Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sharktopus Review

Admit it. When you saw the trailer for Sharktopus on the net, you wanted to see this movie. The idea of a half shark, half octopus monster eating bikini clad women was so ludicrous that it made you want to watch it. And you'd have to go back in time to the fifties to find a movie as silly as Sharktopus. Perhaps that's why this Roger Corman and SyFy production had Destination: Truth's Josh Gates host the premiere, complete with snide jokes about the movie. They knew this movie was in Plan 9 from Outer Space (1958) territory. And that's also the problem with the movie. If you know you're movie is this silly then why not make it a comedy?

The picture starts out with a scantily clad woman swimming in the ocean. As she's about to get killed by a great white shark, when the Sharktopus, a creature with a shark's front and an octopus end with tentacles, attacks the shark and kills it. Ha. Cute dig at "Jaws." Anyway, we find out that scientist Gates (Eric Roberts) who runs the secret black ops Blue Water Corp. has just created the navy's newest super weapon, the Sharktopus. He controls the beast with biomechanical implants with the help of his daughter Nicole. (Sara Malukul Lane)

The navy demands a test run of the creature by chasing a boat. Unfortunately for its hapless victims and you, the viewer, the creature's remote control device is ripped away. The Sharktopus escapes and runs amok eating mostly bikini clad women near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. For Sharktopus that's a heavy vegetarian diet, if you know what I mean. Gates decides to hire a former employee Andy Flynn (Kerem Bursin) and his team to capture the Sharktopus.

A good or bad movie starts with the writing. Forget about the good with this turkey. There's a lot of aspiring screenwriters in Hollywood. How did this screenplay by Mike MacLean, if that's his real name, get greenlit? It sounds like it was written by a junior high kid. You want exposition? Forget it. The movie is written for those with ADHD. It's relentless stupid action. The screenplay doesn't tell us why this thing was designed the way it was. I mean what is the advantage with this type of creature design? You want plot holes? Yes, you miss "Lost" don't you? Well Losties there's enough plot holes in this one to make any Lostie happy. How does Sharktopus breathe on land? Why is it heading onto land? Why is the news reporter Stacy Everheart (Liv Boughn) dressed like a cheap street hooker? And then there's some totally inappropriate emotions written which I'll discuss later.

What about the direction and special effects? First, I commend director Declan O' Brien for not changing his name to a pseudonym for directing this cinematic twinkie. But I'm going to lay most of the blame for the acting and special effects at his feet. The acting was not directed. The actors were not emoting anything. That's the fault of the director. He should be astute enough to direct the actors into believable performances. It's harder to lay blame for the special effects on the director. That being said, did O'Brien actually see any of the special effects? The Sharktopus was done in CGI and was as cheesy as one could get. It lacked detail and realism. Many times when the Sharktopus was in the water and eating people, O'Brien does nothing to set up the shot to actually show this. What you get is a body struggling with the CGI tentacles, and then CGI blood dying the water. Cheap. And when he does show graphic violence, it's unrealistic and cartoony.

What about the actors? Were there actors in this movie? It is amazing with the thousands of starving actors, that Corman couldn't get any competent ones. The cast delivers their lines with the same emotion one gets from the announcer who tells you if your flight is on time. Let's start with Eric Roberts. He's hard to take seriously in any movie because he's goofy in any role. There's always some smirk on his face. Here's some advice to Sara Lane. It's called make-up. It does wonders for close-ups by covering up oil and defects. Oh, and try to do something with your hair. Kerem Bursin is all macho bluster and chest muscles. His next career move will probably be posing for Playgirl. I have no idea where Corman dug up Liv Boughn. Was she Corman's girlfriend?

Okay, when you've got a movie this silly, one must decide if it is so bad that it's funny. Sharktopus does have its ridiculous moments. Let's go over them.

1. After the Sharktopus kills a great white shark, Eric Roberts mutters, "Very National Geographic, isn't it?"
2. Sharktopus uses his tentacles to remove his control harness. Later in the movie, he uses a tentacle to remove a harpoon stuck in his head. LOL.
3. My favorite Sharktopus kills. When Sharktopus comes over the top of person and takes a bite of the upper torso with a chomping noise. It reminds me of the Saturday Night Live skit about the Land Shark. CHOMP!
4. Classic scene. (You get it in the trailer below.) Woman goes bungee jumping and Sharktopus jumps out of the water and swallows her whole.
5. Sharktopus is impervious to bullets. How? Don't know, but it's as dumb as when the castaways in Lost survived the nuclear bomb.
6. Movie inconsistencies. Flynn (Bursin) is underwater in just his bathing suit. He comes out of the water with a sombrero on his head. Really silly.
7. Inappropriate emotions. Roberts demands strong drinks before he must talk to his navy handler. Huh? How is getting drunk going to help you stand up to your boss? I'm guessing the scotch was real and was part of Roberts payment.
8. Reporter Stacy Everheart (Boughn) gets beach bum to help her by shoving her breasts in his face. That might work for Fox News but generally it's unrealistic and unprofessional.
9. Sharktopus attacks a group of dancers. After one is gruesomely killed probably for his performance, a kid says, "That's awesome."
10. Sharktopus on land. In some of the most ridiculous action ever filmed, Sharktopus walks on land! It uses its tentacles to walk. That shark head out of water attacking people is one of the goofiest things I've ever seen. It might be a homage to the SNL Land Shark skit, but the shark's voice of Chevy Chase is sadly missing.

So, what's the grade? Well, before I give it, I'm going to congratulate myself for predicting that Sharktopus would not eat Eric Roberts because it likes to eat bikini clad women over ham. And after seeing this bomb, I bet the Academy is thinking about getting back the honorary Oscar they gave to Roger Corman. Anyway, here's the grade. D Minus. If you're drunk while watching Sharktopus, the grade rises to B.

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