DVD Review: Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus

PDFPrintE-mail Written by Cleaver Patterson Monday, 27 June 2011

DVD / Blu-ray Reviews


Something large and scaly is terrorising a mining community somewhere in the Congo, and snacking on the unfortunate locals. In the Atlantic something equally big and inexplicable is attacking the US navy, and making fish food of them.

Enter explorer and big game hunter Nigel Putnam (Gary Stretch), and scientist Lt. Terry McCormick (Jaleel White) who, along with Special Agent Hutchinson (Sarah Lieving) has been sent by the government to assist them, must find out what is causing the chaos and try and halt it's carnage.  However whatever it (or they) is, is heading towards the American coastline with devastating results!

I was so tempted to open this review by saying that Mega Shark Vs Crocosaurus was a 'crock of &?@!'!  But let's wait until the end before I give my final prognosis.

Fortunately I never saw Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus. I wanted to, but there always seemed to be something better to watch. However if I had I wonder if I would have been any better able to relate to the characters and situations in what is billed as its sequel? No, I doubt it as well. Films like this are the cinematic equivalent of a Jackie Collins novel, glossy in a trashy kind of way, but making no pretence whatsoever at being a quality  production. It's not good. But there again it's not dreadful either.

Now before I get inundated with messages on the comment board saying that all my credibility as a critic has just gone out the window, I am by no means saying that this film is a masterful National Geographic like insight into the aquatic life of sharks or the swamp habitats of scaly reptiles. Nor am I going to make out that this is an edge of your seat shocker, with blood, guts and gore along the lines of 1978's Piranha and its plethora of sequels and remakes (it is only a certificate 12 after all). However neither is it all bad.  In fact, if taken as seen, it's a bit of a laugh, if only because it's so naff in parts. If I say that one of the scientists appears to have a fixation with his hydrosonic balls which he hopes to attract the mega monsters with, but are clearly there as an excuse for innuendo, I think you'll understand the level of humour that the film is aiming for without any help from me.

The jungle settings in which much of the initial crocodile action takes place are reasonably realistic, at least as far as general 'jungle' environments go - whether it's what the Inner Congo actually looks like is another question. And it does look as though they used actual battle ships to film the sea bound shark attacks. As far as settings go, so far so good. The humans in the story are reasonably believable as well, and the acting isn't in fact bad, in a second feature kind of way (though with dialogue like, "focus people we haven't seen anything yet", or "sir, the creatures are toast!", they're unlikely to be collecting a little yellow man any time soon).

It's when the giant beasts actually show themselves that, as one might expect, the film starts to come adrift. The crocodile is passable when seen on dry land, however the shark, which spends most of it's time out of water time sailing through the air like a member of an Olympic synchronised swimming team, looks totally animated (or should that be un-animated) for the duration of the movie.

The real problem with films like this (and here I include recent big budgeters like 1998's Godzilla), is that they are actually not much different from their prehistoric predecessors, such as 1954's Them and 1977's Empire of The Ants (you know, the 'epic' that Joan Collins has spent the rest of her career trying to forget). However, where the creakiness of those old black and white 'B' movies with their giant moths dangled from visible strings, and women in prim suits stuck in the middle of a desert at the mercy of some radioactive super beast (and by way of interest there is a hint of this woman in distress scenario here with an inappropriately attired mining executive who becomes croc bait early on), is part of their charm, these modern takes clearly spend a fortune trying to achieve similar results, but end up as distinctly paler imitations - at least the dialogue in those old films was believable even if the creatures weren't.

The climax (after a promising but disappointingly short lived attack by Crocosaurus on Orlando, Florida, and an attempt to trap the beasts in the Panama Canal), involves Mega Shark swallowing a nuclear submarine and becoming a nuclear bomb itself (and no, I'm not joking). Needless to say the whole thing attempts to go out with a bang. I'll leave it to you to decide whether I felt it did or not...

There are some trailers at the start, including one for Mega Piranha (does anyone else notice a theme emerging here?) that actually looks better than the main feature which is always a little worrying. Extras include a bloopers reel and the making of, though after the film I'd had enough.


Mega Shark Vs Crocosaurus is released on DVD July the 18th



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