Megashark

As a rule, movie critics differ widely in opinion; it’s the reason we have more than one person writing reviews. However, in the wake of movies like “Citizen Kane”, “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Casablanca”, one universal question echoed from review to review: Wouldn’t these movies be way better if there had been a giant shark in them? If so, then why wasn’t one inserted? At a loss for answers, director Christopher Ray attempts to rectify these classic mistakes by delivering “Mega Shark versus Crocosaurus,” a film bursting at the seams with all the megalodon one could ever hope for, complete with a skyscraper-sized crocodile nemesis.

Ray, whose background includes such works as Bikini Jones and the Temple of Eros, displays great economy throughout the movie. This frugality extends from the CGI budget to the literal film itself; the viewer may notice that Megalodon’s lurking dorsal fin resembles a massive, gray windsurfing sail. Money was so precious that Ray chose to use establishing shots more than once. In the same way, he reuses familiar character stereotypes without trespassing on their one-dimensionality: the grizzled, cocky outdoorsman (who has somehow built up a reputation as a monster slayer); the nervous, nerdy scientist; and the frigid, female, “My-only-expression-is-mad” FBI agent. Meanwhile, the plot revolves around the premise that crocodiles love protecting their eggs and sharks love eating them. In a startling break from Ray’s usually distant relationship with reality, both these facts are true. Eventually, both shark and crocodile sink to the ocean’s floor locked in a mutual death grip, and neither of them wins, lending this movie a heartfelt message on the futility of violence.

However, the movie doesn’t limit itself to one life lesson. Whatever Christopher Ray’s intentions are, it’s clear that “Mega Shark versus Crocosaurus” is open to as many interpretations as we can come up with. For example, we might be tempted to dismiss the scientist’s attempts to develop a device that can both repel and attract sharks as absurd, but in the end his perseverance pays off, and the day belongs to him rather than to the Indiana Dundee caricature. On a more abstract level, one could easily draw a parallel between the monolithic struggle and the internal spiritual struggle of man, reminding us that when our own nature does battle against itself, both sides lose.

It could even be viewed as an “Alice in Wonderland-esque” critique of a universe without order: after all, in a world where sharks have explosive tails and crocodiles can undergo a significant evolutionary mutation in a matter of minutes, what would be left for us but confusion and madness?

Despite its heavily symbolic nature, a few prosaic points were sadly neglected in this movie. The name of the scientist’s device, for instance, remains eternally ambiguous: it’s referred to periodically as a “hydroponic” and “hydrosonic” sphere (depending, no doubt, on who was writing the script that day) before the characters finally settle on “balls.” It’s also questionable whether Agent “I can do a man’s job” Hutchinson would really be able to successfully pilot a helicopter while severely concussed; or whether she would be more likely to nosedive into the ocean while monologuing on her love for plants.

These are questions to which we don’t yet have the answers, but fear not, gentle readers: recently released in January was “Mega Shark versus Crocosaurus”s spiritual descendent, “Mega Python versus Gatoroid” (not the sports drink). While it lacks the key ingredient of a huge shark, Mega Python vs. Gatoroid seems determined, like its predecessor, to wholeheartedly make up for the grievous monster-less-ness from previous generations of filmmakers; and as we await the release of movies like “The Amazing Spiderman” and “The Hobbit,” we can only hope that their producers have learned a valuable lesson about the importance of a megalodon.

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