FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE...beware yon spoilers!

May 19, 2009

Mega-Shark vs Giant Octopus vs Final Girl

When the trailer for Mega-Shark vs Giant Octopus began making the rounds a couple of weeks ago, it spawned an internet boner heard 'round the world. How could it not? Among the tantalizing highlights are a mega-shark chomping the Golden Gate Bridge, a mega-shark leaping into the air to chomp a commercial airliner, and the promise of appearances by Lorenzo Lamas and Deborah Gibson. If there's that much awesome packed into a two-minute trailer, then surely the other 90 minutes of the film will be so awesome that Mega-Shark vs Giant Octopus will rip through the very fabric of space and time and create a new universe all its own, right? Well, those were my expectations, anyway, and I really don't think they were too high.

The fact that MS vs GO comes from The Asylum is either a cause for alarm or for celebration, depending on your tastes. The Asylum, see, is the Designer Imposter Fragrances of the movie world: they're the ones responsible for Snakes on a Train. When The Day the Earth Stood Still hit theaters, The Asylum rushed to release The Day the Earth Stopped. Michael Bay's Transformers, meet The Asylum's Transmorphers...and so on and so on. They're shameless, and I kinda dig that. However, my grudging admiration doesn't mean their films are actually any good; rather they're an orgy of awful: bad acting, bad CGI, bad green screen, and bad writing combine to form a sweaty miasma of- you guessed it- bad movie awesomeness. Suffice it to say, Mega-Shark vs Giant Octopus had a lot to live up to.

If there's one thing I learned from my beloved Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (and believe me, I've learned way more than one mere thing!), it's that nothing gets the blood pumping like hot, hot underwater mini-sub throttle action. Right off the bat, MS vs GO doesn't disappoint: Deborah Gibson and a pal are tooling around in a mini-sub, looking for...stuff...and there's plenty of button-pushing and throttle throttling to satisfy even the most cynical movie fan.

What's perhaps most magical is that sometimes Deborah Gibson is wearing goth nail polish, and sometimes she's not.

Let's get this out of the way: I love Deborah Gibson in this movie. I like the fact that she's got some years on her. She's earnest, a bit charming, and she manages to say lines like "There's poetry here!" in a way that doesn't completely make you want to kill yourself. Bravo, Asylum, for casting her. I hope she's in every movie ever made from now on, amen.

Some Army dudes or something or other drop some sonar something something...eh, it didn't make much sense. Just know this: the mega-shark and the giant octopus were frozen in place as they were grappling (presumably) to the death (the Ice Age came on fuckin' fast, y'all), but now they're free! Free to grapple! Free to fight! Free to be you and me KILL!

And kill they do, sort of. Frankly, the trailer shows all the best bits, like when the mega-shark takes down the Golden Gate Bridge...

...or when it inexplicably leaps...what, 15,000 feet into the air to take down a jumbo jet:

Besides the OBVIOUS amazingness of the sequence, the shark vs plane scene provided another moment that will live forever in my heart of hearts: as the plane hits some turbulence, a stewardess asks a man to take his seat. The man replies, "I'm getting married in two days." It makes no sense- did he then expect her to respond with "Oh, sir, we had no idea- in that case we'll go around the turbulence!"? I assume it's supposed to add some poignancy to the man's imminent death at the mega-teeth of mega-shark, but all it adds, in the end, is more nonsensical awesomeness.

These positively mysterious deaths cause Deborah Gibson and her cronies to DO SOME SCIENCE. Apparently they work at the Kool-Aid Institute for Underwater Studies, as their "research" involves pouring one colored liquid into a container of another colored liquid, then frowning at the results.




My oh my, I love it when people do science in movies.

After she has sex with a co-worker in the employee breakroom, Deborah Gibson has an idea: they should use pheromones to lure the mega-shark and the giant octopus into some kinda traps! It's a foolproof plan, I tells ya! Lorenzo Lamas shows up as some sort of...err, Army guy, I guess, whose job it is to have a ponytail and to glower.

I'll admit, Mega-Shark vs Giant Octopus was a somewhat rollicking good time up until this point; then everyone piled into a submarine and the proceedings came to a big, fat, grinding halt as there was about a half an hour of this:

Deborah Gibson looking concerned, the...uh...submarine driver looking nervous, the captain saying "steady!", and Lorenzo Lamas hiding his face in shame. Seriously, this went on forever.

Eventually, the mega-shark and the giant octopus resume their battle, and I have to wonder what happened between them that caused them to hold a grudge for millions of years. I bet it involved infidelity. Somehow, in my dreams, a weave is also involved.

The biggest fault with Mega-Shark vs Giant Octopus is that there's simply not enough mega-shark vs giant octopus. That's what folks wanna see- these two CGI behemoths duking it out. We want to see more ridiculous, impossible outrageousness. If the shark took down the Golden Gate Bridge, then why couldn't the octopus go after the Statue of Liberty? It's all made out of computer anyway, so the filmmakers should just balls-out go for it. It's not about making it real, it's about making it fun. Unfortunately, the fun to not-fun ratio in this film is roughly 1:5. I expect those odds to improve in the sequel. Yes, the ending sets up for one, and yes, I'm already looking forward to it- especially if Deborah Gibson is back to do more science!

21 comments:

Jay Clarke said...

awesome, can't wait to see this flick. Any drinking game ideas?

Joey Moreau said...

AWESOME! God, I love this site. And a bad shark movie always brightens my day.

Craig Blamer said...

Stay away from Monster, The Asylum's knockoff of Cloverfield... you get interminable time of folks nattering at the shaky-cam, but no monster (just an occasional glimpse of tail, and a looped roar effect that sounds more like a moo-can).

Elwood Jones said...

I guess this movie, is just going to have to tie me over, until "MEG" finally gets it's release ( and until it does I will keep banging on about it ). Glad to hear that I wasn't the only one disapointed by this film, even though it's managed to grab the attention of none obsure movie fans, seeing how it recently had a mention on Radio 1.
As for a drinking game, I guess you could just drink, everytime they loop the same footage, such as the fight sequences, or perhaps everytime a title card pops up telling you the location, even if you've seen it five times already!!

Kudos to you Stacie though for starting off another bandwagon, for us all to jump on with this movie :)

B.E. Earl said...

You know, I was just looking up Debbie Gibson on the Wikipedia and it appears that she and Lorenzo Lamas have been romantically linked in the past. (Like they were banging or something. Just thought I would clear that up.)

And Lorenzo Lamas supported John McCain in the last election. See what you can learn on the Wiki?

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

Snakes on a Train? Really? Who ever cooks up their titles must've come from the porn industry (Halloweenie, anyone?).

Neil Sarver said...

For what it's worth, I supported banging Deborah Gibson in the last election.

And my copy of this is not in my mailbox. Phooey!

Koompa said...

I too have a cynical admiration of The Asylum. Their imitation movies remind me of my younger days when my parents couldn't afford those fancy big-budget toys so I had to settle with making my own versions out of Lego blocks.

BTW: My Lego X-wing was TIGHT. It had a grappling arm that could hold it's own damn light saber!

spazmo said...

There should've been an inspiring training montage showing Mega-Shark trying to get back into competitive-level shape for the big throwdown. They could've shown him swimming against strong currents, eating raw eggs (or uh, airplane food), using the transatlantic telegraph cable as a jump-rope, etc.

Then, during the big finale, he's got the upper hand, and everyone thinks it's over but then *BAM* NO! Giant Octopus has one last trick up his sleeve(s) and stabs Mega-Shark with the Seattle Space Needle which has been dipped in poison. THE END (FIN)

bwana said...

Sounds okay BUT am I gonna want to take MS vs. GO home and eat its pussy?

Stacie Ponder said...

Alas, I'd have to say no. Unless manybe you're REALLY wired.

OCKerouac said...

The idea of this film could be the coolest thing ever, which right off the bat makes the application virtually impossible. Such is the conundrum that is the human mind.

Some day we will achieve what we dream... I expect the opening salvo in this filmic revolution to be 'Ludlow'...

Have I sufficiently raised my expectations to incalculably unattainable?

Stacie Ponder said...

Oh dear lord yes...yes, you have!

Chantal said...

that movie took my brain and went away with it. I got lost after seeing it. Why on earth....

Dark Side said...

Yep! I put this movie in my "Top 10 Greatest Movie Titles of All Time" article. Having Debbie Gibson starring = icing on the cake! Now we need Tiffany to star in "Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus Vs. MechaGamera" and then we'd really have a franchise.

Anonymous said...

You got to admire Asylum for their persistence in ripoffs. I just wish the price of their films reflected their cheapness.

Bernie

bacci40 said...

drinking game for movie

every shot of a bird in flight...take a drink

every title shot telling you where the characters are in the world...take a drink

you will be shit faced around the 30 minute mark

debbie gibson needs to sue her plastic surgeon...lorenzo lamas is now prettier than she is

coffee fan said...

I suspect that my enjoyment of "Mega Shark" would be directly proportional to the amount of alcohol I consumed beforehand

lisa said...

Ah Stacie i now doubt the film will be as entertaining as your post about it, bless (non-religious) you.

On a side note the last time i saw Deborah "Debbie" Gibson was in an episode of the original 90210 when David was trying to get Prince or someone to play at the School Prom and accidentally called Debbie Gibson and he incredibly/not suprisingly recognised her speaking voice in the 12 second conversation they had, who knew 15 years later that voice would say "thriller in Manilla we'll get them to kill each other".

Bless the Debbster too.

Jeff said...

I simply cannot wait to see this!!

Nick said...

i can't wait either. Netflix says "very long wait" though. dammit.