Perhaps these creature versus creature features have more in common with cartoons than I once thought. With 'Mega Python vs Gatoroid,' the newest attempt to capitalize on the rebirth of this low budget trend, I couldn't help but think of two very memorable sequences, one from 'The Simpsons' (before it went all to hell), the other, a gag from classic 'Looney Tunes' lore. See, in 'Bart the Mother,' we have Bart Simpson accidentally killing a bird, only to find out it was to be a mother soon. So Bart cares for the eggs, only to sees lizards hatch, rather than what he was expecting. Soon an epidemic sweeps the town. In the end, though, the lizards kill the pigeons, which were a major nuisance, but soon, there are too many lizards. So, it's proposed, Chinese needle snakes to take care of them, then snake-eating gorillas to clean up that mess. Then, "when wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death."
Perhaps screenwriter Naomi Selfman was inspired by that gag, or even the one from so long ago where Bugs Bunny and whomever he's feuding with (most memorably Yosemite Sam), runs in with a weapon, prompting the other to run away and return with an even bigger one, leading to a chain reaction that ends in ridiculous measures. That's exactly what this film is.
Our dueling participants, Dr. Nikki Riley (Debbie Gibson) and Terry O'Hara (Tiffany) are polar opposite. One is an environmentalist who borders on terrorist, who loves snakes, freeing a whole lab's worth into the Everglades. The other is a park ranger, who has had to prohibit permits for gator hunting due to the massive losses in gators over the last year. Huge snakes are decimating their rivals' ranks, and are killing humans, including O'Hara's fiance. To get a grip on the situation, O'Hara injects experimental steroids and growth enhancers into gator food, to combat the snakes. However, she doesn't quite think the situation out too far, as the already huge pythons begin eating the juiced up gator eggs, getting bigger, and the gators eating the snakes, taking in more of the substance. It's an out of control arms race that will soon threaten us all, and the two women responsible for it can't look past their own cat fighting to realize what they've done.
It would have been hilarious if 'Mega Python vs Gatoroid' would have been a parallel to nuclear proliferation, as the constant "anything you can do, I can do better" dueling between the women and the reptiles sets the stage for massive devastation. Sadly, there's no brains in this film, not enough to make allegories or parallels. This is an exploitation film, and nothing more, other than a bit of false advertising, even if there happens to be one of the most kick ass montages in film history where the stupid creatures keep growing and growing while attacking each other.
See, I could have really gotten into this film if it were like its title. 'Mega Python vs Gatoroid' sounds like a battle between two mega powers, the unstoppable force versus the immovable object. Rather, everything is ridiculously plural. There's no python more enormous than the others, nor is there a super gator of any kind. So, instead of having a unique creature, it's just a ton of the same ones, almost literally, since the special effects don't do a good job of giving any creature distinguishing marks. This...this isn't what I signed up for. I was promised on the cover two huge fucking creatures fighting in the midst of a metropolis, destroying everything and everyone in their path, and what I got instead was a bunch of generic beasts that I couldn't care any less about.
It's funny, sure, that we have two mega-struggles in the film, as the two leads constantly give us something or someone to root for. There's plenty of funny lines, nods, or jokes to keep the film buoyant and somewhat entertaining, and the ridiculous attire (cleavage cop!) can be somewhat fun to stare at. At the same time, though, there's also some of the worst dialogue, effects work, logic, and pacing found in this sub-genre's growing annuls. I really don't know what the message of this film was. It kinda led me to believe that the only way to survive is to kill every animal in sight, and I'm not quite sure that's exactly what the film was intending to do. Thankfully, this isn't a SyFy feature, so there's plenty of severed limbs and heads, blood gushes, and gore galore. There's even a cruel, cruel twist at the end that surely earned my respect. There just isn't all that much more with this flick. It's a lazy saturday afternoon movie, and never aspires to be more. If only the filmmakers would have given us more scenes like a snake swallowing an entire train, or performing some other kind of ridiculous destruction, it might have been saved.
The Disc: Vital Stats
Image Entertainment brings 'Mega Python vs Gatoroid' to Blu-ray on a Region A marked BD25 disc, with a number of pre-menu trailers for other Image releases. The menu itself is mostly static, with a tiny video loop in the corner, accompanied by some ridiculously awful music. There is no setup tab to be found, just a play button, a chapter search, and two tabs more, one for each extra. This is not a complicated, difficult to navigate disc.
Mega-meh! Image's 1080p encode for 'Mega Python vs Gatoroid' is a battle as epic as Tiffany vs Debbie Gibson, as this seems to be a tale of two struggling, opposing forces on Blu-ray. In one corner, high quality video proudly shines its ring attire, ready to rumble with hopes of not getting much blood on it, while the villainous low quality video is twisting its handlebar mustache, preparing to get some cheap shots in.
The opening of this film, well, it looks really, really good. Before the special effects kick in, we have superb textures and detail levels routinely, though a soft or flat moment here and there will still pop up. We see actual real snakes, and they're absolutely gorgeous, making the digital monstrosities in the film look that much more plastic-y. Sure, there's some minor banding, and a scratch or two, but the picture is certainly appreciable. Really, the quality of the picture at times can be so good, it only makes the rest of the film that much more insulting.
Then the shit hits the fan. Noise is light, there's a few artifact spurts, entire scenes go dull, where the once amazingly defined hair becomes blurred. Edges go wonky, with amazingly poor loop effects making the situation worse, as cut-outs of characters have massive halos around them, like they were saints or something. The special effects never blend in with the film, as shots randomly have static effects, like eggs (how hard is it to make a bunch of eggs?!?!), while the camera bounces around just slightly, creating odd hovering effects. Worse yet, some shots are so overly manipulated that the digital overlays don't work at all in the scenes (see the scene where Diego is introduced, with the corpse of the gator eating snake nearby), creating pictures that are half defined, and half dull, like a Tim Allen Disney "comedy." The scary thing is, in the bonus feature on this disc, this error doesn't show up in the same shot, so what's up with that?!?! Some light aliasing joins in the fray, but really, all things considered, it could have been much worse.
For those wondering, the snidely, dastardly low quality video wins the fight against its mortal foe on this release. We all suffer for it.
The only audio option on 'Mega Python vs Gatoroid' is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. No dubs, no subtitle options, nothing, just one flavor. It's not a great one, either.
Dialogue is sometimes hollow, dynamics are often questionable, and sounds rarely find their way across the room. Not even the soundtrack is consistently in rear channels. This is stereo with a few extra bits. Dynamic range is limited, and the film sounds flat quite often, but the final half of the film has quite a bit of bass from the gigantic titular creatures, so there is most certainly something for everyone here. I just wish, you know, gunfire had power of any kind, or even, dare I say, localization of some sort.
Cheap audio for a cheap film.
'Mega Python vs Gatorade' leaves more than just something to be desired. It leaves almost everything to be desired. Yes, it's insanely cheesy, brainless fun, and it's perfectly ironic and ridiculous, a plus in these kinds of films, but it doesn't quite push the envelope of insanity far enough to earn my recommendation. I found myself bored a bit too often, and that shouldn't have happened, especially since I make Indiana Jones look like a snake buff the way I hate those disgusting things. I should have been creeped out, yet at the same time thrilled to see the reptiles decimated. I wasn't. I wasn't impressed with this Blu-ray release, either, as it was sabotaged from the get go by the minimalist budget. Even people in absolute love with these modern creature features should rent this first, as I don't see much replay value here.