Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus

Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

After Alien Vs Predator and Snakes On A Plane comes Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus (whoever wins, we laugh?). Clearly the movies have exhausted every other option. But giant monsters are giant monsters, and getting to see them go head to head is always fun... isn't it?

What makes this one extra special is its third contender - one Deborah Gibson, the pop star formerly known as Debbie. Post Playboy spread, post reality TV, no longer quite as youthful nor as electric as once she was, she is nonetheless back with a vengeance, taking on the world of film the way no singer has since Madonna. Stopping every few seconds to pose, even in the middle of her lines, she's clearly a contender in the same league as our eponymous anti-heroes in what is set to be a fight to the death.

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In the long tradition of feisty film heroines who are almost as capable as men, Gibson plays a biologist who likes whales and gets into trouble with her boss for playfully stealing submarines. When non-specific bad guys inadvertently release a mega shark and a giant octopus from the ice cap where they have been frozen for '18 million years', shadowy government forces must call on her help. She is aided by an aging professor who drops in a suitable cliché every other line to remind us he's Irish, and by a Japanese scientist with whom she shares a mutual attraction (naturally, when the giant monsters woke up, one of them headed straight for Japan).

It's difficult to tell just how seriously the makers of this film took their work. It appears to have involved fewer takes than it has scenes, with several sequences repeated. Science is done in what looks like a vodka bar, pheromones ("which link together all species") glow in the dark, and bits of monsters which have been bitten off mysteriously disappear. The whole thing seems to have been edited using home computer game building software, with enthusiastic use of every free filter. The camera crew can frequently be seen reflected in shiny surfaces. All the Japanese submarine scenes seem to have been shot in a locker room, yet Gibson's make-up is always immaculate.

Though the effects in this film are uniformly awful, it's hard not to love a scene in which a giant shark leaps out of the water and grabs a plane for its dinner. A plane! And there are many more like that. In this regard, neither monster disappoints, and though the San Francisco scenes and the final battle aren't as spectacular as they ought to be, it's still a lot of fun. Plus there are some amazing lines, particularly "Sooner or later, every scientist encounters something like this in their career." Very much in the spirit of Ed Wood's legendary work, it may well be the worst film you see this year, but approached in the right way it is an absolute delight. Which only leaves the question: where next for Gibson? I hear there's another Piranha film in the works...

Reviewed on: 07 Aug 2009
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Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus packshot
What it says on the tin. Now with added Eighties pop star.
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Director: Jack Perez

Writer: Jack Perez

Starring: Deborah Gibson, Sean Lawlor, Vic Chao, Lorenzo Lamas, Dean Kreyling

Year: 2009

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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