Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus

A Prehistoric Shark Ate My Whale?!


Starring: Deborah Gibson, Lorenzo Lamas

By Robert Patrick

Instead of watching “Salt,” the Angelina Jolie action vehicle, I decided to see a more character driven film, “Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus.” The premise of the film, behind all of the existentialism and dramatic plot-points, is basically about two prehistoric creatures that attack boats, planes, submarines, Lorenzo Lamas. I cant really knock the film too much, even if I wanted to, because the film looks like it was funded by the profits made from a seven-year-old’s lemonade stand.

The movie opens with snowcapped mountains, for an entire five minutes, which led me to believe I was watching the supplementary features on the DVD of “Alive.” When they finally introduced the location as Alaska, I was fraught with delight. Off the coast of the aforementioned state, an oceanographer (Deborah Gibson) is astonished when she is blinded by some strange disturbance in the waters. More importantly, I was astonished at how much she looked like a model taken from a Loreal hair product box. Natural blonde 4B, you are the most devastatingly nondescript actress ever. I should also mention that she is steering the submarine, with what looks like a joystick from an Atari system, while she is hunkered underwater; her partner in crime, some random guy that looks like a less healthy Oliver Platt, does nothing during this part of the film.

During the first couple of “action” bits in the film, there are a lot of bright flashing lights that engulf whatever is on screen. Got a helicopter flying around? Inundate that scene with a flash of blinding light! A submarine is whale watching? White-wash that screen, quickly! To experience epileptic seizures, thrill-seekers have to search no more. To top off the said parts of the movie, a score, that repeats itself as “DUN-NAH-DUN-DAH-DUNNA-DUN-DAH” is heard throughout even the most mundane areas of the picture.

When they finally introduce the octopus, it attacks a ship by, presumably, using elephant noises. You cant really see the octopus from its initial angle, but, from what the flashing lights imply, it uses lightning strikes to ravage vessels in its path. This particular power is never reintroduced into the film for reasonable purposes. Meanwhile, a gutted whale washes up on the coast that, when looked at closely, has marinara sauce for entrails. Who knew that marine mammals were built out of tomato paste?

A lot of nothing happens for awhile, after the jolly mammal carcass washes ashore, until the best monster movie moment of all-time transpires. Envision this: the “mega shark” flies through the air, bites a commercial airliner, then watches it explode. Forget about flocks of birds getting sucked up into the engines of a plane, this shark can apparently play chicken with a Boeing aircraft.

Aside from the awesome, life-altering scene of beauty that is the flying shark, there are some really wonderful bits in this movie – the battleship scenes are more convincing than the ones filmed in “Pearl Harbor” – and the dialogue continually lights up with people yelling out “NEEEAOOOOOOOOOO!” at the top of their lungs. My favorite inclusion to Asylum’s feature is that of Lorenzo Lamas, who has the ponytail of Steven Seagal and the sarcastic hubris of Campbell Scott. Unfortunately, though, he rarely leaves an Ed Wood-like control room, leading to general tedium and anger. To break up the monotony of all of this, there is a love making scene on Treasure Island; no, not the literary one, but the military base in San Francisco. I’m sure if they wanted to, however, they could’ve fit the Robert Louis Stevenson location into the movie without offending anyone.

Most of everyone probably wants to know about the battle between the shark and the octopus. Well, if Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation somehow had an inbred child with LucasArts CGI, this would be the result. Nonetheless, you wont want to miss scenes like the mega shark chomping on a submarine like it was a stogie; this before it springs out of its mouth, unscathed.

It’s a beautiful thing, really.


Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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