Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda (Review)
Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda
Mom! Dad! Why are you fighting! ::bursts into tears::
Sharktopus was one of the better performing SyFy original movies and helped lead the charge into the fray of combination animals running amok on an unsuspecting populace. As it’s also a Roger Corman production, you know that every last dime is going to get squeezed out of the film. Hence two sequels! Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda is the first of these, essentially the Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy.
But Sharktopus is dead, how can there be another Sharktopus movie? Easy! Thanks to a handy recap of prior events, we learn that Sharktopus was preggers! A shark egg sack is among the pieces of Sharktopus that float out to sea and are quickly caught in a net for a boat being chartered by a Latin America amusement park that has sent it out to find cool stuff in the ocean, and Lorena Christmas discovers the baby Sharktopus 2.0, which she begins to raise.
On the polar opposite side we have another genetically engineered creature built as a weapon with Pteracuda, which has the flight powers of a pterodactyl and the underwater strength of a barracuda. While talk mentions that the US military is probably going to settle on its drone program over these genetically manipulated monstrosities, Dr. Rico Symes is convinced that he can create a creature that is more destructive in air and at sea that can outclass the drones. Things look well, until Pteracuda is almost immediately hijacked and goes berserk.
The baby Sharktopus growing up in a SeaWorld-ripoff doesn’t escape the world’s notice, even if the proposed Sharktopus show isn’t ready for prime time. Dr. Symes notices and knows what Sharktopus is, and sets out to pay off the park owner to use Sharktopus to fight Pteracuda before anyone with authority figures out what he did.
Thus the two monsters begin their battles, which happen sporadically, both monsters being off and on controlled by outsiders. It becomes obvious that part of the film is just dragging out the fight so the finale can’t happen too soon.
The fight scenes themselves are pretty hilarious, they threw in all sorts of monster gimmicks and action. Unlike a few versus films, there is enough fights to make everyone happy, and you can even tell what is going on in many of the shots. A voiceover tries to play up the dangers of octopi, calling them killers of the deep and saying “The ocean is salted with the tears of the dead.”
Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda was partially crowd-sourced, with potential monster names tossed out on Twitter by Roger Corman so people could vote. There is even a bit of gimmick casting, with Conan O’Brien appearing as a very arrogant Conan O’Brien before he gets Sharktopussed and turned into a volleyball. Then the film was aired the same week as Sharknado 2, which stole a lot of its thunder. And Sharknado 2 is a superior picture, but that’s not to say Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda is bad, it’s just above average SyFy original creature feature. I enjoyed it, I won’t change the channel if it’s on, but I won’t be seeking it out.
The inclusion of a SeaWorld analogue in a post-Blackfish world could have lead to some awesome subtext and digs, but outside of the owner instantly selling out and Sharktopus killing lots of people, there isn’t really a widespread condemnation of keeping alpha predators in captivity for entertainment. Or maybe there is…
Robert Carradine does an awesome job of playing a smug and backstabbing scientist who is just looking out for number one. He practically steals the show on the human scenes with his immoral and scenery chewing villainy. He outright tells Ham that he’s not going to risk his neck, and runs off to safe places several times. His treachery becomes his undoing, as he burns all his bridges so there is no escape from creature retribution. Rib Hillis more sleepwalks through his character, hampered largely due to his characters lack of personality until near the end of the film. Katie Savoy does well with Lorena Christmas, someone who is obviously in over her head but still has the skills and experience required to help save the day. The worst performances are some of the supporting characters, the completely overacting rich American tourist couple just grated and grated every scene they were in, it took way to long to kill them off!
Unfortunately due to all the outside control and other weird events, there isn’t much time for personality for the monsters. Sharktopus seems like it is smart and adaptive, but that’s never really used in the film. Pteracuda was designed as a weapon and just attacks attacks attacks. The scene where Pteracuda slaps Sharktopus is the only real time we see personalities emerge. It’s a shame, because cool monsters have personalities, and SyFy monsters almost never have personalities.
Sharktopus will return in Sharktopus vs. Mermantula, which was filmed back to back with Pteracuda. Hopefully we don’t have to wait for the third Sharknado film to get our fill of shark/octopus action.
Rated 6/10 (annoying American, noble dunce boyfriend, more annoying American, what NBC did to Conan, Sharktopus now in kite form, brain device)
Please give feedback below!