Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus!

Posted by Matt

A sci-fi movie about bad CGI sea monsters trying to eat Lorenzo Lamas and Debbie Gibson - How bad can it be? No, seriously, I hope the answer is "Really freaking bad."

We open on Debbie piloting a submarine around some icebergs trying not to sink the last of her dignity, succeeding to some degree on basis of her cute makeup and her willingness to press a bunch of stickers on cardboard and pretend they're computer buttons. Her character is studying whales or something. Some bad guy disrupts their sonar, making the whales attempt mass suicide, and poor Debbie crashes into an iceberg and the next thing we know, a giant octopus eats a Japanese oil rig. It's kind of like the Butterfly Effect for out-of-work pop stars.

She survives her crash, and we next see her examining giant chewed-up whale carcasses on some beach while generic boss-man tells us what a loose cannon she is. And in response, she starts drinking liquor out of the bottle on the beach! She stumbles around and slurs her way into finding a bone or something in the whale's wound. I think Debbie and I would hang out and get asked to leave a sushi bar. I am falling for her.

And now we are treated to a shot of a ginormous CGI shark jumping out of the ocean and eating an airliner. The lunacy feels almost like a metaphor. A silly, silly metaphor.

By now, Debbie has been fired from her job as, umm, beach scientist, so she takes her secret bone finding to a beloved professor, an "ex-Navy paleontologist" who seems to speak only by running figures of speech through a Cuisinart. Apparently the Navy does not take lightly the threat of dinosaur attack. Together, they do the kind of movie science that involves pouring brightly colored liquids between glass beakers and frowning at computer displays. The bone turns out to be a big tooth, and when the dinosaur scientist guesses it came from a dinosaur, Debbie just can't believe it. Umm, Deb, the guy has a hammer and called something a nail. This is not a "Rosebud was a sled" situation.

The brave little scientists go to Japan to consult with a guy working the octopus case, and they work out the theory that sea monsters are coming from ice cap meltage. It's a green version of the nuclear fallout fears that drove the fifties monster movies, and I think it's kind of cute. Navy guys with rifles abduct our three scientists and take them to Lorenzo Lamas, who insults them and then demands they help get rid of the monsters. Government corruption plus environment whining... All they need is a gay character to finish my Liberal Bingo card. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

Cue more movie science, lots of colored liquids in beakers and frowns and eye rolls. I love this stuff. And amidst the science, Debbie and the Japanese guy fall in love. They gush about how good each other smells, and Debbie decides to use pheromones to lure the monsters. Now it's MY turn for frowns and eye rolls. They set a trap off the San Francisco Bay, and the shark attacks, and the Navy thinks they kill it but instead, it eats a ship and heads for the Golden Gate. The same thing happens in Tokyo with the octopus. Lorenzo Lamas suggests they nuke the giant prehistoric death machines as the hippie scientists lose their crap. Debbie proposes they get the monsters to kill each other instead of nukes - about damn time! I bought a "versus" movie.

The monsters meet up in icy northern waters, but by then the Navy has gone batshit crazy. Sailors are pulling guns on each other, so upset about the monsters... Still not seeing cause and effect here. But sure enough, we see the octopus squeeze the shark, the shark bite a tentacle off, plenty of entertaining CGI. The shark gets the Navy submarine into his mouth, they escape in mini-subs, the octopus takes down a Japanese sub... This movie is freaking awesome. Debbie makes a daring rescue as the monsters fight so hard they sink to their deaths. I had kind of hoped the shark would win, but as long as Debbie Gibson comes out on top, I am a happy fan.

Overall, this movie was a delightful self-aware crapfest. Highly recommended.

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