Anchor Bay // 2010 // 89 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 4th, 2011
Half-shark. Half-octopus. All killer.
Pretty much what you'd expect.
The Navy, desperate to track down and eliminate all those jihadists that hang out on yachts, has contracted with a bioengineering firm to create a shark-octopus hybrid. Tagged "S-11," this fearsome creature is controlled via remote signal -- until a light jostling knocks the antenna off and he's suddenly free to devour beachgoers.
The head of the firm (Eric Roberts, The Dark Knight) hits the road looking to bring S-11 back alive, despite the concerns of his attractive daughter and the hotshot spearfisherman who was brought in to nail the creature with tranquilizers and walk around without a shirt.
Roger Coman's name is all over this thing and there's certainly a strain of Corman-esque B-movie fun running through Sharktopus. This being a SyFy original movie, the sleaze is turned down significantly, but many other bits remain to make the experience suitable ridiculous: the acting is laughably stilted, characters say things like "Attention, a killer shark-octopus hybrid is on its way, please leave the marina now," the plot doesn't make any sense (where is the Congressional oversight committee advising against the Navy building shark monsters?!), and the creature looks about as convincing as you'd think a shark-octopus mutant would look.
So, yes, Sharktopus is a terrible movie...but what separates this endeavor from similar SyFy productions is its sense of humor. What makes many of those other low-tech monster movies so unbearable is how self-serious they can be, as if we are to believe that Megashark is truly a force to be reckoned with even though it looks like an Etch-a-Sketch drawing.
Kudos to the minds behind Sharktopus; they know they're making a ridiculous movie and they let everyone in on the joke. The result is a handful of genuinely funny moments, like when a pair of crusty sailors lament their death at the hands of mutant tentacles in non-ironic fashion. Granted, some of the wink-wink-nudge-nudge humor can be too much, but a healthy dose of self-deprecation is always appreciated. If only there was just one scene with a practical monster effect, I'd be in an even better mood.
The Blu-ray holds up well; a high-performing 1.78:1, 1080p transfer delivering a pleasing, sharp picture quality. The HD/low-budget-scifi criticism remains, however; boosted resolution makes the already suspect effects look even worse. Sound comes from a clean Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track, and the only extra is audio commentary with producers Roger and Julie Corman.
It's not saying much, but this is the most amusing SyFy movie I've seen.
Not Guilty. That's right, I said it.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated