May 19, 2009. A day that shall forever live in infamy. A day war was declared on democracy, on this nation, and on mankind as a whole, by not one, but two foreign invaders. Many brave men and women lost their lives to the combined might of these two colossal powers, these...creatures. On that day, the world had to stand up, and defend itself, declaring war. A war against both Mega Sharks and Giant Octopuses. 5/19/09. We will never forget, because we were greatly entertained.
When the trailer for 'Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus' hit the internet, it was a smash hit, to say the least. It was even one of the ten most viewed trailers of 2009, alongside blockbusters 'G.I. Joe,' 'Avatar,' '2012,' 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,' and 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon.' The funny thing, though, is that this brawl between two titanic aquatic foes was a superior film to each and every one of those titles listed above, and I'm not even joking or being sarcastic. Yes, it is from The Asylum, a company (with a really fitting name) whose films are occasionally about as entertaining as watching escaped murderers hold a knife to your teddy bear's throat, but this may be the new king of crap, the sultan of shlock.
Long ago, two warriors, wrapped in battle, were frozen, their deathmatch put on hold. After over a million years, closer to two, they've been awakened. God's original harbingers of death, Mega Shark and Giant Octopus, are free again, free to bring havoc and destruction to anything in their path. Why are they destroying our planet? What can we do to stop these monsters from ending all life as we know it?
Quick, someone call Debbie Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas! Perhaps it's fitting that two washed up performers are humanity's only hope. Together, the world's most astute and borderline psychic and infallible marine biologist, and the most random, unexplained military guy with the worst ponytail in history, will change the course of human history, by finding a solution to our plight in our time of greatest need.
Alright, I'll admit it, I already lied in this review. Lorenzo Lamas doesn't actually help do anything. He mostly gets in the way, and not once does he try to intimidate either massive monster with his awkward hair stylings. Our real savior is Vic Chao, a Japanese scientist who works with Debbie Gibson to find the way to kill two birds with one stone.
'Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus' may be the king of battling power films. 'Kramer vs Kramer,' you have been bested, with 200 percent more Giant Octopus action, even if there is only half as many worldwide casualties to your combined might. 'Eagle vs Shark,' go home...you're not even a Mega Shark. 'Alien vs Predator,' you ruined two franchises at once with your suckage, which takes talent, but you never did quite take a real bite out of the landscape, now did you? 'Freddy vs Jason,' you're nowhere near as scary as the inexpensive sets and gaps in logic found here. 'Monsters vs Aliens,' you just were awful, and you killed a part of me, deep inside. Yes, I blame my appendix failure on you, 'Monsters vs Aliens.' 'Ecks vs Sever' (also known as 'Ballistic'), you came close, so so close, but 'Joe Versus the Volcano' is the only film badass enough out of this entire group to not only spell out versus, but to actually have someone fighting an immobile object, and even it fell short compared to the cornucopia of awesome that is 'Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus.'
Few films have ever tapped into the zeitgeist of their generation, to bring forth the penultimate vision and statement of an entire world. With fears of Global Warming (trademark Al Gore, who gets a nickel each time the term is used), what better way to remind people of the dangers of our shrinking ice caps than the fact that we must now realize our excesses may bring apocalypse in a form Roland Emmerich must be kicking himself for not realizing. No, dramatic climate changes or ancient calendars won't bring our downfall, as we will do this to ourselves, by unleashing the creatures destined to kill every living creature not only in this world, but in the universe. How could these creatures kill outside of our planet?
Simply put, never doubt the power or sheer determination of Mega Shark. He doesn't care if you're flying three miles in the air, he will bring you crashing down to the sea, so that you may enjoy the tour through his digestive track. He doesn't care if you're on one of the biggest bridges in the world, he'll bite half of it off just to eat you. He'll even dress himself up as Ed McMahon, steal the prize van and the big check, and drive to your house, just to see the look on your face when you realize you are utterly fucked. Mega Shark is that awesome.
Giant Octopus, sadly, is not. Not only is this squidly beast a total bitch, but he lacks any real screen presence. He stares directly into the camera regularly. He refused to work with the original director of the film, Roman Polanski, due to an argument over just how long his tentacles are. Worst yet, he's jealous of his co-star. Humans wouldn't have needed to find a reason to get the two behemoths to battle again, as this envious jerk would have realized that he isn't shit compared to Mega Shark on his own, anyways, and said jealousy would have led to the best pay per view match the WWE had ever seen.
Directed by Ace Hannah, this film only falls flat on its face due to the human elements. See, the only reason that 'Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus,' Generation Y's 'Citizen Kane,' didn't get a perfect score here is the fact that people had to muck up the pure awesome that is Mega Shark, to try to latch on to his fame and power. They steal far too much screen time from the more established and far superior actor, and they don't give us anything for it. Rather, they screw things up with blatant continuity errors (watch that nail polish!), petty squabbling, and so much fluff that it takes a full seventeen minutes to see the true might of the Mega Shark. History books will show he killed a thousand men within the first ten minutes of being freed from his prison, but no, none of that is shown here. Damn revisionist history.
Humans also sully the legend of Mega Shark by refusing to acknowledge his performance, as his lines have not been translated in subtitltes, or dubbed over by Shia LaBeouf. Imagine, if you would, seeing ol' Sharky hurdling towards the plane, and knowing that he's screaming the phrase "I object to your union!" after finding out that passengers are getting married in two days. Legendary. Worse yet, the true allegiances of Mega Shark and Giant Octopus have been removed from this cut of the film, possibly by the government afraid that we know the truth about our Canadian neighbors.
'Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus' could have been legendary in the right hands. It really could have. With one of the greatest performances of our time (and the greatest Oscar snub in history, by the way) by Mega Shark, this should have been epic. Instead, the wrong film made about three billiion bucks. Fans of disaster and carnage, and best yet, fear, should not shy away from this onslaught of awesome. To quote Gibson, "just relax and enjoy it. There's poetry here." Indeed.
The Disc: Vital Stats
'Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus' was released in two editions on Blu-ray, on a standalone disc with no extras, and with a two pack edition alongside '30,000 Leagues Under the Sea.' Both discs are BD25's, sans any extras. The double pack has a menu screen where the user can pick which film to watch, and select chapters, with no set up tabs for either film, while the standalone release beings immediately after the FBI screen. What are the other differences in the two releases? Keep on reading to find out!
This epic arrives on Blu-ray with an AVC MPEG-4 encode at 1080p in the 1.78:1 frame. Is it Mega awesome, or a Giant failure?
Well, this isn't a pretty disc, to be fair. Noise can be massive and all encompassing, while artifacts can take over the screen on a few occasions, with some of the hugest blocks I've ever seen. The picture can be juttery at times, too, for reasons unrelated to special effects shots. Aliasing is light, but present on a few occasions, while banding is only an issue in a couple of shots. Delineation has its issues, to be polite. Grain can spike, detail levels are all over the place, and some scenes appear to have been filmed through some kind of gauze, sporting a peculiar diagonal pattern, feeling straight out of the VHS era. Entire scenes can flicker at times, to further the laundry list of complaints.
On the bright side, colors are strong, and solid, skin tones are fairly consistent, and the cheesiness of the special effects of the special effects, which were probably made with a copy of Mario Paint on the Super Nintendo, leap right out at you. For a dump release, this one honestly isn't too horrible. Most of the problems are minor, in the greater scheme of things. Just lower your expectations, and you'll be fine.
Speaking of lowered expectations, you don't have to drop them any further. Mega Shark demanded Echo Bridge botch the two pack release (more on that later), as he wasn't too happy with having to share billing with yet another critter. He mercifully allowed the standalone version to have a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix, for all to witness his greatness in the best possible audio glory possible.
Prioritization is problematic at times, but otherwise, dialogue is acceptable. Feedback can be an issue from time to time, but this could be also in part due to the flat, dull scenes that randomly populate the track. There is some good range to be found, as well as some solid bass, found early and often. The mixture of ambient and score elements is perfect. This is honestly not a bad release in the audio department, though a few fixed kinks and it could have been beyond commendable.
There are no extras on this release. Hell, there isn't even a menu or set up options.
'Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus' won't wow many people, with it's crappy sets, cheeseball acting, and horrendous effects. But this Asylum title brings the win in epic proportions, when it wants to. In other words, when Mega Shark is on screen. There are two ways to buy this Blu-ray, with superior audio and video, or an extra film. Go with the single movie version. If you hate the film, it will have cost you less, and you'll get actual bass with your Blu-ray, heaven forbid. A must own*.
*If you can't resist this kind of thing. You know who you are.