Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sharktopus Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Until now, Mansquito was my favorite movie title – and favorite creature feature.  That honor now goes to Sharktopus.  Sharktopus is fun, creative, and cheesy – but cheesy in a very good way.  I had a great time watching the movie but was sad by the lack of special features, because I really wanted to know more about this hybrid killing machine.

Film (3 out of 5 stars) 

As you might have guessed, Sharktopus is a film about an animal which is a cross between a shark and an octopus.  Eric Roberts stars as Nathan Sands, the genetic scientist who created the Sharktopus, known to him as S-11.  The film begins with Sands and his scientist daughter showing off what their freaky creation can do and how well it can be controlled.  It even saves the life of a swimmer about to be eaten by a regular, but still scary shark.  Wouldn’t you know it, but S-11 quickly releases itself from the tether of its masters and goes on a killing spree.
There are plenty of questions that may run through your mind while enjoying an evening of Sharktopus like why does it have spears at the end of its tentacles or spikes sticking out of its gills?  I find these are questions better left unanswered.   It’s kind of like asking why is the sky blue?  The answer is that it “just is.”  I am a little disappointed that the film completely overlooked any discussion of how and where the Sharktopus was created and why they chose to combine Shark and Octopus.  Did other experiments fail?   Was there first a previous Sharktapotamus? A Crocktopus?  A Spidergator?
The S-11 creature makes his way to Puerta Vallarta for an all you can eat buffet.   He snacks on bungee jumpers, jet skiers and even those on the beach.  This point led to a small but brief argument about why the Sharktopus can exit the water. Does an Octopus breathe air?   I don’t know and decided I don’t care because I was enjoying the movie too much.  A Sharktopus has no rules.
I was pleasantly surprised that acting wasn’t bad by the cast as a whole.   Many death scenes had cheesy screams and flailing arms but I found that enjoyable as well.  All the “cheese” of the film made it fun to watch.  Looking for photos of Sharktopus, I noticed a lot of really negative reviews.  I think a lot of people need to lighten up A LOT.   If you are expecting a cinematic masterpiece from something titled Sharktopus, you are bound to be disappointed.  As expected the creature is computer generated, and realistic enough for me.

Video (3 out of 5 stars)

This 1080p transfer is presented in a wide-screen 1.78:1 ratio, offers a wide spectrum of color and the detail is fairly good except when the humans and the CGI mix.  The underwater scenes are clear when they need to be – a bloody mess of thrashing water the rest of the time.  My biggest complaints about video quality are usually about night scenes where you can’t tell what’s going on. Sharktopus however, takes place during the day so the picture quality looked pretty good. The movie’s problem is with consistency.  Some shots looked really good while others weren’t that great.  Watch out for blood splatter on the screen!

Audio (4 out of 5 stars)

What better way to hear a Sharktopus than in DolbyTrue HD 5.1 sound. I wish the Sharktopus was part Dinosaur so we could have heard a real Jurassic Park-like roar. The audio quality was more than adequate and far better than other SyFy movies.  For a low budget film, the mix had a lot to it with lots of ambient noise, and good use of the satellite speakers.  The film’s dialogue was clear but somewhat low, but the effects like gunfire and screaming tourists came through loud and clear!

Special Features (1 out of 5 stars)

There aren’t many special features on this Blu-ray Disc.  You will find a trailer and the disc automatically plays previews for some equally cheesy flicks.  I would have been thrilled to see a documentary about the making ofSharktopus and a serious look into the Origins of the Creature and maybe a cast commentary to go along with the commentary with Perry Martin, and Roger & Julie Corman. As it is, Roger Corman and company talk about making the film, and the challenges of making it on the water and in the daylight. It was a fun listen especially since they obviously don’t take the movie seriously.

Final Thoughts (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Sharktopus is a campy, cheesy creature-feature that doesn’t spare on the blood. The carnage is done in a fun way, if you catch my drift and not done solely to gross you out as some other blood-bath movies can be.  This movie left me wanting to see more of this killing machine.  I can only hope to one day see a Prequel about the Origin of Sharktopus, where we learn more about the creature and the scientists who created him.  This is a movie I recommend shutting your brain off for (or at least turning it to a lower setting) and having some fun with it. Don’t overthink the plot and its plausibility, and you will enjoy it as I did.  A few more special features and maybe a hint of a sequel or prequel and this could have had a solid four rating.
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