"Half-shark. Half-octopus. All killer."
I've seen more than my share of Syfy original movies, which
means I've sat through a lot of crap. So
it was wild very low expectations that I popped in their latest mutant
flick, Sharktopus, into my player to give it a look-see.
To my astonishment the movie wasn't
wretched. As a matter of fact, it was
really enjoyable. The movie is a throw
back to producer Roger Corman's early films:
cheap, quick, and fun. It's a
movie that gives viewers some cheap thrills and then quickly ends
overstays its welcome.
Nathan Sands (Eric Roberts) and his brilliant (you can tell
she's smart because she wears glasses and keeps her long hair tied up
in a bun)
and attractive daughter Nicole (Sara Malakul Lane) are the driving
the Blue Water Corporation. They have a
big Navy research grant to develop the next generation of aquatic
the result of their work is S-11, a gigantic shark/octopus hybrid that
controlled remotely via an electronic collar strapped to the creature.
On its first outing S-11 saves a swimmer from being eaten by
a shark off the coast of California. When a Navy big wig demands that the
prototype follows a nearby speedboat to see if it can stealthily
target, the control collar gets cut off by the boat's prop after making
unexpected sharp turn. S-11 is no longer
under Blue Water's control, and does what any respectable low-budget
monster would do... he heads to Mexico
where it's cheaper to film. Sands and
his daughter follow, determined to recapture the creature before the
their grant, oh yeah, and if they can save some people from getting
that'd probably be okay too.
Once in Puerto Vallarta, S-11 starts munching on swimmers,
and when there are none of those around it uses its tentacles (which
harpoon-like tips perfect for impaling bikini-clad starlets) to drag
into the water. Eventually it even
leaves the ocean and crawls up on land, as all shark and octopi usually
attack sun bathers, comic relief characters, and anyone with a bitchy
Soon a plucky (though bitchy) reporter from CNE gets
pictures of S-11, which she dubs Sharktopus, and the chase is on to see
get to the killing machine first Sands or the reporter.
There's not a lot of plot in this movie, and that's a good
thing. Roger Corman is a long-time
creator of low-budget cinema, and he knows what people want and gives
them. He does that with this movie in
spades. The movie doesn't fill itself
with fleeting glimpses of Sharktopus to tease the viewer until the
at the end like a lot of creature features.
Just the opposite: This movie is
filled with full-on shots of the monster kicking ass and taking names,
time more outrageous than the next. It
also seems to target people with attitudes, so by the end of the
viewers are cheering when Sharktopus makes each kill.
The film doesn't even come close to taking itself
seriously. (With a title like that, how
can they??) The creators tongues were
planted firmly in their cheeks when they were making this which gives
a great sense of fun, and several comedic moments.
In one a beachcomber (a hot babe in a bikini,
naturally) finds a gold coin with her metal detector.
Her excitement turns to horror as Sharktopus'
tentacles snake out of the water and slowly drags her into the sea. She clutches at the sand and calls to an old
man (Roger Corman himself in an unbilled cameo) who just watches as she
devoured. The man then goes over and
picks up the coin, smiles to himself, and walks off the beach.
A film not to be taken seriously, Sharktopus is a lot of
The quality of the 1.78:1 image varies a bit over the course
of the film. A lot of the scenes are
bright, sharp and filled with detail, and look better than your average
offering. Unfortunately there are other,
less frequent, shots that have their problems.
There's a fair amount of banding in the underwater scenes, and
of the land sequences are soft and not as crisp as one would like. There are a couple of scenes where the white
levels are off just a tad, making bright highlights bloom just a bit. This mainly happens when the sun hits the
white sea foam on the shore. Aside from
this is a solid looking film, but not anything that you'll use to show
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack was fine, and a little
better than I expected it to be. During
the mass hysteria scenes the sound was enveloping and quite good, and
the most sedate sequences there was a good amount of information thrown
rears. The underwater shots worked well
too, largely due to the aquatic sounds coming from all corners of the
room. The dialog was adequate, but the
in some of the scenes came across as a bit shrill and it was obvious
lines had been redubbed in post. There
wasn't a lot of bass, but that's not too surprising.
While this track doesn't have the punch of a
film, it works quite well.
Unfortunately, the only video extra is a trailer for the
movie, but this is accompanied by a commentary track featuring
and Julie Corman. It's fairly
entertaining and Roger fills the time relating anecdotes about the
the creation of the monster. Not the
best track ever, but Corman fans should appreciate it.
will never be mistaken for art, it is a really fun film that delivers
it promises: a giant shark-octopus
creation wreaking havoc on an unsuspecting beach resort.
It's great fun to cheer for the monster,
especially when he jumps out of the water and chomps a bungie jumper
dolphin eating a fish at a Sea World show.
As long as you go in without expecting anything more that,
you'll have a
great time. A strongly recommended