It’s a calm, normal day deep in an African blood-diamond mining operation. The workers are digging away in a muddy, unsupported mineshaft overseen by an machine-gun-wielding slave driver. What is the worst thing that could happen? A 1,500 foot prehistoric crocodile gets woken up and goes on a rampage, that’s what. Oh, don’t forget the fact that there is a ship crushing mega-shark tooling around now destroying everything in it’s path. I’ll stay in the mines thank you.
Mega Shark versus Crocosaurus is the sequel to the outrageously campy Sci Fi Channel TV movie production of Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus (2009). Unfortunately the first installment was at least endearingly cheesy and had the relatively regurgitated star power of one 80’s pop star Debbie (Deborah) Gibson and long-haired hero Lorenzo Lamas.
In the first movie scientist Debbie Gibson unwittingly frees a prehistoric giant shark (a megaladon) and giant octopus which were frozen in arctic ice. Debbie and Lorenzo spend the rest of the movie trying to stop the sea-going calamity these two prehistoric titans cause throughout the seven seas. The finale involves an epic battle between the fishy behemoths and what we believe to be the end of both.
The movie works because it toes the line of one of the worst movies ever made, on ever single level. From the awful stock footage seemingly dug out from some underfunded backwoods library, to the garage built submarine set, and the cartoon-like CGI monsters that appear to change size dramatically depending on what they happen to be chomping on. It’s a perfect storm of badness mixed with a bolt of magic lightning, unrepeatable. If nothing else, it’s worth it just to catch the scene when the shark jumps to 30,000 feet to catch a 747 out of midair.
Unfortunately, in the sequel the SciFi channel tries to repeat the formula almost exactly. The dug-up stars in this one are Jaleel White of Urkel fame and Robert Picardo best known for his TV work on of Star Trek Voyager and two of the Stargate series. They realize that the shark was not in fact killed during their last encounter and now it’s back for revenge. Meanwhile the crocosaurus has gone hermaphrodite and impregnated itself so it can lay hundreds of eggs all over the globe.
Jaleel White plays a shark researcher with a set of guns and about as much scientific knowledge as Dr. Doolittle. He uses his newly invented shark caller to lure the shark and croc together for another titanic battle. Robert Picardo plays the admiral of the US Navy ship tasked with killing the gargantuan menaces.
At first blush it would appear that they’ve recaptured previous magic. The creatures are still over-computerized. The sets still look like something you could put together from a half-day shopping trip to the army surplus store. The actors deliver performances on par with something out of a 1950s propaganda film. The story is as ridiculous and illogical as Charlie Sheen’s comedy tour.
And yet with everything the first movie had, MS V CS doesn’t have the same sparkle even if you count the final shot of the two sea creatures biting each others tails as they slowly spiral sink into the undersea volcanoes and burn into bizarre yin-yang symbol of scaly cinders.
These movies really open up up the broader question of cinematic philosophy, “Is a campy movie cool if it tries to be campy from the beginning?” I’m not sure if we can really answer that question in a single review, but one thing is for sure, it didn’t work with this one.
Even the most hard-core cheese lover will have a hard time watching the DVD bloopers on this one without fully expecting one of the actors to look straight into the camera and mouth the words “kill me, please.”
Even with that all said, the latest SciFi Channel atrocity is already in my queue and will soon be on its way to my house. Mega Python Versus Gatoroid. Hey! It has Deborah Gibson AND Tiffany. I couldn’t resist.