, though...
(DEAR READER! PLEASE BRACE YOURSELF AND DON'T ASK HOW THIS HAPPENS. I would call this a spoiler alert, but, if you really think this "spoils" any aspect of the movie, then your spoilage threshold scrapes along somewhere near a sand mandala in a ceiling fan superstore. Besides, spoiling something implies an initial state of ripeness.)
(Acting note: In case you missed it, "Holy shit" guy mentions to the flight attendant that he's "getting married in two days." Why? Character development, I guess. Motivation for him getting out of his seat during the turbulence, maybe. So we sympathize for his soon to be comically devoured ass, perhaps. The director really, really wants you, Le Cineaste, to recognize and identify with holy-shit-guy's tragic story arc.
As he plunges seaward, you are meant to think: "I once was going to get married in two days." or "He's so in love that even turbulence scares him; just like turbulence scares me so I must be so in love too!" or "I worry about sharks rudely intercepting my flights and canceling my wedding plans!" The filmmakers want you to get it, you know? It is rather complex, and I wish I could explain to you more fully, but science calls.)
Back to "reality," that's a 4-engine jumbo jet, and the shark looks like it's about twice the length as the plane. A little research tells me that jumbo jets average around 75 meters in length, making the shark somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 meters long. That's about 490 feet. We'll round up and say this shark is 500 feet long.
Later in the movie, in one motion, sharkyface bites completely through the deck of the Golden Gate Bridge.
(Acting note: I know! That was Lorenzo Lamas! Acting! Amazing, right!?)
Sorry, back to the science-like essay.
Now, the Golden Gate Bridge stands about 200 feet off the water where Ol' Giant Gills chomps down, and the bridge deck is 90 feet across. So, in terms of size, this seems a more likely fun-time task when compared to JUMPING INTO THE FUCKING CLOUDS to snatch a jumbo jet biscuit.
However, please keep in mind that the Golden Gate Bridge has survived winds over 70 miles per hour and earthquakes above 7.0 on the Richter scale with essentially no damage. I cannot overestimate enough how much more powerful 70 mph winds and massive earthquakes are than a shark bite, even a shark mega bite.
How much force would the shark have to exert to break so facilely through the cables, steel girders and concrete in one bite? I don't know, but I'd bet good money a shark couldn't do it.
Lorenzo "Debbie" Lamas? Sure, Lorenzo could, but he sports the 1994 Ponytail of Armageddon. Not a fair comparison.
Why am I bothering to write about this? Just setting the table for a little list, and cleansing my soul of this offal. I love bad movies, but this one took itself so seriously. If you're going to move beyond irony, please also move beyond shitting all over the screen.
I thought the purging might be helped by listing some future movies in the franchise.
1 - Irresistible Force vs. Unmovable Object II: This Time It's Even Less Personal
2 - Tornado vs. Dirty Harry
3 - Paul Bunyan vs. The Ents
4 - Ultra Scorpion vs. Peevish Hedgehog
5 - 2007 Handlebar Mustache of Irony vs. 1994 Ponytail of Armageddon
6 - Super Bounty vs. Massive Oil Spill (Documentary)
7 - Terror Bite vs. Terra Byte: The Hardest Drive
8 - Dyna Hitler vs. Knifey Smurf
9 - Large Building vs. The HVAC Smell of Much Mystery
10 - Intellect vs. The Tea Party
11 - Debbie Vader vs. MechaGaGa
12 - Giant Octopus vs. Giant Octopussy
13 - Productivity vs. Uber Facebook
14 - The Spunky Li'l Firefly vs. The Angriest Black Hole
15 - Tsupernami vs. Sponge Warehouse and Wholesale, Inc.
16 - Megathis vs. Enormothat
17 - Morality vs. The Highly Effective Push Up Bra