Two prehistoric creatures, thawed out after 10 million years of being frozen mid-combat, have surfaced off the coasts of California and Japan: Mega Shark (a really, really big shark) and Giant Octopus (a really, really big octopus) are about to do blurry, visually incoherent battle once more and The Internet cannot resist such a schlocky proposition, especially with the names Deborah Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas above the title. Welcome to Snakes On A Plane 2009 (or in this case, Shark Eats A Plane), another example of an idea that takes root in the popular imagination and waits for the movie to catch up. In the case of Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus, all it took was a one-minute teaser trailer that included the following images: Giant Octopus snapping a submarine like a twig and swatting a fighter plane out of the air, Mega Shark biting a hunk out of the Golden Gate Bridge and dragging a passenger jet from the sky, Gibson excitedly dubbing their confrontation the “Thrilla In Manila,” and Lamas with his hair tied back, acting like a serious douche.
Now to state the obvious: There’s another 89 minutes surrounding those 60 seconds of so-bad-it’s-good nirvana, and even effects this conspicuously thrifty have to be doled out like food rations during the Great Depression. So writer-director Jack Perez (working under the nom de crap Ace Hannah) takes the Jaws approach by using the creatures sparingly in the first three-fourths, then presumably wowing the audience in the end. That means a lot of time-wasting in the middle hour, where scientists played by Gibson and Vic Chao can stir up a tepid East-West romance and stare at colorful beakers until they come up with the brilliant idea of using pheromones to bring these crazy prehistoric hatebirds together. (“Those guys have been frozen in ice for millions of years. Wouldn’t you be a little horny?”)
Under no standard could Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus be considered a good movie, but then again, it’s really self-styled camp of the Snakes On A Plane variety, which forgives much of the cheesy dialogue, bargain-basement effects, and wooden performances. But the film lacks forward momentum. The interminable wait for the climatic beasto-a-beasto confrontation recalls Milhouse’s line during cartoon dog Poochie’s first “Itchy & Scratchy” episode on The Simpsons: “When are they gonna get to the fireworks factory?” And you know what happens when a Mega Shark stops moving, right? It dies.
Key features: An eight-minute making-of featurette that looks cobbled together from a day’s worth of B-roll footage, some bloopers, and teasers for other straight-to-DVD schlock.