God bless The Asylum for the good work they do. Anyone who followed my first blog will know that I have a lot of experience with the movies these wonderful people churn out, and at least 50% of the time I’ve walked away with only minor emotional scarring. That said, the Good Lord knows I love me some soft science in a movie, and Mega Shark VS Mecha Shark is just such a smorgasbord of delightful scientific tripe that you can’t help but be entertained.
As we all know, global warming is a bit of a thorn in humanity’s side at the moment. Being the eco-warriors that The Asylum’s producers and directors undoubtedly are, they decide to open this film by showing us the great lengths desert countries such as Egypt will have to go to to supply their populations with fresh drinking water – by having a tiny dingy tow an iceberg into the Mediterranean. That the iceberg will simply be frozen salt water is just one of the delicious scientific inaccuracies that we as the audience will have to deal with.
But it isn’t just salt water frozen in this iceberg, oh no. The iceberg also contains a frozen (yet completely alive) Megalodon. Since the Mediterranean is a somewhat more temperate environment than the North Pole is, the iceberg begins to melt, releasing the prehistoric shark into the world’s oceans where it proceeds to wreak havoc on all forms of oceanic trade, oil rigs and busty holiday makers.
But never fear, somewhat dumb-struck viewer, for the UN is always on hand to rescue us in times of (unlikely and improbable) crisis! For those of you who don’t read the news very often, the UN has its own mechanical shark-submarine division just raring to go as soon as this sort of situation arises. Their plan (and one must never underestimate their expertise in this particular field) to combat the Megalodon is to build a mechanical shark that can do battle with it.
Whilst this all sounds utterly convincing and fool-proof on paper, the difference between a plan in theory and a plan in action is often striking. From the very get-go, the planning of this mission makes the Bay of Pigs invasion seem like a well-planned and well-executed military exercise:
- The UN tests and green lights one mechanical shark, only to scrap it and go in blind with a bigger, completely untested mechanical shark 2.0.
- A slight nudge from anything under water completely disables the mecha shark.
- The shark’s AI, Nero, has been designed to become romantically attached to its pilot.
- Despite the fact that the mecha shark is nothing more than a redesigned submarine, the AI loses complete control of its systems at any depth beyond 500m.
- The mecha shark is loaded with torpedoes, although none of them have any kind of guidance system to aid them in reaching their target.
- The AI can lock its designer out of its programming if it doesn’t feel like doing what it is being commanded to do. Since the designer is the husband of the pilot the AI is romantically attached to, this happens a lot.
- At a depth of anything beyond 200m, communications between the surface and the mecha shark are no more than the fevered dreams of a mad man.
- The AI was not designed to be able to differentiate between the Megalodon and a falling rock.
- The AI, when in amphibious mode, was not designed to be able to differentiate between the Megalodon (which, surprisingly, isn’t running around on land) and groups of soldiers or unarmed civilians.
- The AI was also not designed to be able to tell the difference between the Megalodon and a video camera.
- The mecha shark has two on-board AI systems designed to try and lock one another out of piloting the craft.
- These two competing AIs have different objectives and programming, which can (and does) lead to serious malfunctioning depending on which one has temporary control of the craft.
- Kill switches designed to turn off the AIs don’t work because each AI can override the kill switch, and then one another.
So, all in all, this mission isn’t exactly getting off to a booming start. To compound these problems, it would appear that the UN used up all its budget building this useless mecha shark and had to resort to the bargain bin at whatever shop one goes to to buy a scientific advisor on ancient sharks. Not that she hasn’t aged wonderfully, but I have my doubts about Debbie Gibson’s ability to ensure our future as an ocean-going people.
Given the seemingly insurmountable problems facing the machine that’s designed to save us, the Megalodon itself seems relatively easy to handle. The simple fact of the matter is, after being frozen in ice for over 2 million years, the thing’s horny as hell. That his species became extinct during his time in the ice certainly isn’t going to help matters either. All the scientists and the mecha shark will have to do is beat the Megalodon to Australia (its alleged ancient spawning ground) and destroy it before it realises it isn’t going to get any and becomes the horny shark equivalent of the little girl in The Exorcist.
It’s The Asylum, so one mustn’t expect miracles when it comes to what you’re looking at. CGI is obviously going to abound, and it would actually be a bit of a disappointment if the shark didn’t change its size a few times throughout the course of the movie.
So far as the mecha sharks are concerned, they look exactly like what they’re meant to look like – highly computerised mechanical sharks. The inside of the mecha sharks leaves a little more to be desired, since I’ve seen more advanced technology in a 90s arcade racer. This, however, is nothing compared to the ships the commanders of the fleet sail on. You could raise the Titanic and there would be less rust on it by comparison, but I’m certainly no sailor so I may be entirely misjudging sailing standards. I always just imagined ocean-going fleets would be a little cleaner.
A bad movie has succeeded when you walk away from it filled with anything other than blind rage that you just gave up an hour and a half of your life. In that regard, Mega Shark VS Mecha Shark succeeds admirably – if you’re anything like me (which in itself is a frightening thought) you will walk away from this one highly amused. Slightly confused, but still highly amused.
Aside from the feelings, there are also the tremendous lessons that we can take away from films like this. Lessons such as,
- Giant squids will fiercely defend their territory against incursions by mechanical sharks.
- Megalodon attacks are no reason to infringe on the rights of small fishermen.
- Counter-Megalodon shark-submarines can be completely powered by disco lights.
- AIs can be really sassy when it comes to people smoking.
- Australian soldiers are trained to evacuate entire cities in the event of a prehistoric shark attack.
- The UN has a career division dedicated to training people to pilot shark-submarines.
With all this entertainment value, so many invaluable scientific and life lessons to be gained, not to mention watching Debbie Gibson trying to be a scientist, if you can resist watching this movie then you are a far stronger individual than I could ever hope to be.
My Final Rating: 4 / 10
Buy the Movie at Amazon.com