Sharktopus DVD Review
Directed by Declan O'Brien
Written by Mike MacLean
2010, Region 2 (PAL), 89 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 14th March 2011
Eric Roberts as Nathan Sands
Héctor Jiménez as Bones
Sara Malakul Lane as Nicole Sands
Ralph Garman as Captain Jack
Shandi Finnessey as Stephanie
In the UK we have an adult “comic” that goes by the name of Viz. Many years ago, one of its cartoon strips was The Pathetic Sharks where the titular characters would get close to beaches and the holidaymakers would run, screaming, “Aargh! Crap Sharks!”
I’m half of the opinion the makers of Sharktopus used The Pathetic Sharks as inspiration for this movie, but sadly no-one in the film runs away while yelling, “Aargh! Crap shark octopus hybrid!”
The other half of my opinion is preoccupied with the dilemma: Is this film a shrewdly observed parody of monster movies, or is it a complete load of bollocks? I have to confess, the hairy swingers are coming out tops every time.
Sharktopus is the latest in a line of mutant creature TV movies that has included Mega Piranha, Mega-Shark Vs Giant Octopus and Dinocroc Vs Supergator. As an aside, I’m almost looking forward to the day the porn industry catches on and release Mega-Cock versus Monster Vagina. The Sharktopus, or S11 as it is known by its scientific creators, is a secret military weapon (aren’t they always?) and has the head of a shark and the tentacles of an octopus. With blades on the tips. Presumably the early prototypes, featuring the head of an octopus and the tail of a shark, were destroyed after they did little more than try to nudge things to death.
Unfortunately, the Navy scientists that were clever enough to genetically engineer an octo-shark hybrid were only able to come up with a control system that straps around the head of the beastie and is incredibly prone to being dislodged by things it gets close to like, oh I don’t know, boats and stuff. A fundamental design flaw for a project that is supposed to help capture drug smugglers in the water.
On a routine test Sharktopus’s control system is dislodged by, of all things, a boat (see, Navy scientists? I said it was flawed) and, relieved of human influence, it swims off to go and have some fun of its own making. In the meantime, the Navy puts together a team to hunt the creature and a local news reporter gets a sniff of the story and starts a hunt of her own. So with all the back story set up within the first 10 minutes the movie then drops into a loop of: Navy scientists hunting – Sharktopus attacks something – reporter lady hunting - Sharktopus attacks something - until your eyeballs melt.
The news reporter has a cameraman sidekick who is adorned with a huge selection of tattoos – all of them courtesy of Sharpie™. As time goes on, they move around and disappear at will, creating a wonderful party game of “Spot the continuity error” for the viewer. And if teleporting tattoos aren’t bad enough, there are a number of scenes where it is entirely obvious that the cast is reacting to something that isn’t there. Not just when Craptopus is on screen either; in one scene we see the news pair ‘watching’ an attack on a crowded beach, yet a camera angle from their point of view shows the beach they’re looking at is completely deserted.
The major flaws in Sharktopus could be overlooked if this was a film that knowingly took the rise out of monster movies and played to the obvious shortcomings, but in reality it’s just plain bad. It’s clear that a reasonable amount of money went into making it and to have the result as such an absolute failure to entertain is a waste of everyone’s time. When you watch old mutant creature movies they look bad in a good way. The filmmakers back then were trying their hardest with limited resources and you can’t help but have an affectionate respect for their efforts, even if they end up unintentionally hilarious. Sharktopus tries too hard to mimic this and falls flat on its many-toothed face.
Go play with the unexploded sea mines, Sharktopus, there’s nothing for you here.
Video and Audio:
Video is vibrant and lively with all the look of what it is – a TV movie. There’s a choice of an awful 5.1 surround track that is extremely poorly balanced, with all the incidental music almost drowning out the dialogue. The 2.0 fares much better and gives a reasonably clear, if cheap, audio track.
Just a trailer, but as it shows all the most interesting parts of the film I suggest you look it up on YouTube instead of buying or renting this clunker.