Saturday, 17 May 2014
So I'm writing a feature script that parodies the monster mash-up genre. It's a university assessment to be submitted in six days. And today I watched Sharktopus as 'research'. Definitely not procrastination.
Sharktopus is exactly what I expected it to be – poorly written, poorly directed, awful acting, shoddy effects, occasionally brilliantly silly.
There’s a solidly ludicrous B-movie plot at the core - US government fund ridiculous creature, it escapes, oh shit shit shit shit, kill it - but the character story on top of that is painfully bad and gratingly predictable. No, Hot Female Scientist, don’t apologise to Macho Action Hero for being “horrible” by turning down his advances, he hasn't stopped being an utter twat!
It doesn't help that their dialogue is terrible, cluttered with exposition bombs along the lines of “Flynn, who you fired two years ago”, nor does the questionable quality of acting talent save the film. Sure, Eric Roberts, an actual actor who’s been in real films, is on the cast list, but he only really stars for the first 20 minutes, then fucks off to sit on his luxury yacht, away from all the action where his hair can't get damaged, for the bulk of the movie.
But that’s all to be expected. What do terrible story, dialogue and acting matter when there’s a giant shark-octopus hybrid and lots of girls in bikinis, right? That’s the cynical attitude taken by Syfy, who never really care for the whole ‘building suspense’ schtick that made Jaws so good and so bring the monster gorily to the fore right from the start. Sadly, it's far from the best cinematic action, not just in terms of actually being good but also in terms of "so bad it's good", lacking the bombast of the legendary Sharknado and ultimately being the level of crap that would have the shark from Jaws spinning in its grave (before being resurrected by witches and mating with a hedgehog, as is usual behaviour for sharks these days).
Still, there is some fun to be had, and Sharktopus wins points back for the actually funny sketch-like scenes in which weird and wonderful characters are set up just to be gutted by the big tentacled bastard. A (bikini-clad) girl scared to go bungee jumping. Guys cleaning the side of a ship and discussing if anyone’s ever fallen off their platform. Another (bikini-clad) girl running a metal detector over a beach. In all of these cases, guess what happens. I have to say, I laughed. At a point when the film wanted me to.
So it’s not all bad. Just mostly.
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