I almost feel like reviewing this is unnecessary. You know damn well from the title, box art and stamp of quality from the SyFy Channel what you’ll get, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. Let’s face it, this is bad, you know it is going to be bad and the filmmakers going in probably had little intentions of making a good film. However, unlike the majority of SyFy fodder, this one bears a name we have all come to recognize, perhaps even fondly, though not necessarily equate with quality cinema: Roger Corman.
Corman is far from being the young renegade he was when producing films for American International Pictures and starting the careers of the likes of Martin Scorsese. Now, Corman seems merely content with aiding in the production of seemingly low budget (and low concept) creature features. Yeah, I just called a movie featuring a half shark/half octopus “low concept”. Sorry, but I assume 90% of the nation’s grade school children churn something akin to that on a daily basis. Corman is also not jump starting any future careers here, though he may have helped to flatline Eric Roberts’ (who serves as the only remotely qualified actor in the film) if it wasn’t already.
Alright, less about Corman, more about the Sharktopus. Yeah, that. In all honesty, I’ve tried (without much effort) to block most of this film out of my head in the approximately twelve hours since I’ve watched it. The plot matters very little here and honestly isn’t as absurd as I’d have hoped considering the potential at hand. Basically, the government commissioned a half shark/half octopus defense/attack beast and now it has gone rogue and started eating Californians. Call in some attractive bimbo and a muscled, almost always shirtless mercenary to take care of the situation and you’ve got your conflict and resolution.
The problems with Sharktopus are not merely confined to how inept the filmmaking is (and it is). Where it really goes wrong is in being redundant. Almost every death scene is the same and they’re all over relatively quickly. I can deal with horrible CG and characters that exist only to be killed, but at least kill them with style. People primarily get offed either by being speared with a tentacle or two, or by getting munched on with a splash of CG blood hitting the screen. I know that this was made for TV and there is only so much they can get away with, but that is what home video is for. Give the fans some extra carnage and boobies. Come on, Corman, we know you’re capable of getting this stuff, you’re not fooling anyone.
Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of Sharktopus is the acting, or lack there of. I, of course, was not expecting a cast of method actors to be taking on the roles but I’m pretty sure the folks of Jersey Shore could have pulled off more convincing performances here. If anything good will come of this, it is that these people have guaranteed future careers in the porn industry. I’ve never seen so much great porn acting from people who remain clothed for the entire film (except for shirtless mercenary dude, of course).
Anchor Bay’s blu-ray looks fine. The colors are strong but some of the computer generated images, especially backgrounds look really awful. It is almost as if they look dirty or grainy. I’m not sure if this is an issue with the source material or if it happened in conversion but it definitely takes away from the image quality overall. Still, this looks quite a bit better than I’d expect it to and fans of the film should be pleased. The audio sounded adequate to me but I did not view with any sort of surround sound system, so take that for what it is worth. On the features spectrum, the offerings are very light. The only feature worth mentioning is a commentary with Corman which I only listened to briefly. It seems like an an engaging and fun track as Corman is always a great person to hear speak and he has plenty of stories to tell. I’ll be returning to the commentary at some point for sure.
I don’t think it is really worth it for me to tell you that Sharktopus is a bad film, but it is. Anyone that is even considering watching this knows that already though, and as a bad film, it is slightly better than most though disappointing considering Corman’s involvement. One can unfortunately only imagine what could have been if Corman himself had directed this thirty years ago.