Case Number 02582: Small Claims Court

SHARK ATTACK 3: MEGALODON

Lionsgate // 2002 // 94 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // January 31st, 2003

The Charge

The terror has surfaced.

The Case

What do you do when a 15-foot primordial man-eating aquatic killing machine as envisioned and championed in 1975 by the king of the summer blockbusters just won't do? Why, you throw in a zoom lens and create a negative expanded 60 footer. Then it's time to crank up the optical printer. In Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, we are treated to a third act segment of a supposed cinematic trilogy as dispiriting as Sophia Coppola sleepwalking through the final installment of a certain operatic tale of greed, corruption, and the power of nepotism. This brine shrimp guano has very little to do with extinction, either evolutionary or biological, and everything to do with two psycho sharks, both of which make Bruce from The Young Steven Spielberg Chronicles look like a photo-realistic hologram. These hopped-up hammerheads are sexually attracted to fiber optic cables and spend their down time swimming along a Mexican barrier reef occasionally snacking on the super-sized mammal taquitos that float around in the warm tropical waters. Apex Communications maintains the underwater fish fetish phone line, and they figure that with the help of some corrupt government official with a face-like granite Mayan moose and his lobster loving beach patrol, there will be a minimum of bloodletting (or at least an amount acceptable within the cost/benefit analysis pie chart). But when an expert from the California Museum of Natural History (and unnatural Rodeo Drive facial surgery) shows up to help with the dental deciphering of species and genus, everything degenerates into a substandard version of an ancient flounder on the warpath. Call it a lukewarm Jurassic Shark.

To paraphrase/pay homage to/otherwise rip off the advertising slogan for that now timeless cinematic classic, Jaws: The Revenge (and why not, since every other aspect of this horrendous foreign flim flam is snatched from its Peter Benchley-inspired betters), instead of the "this time...it's personal" tagline, a more apropos motion picture maxim for Shark Attack 3: Megalodon would read "this time...it's miserable...Or horrible...Or copyright infringeable." From its badly edited cobbling together of stock footage, blurred underwater shots, and fake fish fudging to its garbage disposal mishmash of gratuitous gore, nudity, and non-sequitorial dialogue, this Jaws for jerks plays like a hillbilly's home movies. William Grefe's Mako: Jaws of Death is like a scientific primer compared to the outrageously ridiculous story here (and Grefe's hero talks to fish!). There is just something criminally deranged about a movie that's main characters (a Baywatchless lifeguard and a plastic surgery disaster damsel as paleontologist) decide to cap off a night of intrigue and skullduggery with the following exchange:

WOMAN: "You okay?
MAN: "I'm a little wired. How about I take you home and (consume) your (cute pet name for a feline)?"

You feel as if you are witnessing a cinematic savant's primal scream as an angry animal monster action flick. Subtly can find no purchase here. Neither can basic film competence. Since this reviewer missed Shark Attack 1 and 2, it is a safe bet that Shark Attack 3: Megalodon addresses all the cliffhanger endings and interpersonal questions raised and brings closure to storylines predominant from the first features. How else could this film's complete lack of cohesiveness and understandability be explained?

This Slavic staffed slop (you won't see this many credited surnames ending in -ev, -ov, or -av in a Bosnian phonebook) is a total, nothing can possibly promote its viewing dose of sea monkey jock itch. However, there is only one halfway decent aspect to Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, a hackneyed cinematic device that will momentarily prevent you from slowly pulling each and every one of your body hairs out -- one at a time -- by the root. Once Baby Beluga has bit the big one (in a slow motion spray/splash of Smucker's Strawberries Preserves), Momma Meg shows up, and she is roughly the size of Long Island. She immediately rises up out of the water and swallows an entire patrol boat containing an ancillary character. Now, this dramatic attack effect is not achieved by the use of intricate computer CGI or elaborate miniatures. What the braintrust behind SA3M did was take tacky Discovery Channel footage of feeding frenzied fish breaking the water and opening their mouths, and then they Abode Photoshoped the action over the top. When our gigantic beast swallows a bad guy, it's not movie magic but a desktop publishing trick. Each time it happens, whether it's a life raft filled with partygoers or a ship stern swan diving extra, the effect is goofy and guffaw worthy. But it is also the only remotely redeeming or entropy reducing reason to sit through Shark Attack 3: Megalodon.

The higher ups at Lions Gate must have been out taking a whiz when their underlings agreed to release this seasick DVD smegma. The overall image presentation is so rank that sperm whales purposefully beach themselves just to avoid the compression defects and stock footage damage. In a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer the picture solarizes, posterizes and does a deadly digital artifact dance. And then we have to put up with the mismatched film stock, awkward squirrel brain editing and overproduced soundtrack that practically bashes you in the head to pay attention (even if the Dolby Digital stereo is no great shakes). But it can't succeed in keeping you awake during this long, drawn out dull drone of a film. The trailer is merely passable (you keep waiting for the Terminator 2 music to start up and the quick cutting of action sequences to pile drive you into caring) and with no other extras to speak of, the package becomes a waste of time and space. Shark Attack 3: Megalodon is, like Kenny McCormick, a poor piece of crap. And unfortunately, that old sea salt Quint was wrong when he categorized the mastication capacity of the invertebrate villain here. This shark won't just swallow you whole. It will suck big time too!

Review content copyright © 2003 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 46

Perp Profile
Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* Spanish

Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* Trailer

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0313597/combined