VIC’S NOTE: Welcome to my first installment of The Asylum Films/SyFy Saturday Films reviews. While many “serious” science fiction fans bemoan these generally horrible flicks, we embrace them for their Saturday afternoon, guilty-pleasure fun that they provide. No scores on these… seriously, do I really need to tell you that they are complete pieces of crap?
What’s it About?
The California coast is terrorized by two enormous and unfrozen prehistoric sea creatures as they battle each other for supremacy of the sea. From The SyFy Channel and The Asylum.
Review by Vic
I am a very big fan of creature features and monster movies. My love for them goes quite a ways back. To the original King Kong and Gojira (Godzilla) and subsequent movies of that type. I used to try and stay up for them on Saturday nights and loved catching some even before Star Trek TOS (in Syndication) would air earlier that evening. Even while I lived in NYC, I used to bug my Grandparents to no end into letting me watch some monster movies while baseball would be on. Sometimes I won and sometimes I didn’t. I’d watch everything about anything that was big, ugly and irradiated. Ants, Praying Mantises, lizards and even Tarantulas. If it was just a dude that got big, loud and stupid ala The Collosal Man, I didn’t appreciate it as much. It had to be a stinking animal or insect.
So, let’s skip ahead many years and many great (and not so great. Godzilla 1998 anyone?) monster movies later and my love and fascination for them has never waned. Now, I even have my son to enjoy them with and he is a huge collector of all things Godzilla. So, basically, he’s a giant nerd like his old man. We are now in the great digital age and movie makers can now pull off just about any type of creature or animal there is.
The animal / insect world is ripe full of potential for making good creature features. Or so we thought. Which brings me to the SyFy Channel’s staple The Asylum. The studio that has gained some curious momentum for making “Mockbusters” like “Transmorphers” or “Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies” See where I’m going? They are in the business of making some pure bred cheesy, Saturday TV, afternoon fodder.
So, are they any good? Well, um, let me expound a bit on that. Let’s start with “Mega Shark vs Octopus” One of their more popular titles that has, since 2009, gained quite a cult following is the one movie that has set the bar high (high for the type of films these are, anyway) and is the one to beat. I’m assuming that they are trying to beat at least. So, in the least it is pretty popular. It stars former teen pop singer Deborah Gibson as Emma MacNeil, an Oceanographer who is studying whale migration off the rugged coast of Alaska.
While she is hard at work using a submarine that she “borrowed” we watch as some random military helicopter drops a Sonar transmitter into the water that makes the whales near MacNeil go bonkers. They proceed to start ramming a nearby glacier near her sub. In the crazy fray and chaos the helicopter goes down and as a result of all of this mayhem not one but two prehistoric creatures are broken free of the ice and begin to thaw.
Now, in proper monster movie fashion they are still alive and they pick up where they left off millions of years ago. On then on we go with some delightfully goofy sci-fi goodness. Suffce it to say this movie was done with zero budget, zero talent and zero subtlety. It relishes though somewhat in being so bare and curiously vapid that one gets caught up in just how bad the movie can be. We are lulled into a sort of trance where we might be hearing someone whispering in our ear – “Don’t look away. Don’t look away.”
So, when I sat through the preposterous opening I moved up to the edge of my seat and cried, “Yes. I will watch! I will watch!” Let’s face it, the movie knows what it is and doesn’t pretend to be haughty sci-fi fare but I get a bit peeved when I watch the film-makers get VERY lazy and bang out mega crap. I mean sheesh, they aren’t even trying. The performances are laughable and transparent. That we are supposed to believe that Lorenzo Lamas could pull of playing a Government agent is ludicrous. He needs help tracking the mega beasts that are appearing around the world leaving destruction in their wake. The sets are incredibly cheesy and obviously fake. I’m reminded of Plan 9 from Outer Space. Especially the airplane’s cockpit and the science labs. It appears that they may have shot the movie in some random high school. Yeah, it’s that bad.
The CGI is easily the best reason to tune into this mess. It is quite awfully done. The beasts, especially the Mega Shark, looks as if it were rendered on some old and battered desktop somewhere in someone’s basement. The monsters have no detail, depth and are not in the least scary. The director, Jack Perez, even goes as far as to repeat the effects scenes. Like when the shark attacks or when the shark and octopus are locked in battle. Oh boy. So, there are unrealistic scenes of science babble, bad looking monsters that never frighten or amaze.
When must endure horrible dialog between wooden actors…”When we find the beast. We are sending it to HELL!’ Instantly classic, no? Well, we love all of this stuff. We laugh and at the end we shake our heads and say…”Thank Christ I didn’t pay to see this.” I must warn you all. There is a shark attacking an Airplane scene that may be hands down the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. Enjoy!