Movies From the Black Lagoon: Mega Shark VS Giant Octopus
Movies From the Black Lagoon
Mega Shark VS Giant Octopus - 2009, Rated R
By Tom Doty
Enormous prehistoric beasts continue their grudge match when they are thawed out in the 21st century, in this low budget salute to the battling monster flicks that were all the rage in 60's Japanese cinema.
Our story begins in Alaska (though all of the license plates are for California) where the sting of Sarah Palin's defeat is eclipsed by the remains of whale that washes ashore. Turns out it was eaten by something with eleven foot teeth, according to an Oceanographer named Emma. Nobody believes Emma until footage she shot proves that U.S. Army testing freed an enormous shark and an equally sized octopus from a block of ice. Before you can shout Al Gore there is meeting of minds and the military agrees to let Emma help figure out what to do next.
Her Irish mentor, Lamar, and a Japanese colleague, Dr. Shimada, join her. Our intrepid trio immediately clashes with a government liaison, Allan. He is easy enough to hate, as he is an outright racist who appears to be mostly concerned about his own skin. Our intrepid trio figure out nothing but that all changes when a tryst with Dr. Shimada reminds Emma that pheromones could be used to lure the beasts into low lying trenches that could pen them in. You have to love a movie that takes the time to remind you that giant sharks and huge octopi need some lovin' too.
The group splits up so that Shimada can trap one in Tokyo Bay while Emma stakes out San Francisco Bay. When our behemoths show up for their booty call they are decidedly miffed that no mate is waiting for them. They promptly begin destroying everything in their path. Weapons prove useless against the colossal critters but Emma has another brainstorm and realizes that these two monsters can kill each other. They wisely bait the beast with more pheromones so that they show up with flowers and candy to only find each other waiting. The resulting smack down is all too brief but loads of dun as the titular scene unfolds. It's not "Freddie Vs Jason" but it is a gas.
This movie proves that you only need your mother's credit card to stage a monster flick. The film uses green screen all the time so that it's tough to tell whether they ever went to a location at all. The bulk of the budget went to Debbie Gibson (anyone remember "Electric Youth") who proves to be an actress in the making. She has screen presence and could easily pass for Cynthia Rothrock's sister. Lorenzo Lamas phones it in as Allan and spends most of the movie sulking. The money shots here are the monsters. Mostly they appear to be rubber toys but the films crafts a few decent scenes of carnage. The best has to be the mega shark leaping straight into the air to snag a 747 as it passes over the deep blue sea. The plane may look like a Lego project but the scene still rocks.
Okay this one is short on logic but it is a lot of fun and harkens back to the good old 60's when this kind of stuff played at your local drive-in. turn off your brain and enjoy the show.
Best line: " Are you trying to tell me that a prehistoric, extinct, shark ate my whale?"
Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.