In 2013, the first season of the Attack On Titan anime was launched, and effectively made the already successful manga series by Hajime Isayama (started in 2009 on Bessatsu Shonen Magazine) a worlwide phenomen, the anime/manga series that gets big and becomes a sensation even outside of the already invested cultural circles and subcultures, like Death Note did before, resulting in anime/nerd/geek cons flooded with dozens of cosplayers in the guise of the young soldiers and their desperate struggle at gigantomachia in a fantasy Western Europe, for some years to come until the next big series that people won’t shut up about for a time.
While this means bugger all for The Asylum, as they really don’t belong in the “animesphere”, they clearly noticed the popularity of Attack On Titan (or SnK, if you really care), and find an oblique way to chomp at the popularity crumbs of both the anime series, AND to double-dip on the far more popular love letter to mecha anime and kaiju movies, Pacific Rim, which they already “mockbustered” a year later with Atlantic Rim. To really make this the perfect matrioska of creative compromises, they decided to realize this marketing manouver in the shape of a new Mega Shark movie.
But of course, some lipservice to pretense of originality was to be paid, so they pitted the Maxisized Megalodon VS Kolossus, a russian robot from the Cold War era, who is blatantly made to look like the Colossal Titan from Attack On Titan, repurposed as a bootleg-Jaegers from Atlantic Rim, because recycling is caring, after all. And we have the Mega Shark, who will fight the giant russian robot… because you’re here for that.
As for narrative reason why this happens, is because of red mercury, since russian boats drilling underwater for this nuclear substance accidentally release another Mega Shark, while some shady black market transaction happens in an Ukrainian mine, cut-off by the awakening of a giant robot, Kolossus. An enviromental mogul skilled in technology is involved, some conspiracy is afoot, mercenary troops, the military tries to kill the Mega Shark with bombs and guns (as we’re contractually obligated by genre tradition-tropes), and somewhere along the line – code for “in the last 20 minutes of the movie” – , Mega Shark fights the giant robot Kolossus, who is basically a walking nuclear energy deposit. And it shoots laser beams, because yes.
Back on the director’s chair we have Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray (already tasked to direct Mega Shark VS Crocosaurus 4 years earlier), backed with a script that’s shameless as you’d expect, but packs a lot more subplots, doesn’t just cut to bikini contest because the screenwriters got bored half-way through, and delivers the right kind of fun bullshit you expect, from submarine fleets named “Unicorns” piloted by ladies in motocycle /Woodrocket porn e-sports spoof gear, the Mega Shark launching a submarine into the Rio’s famous Cristo Redentor (they had to outdo the Giza Sphinx’s decapition from Mega Shark Vs Mecha Shark), plot points cribbed by old classic robot movies and shows, a glut of stock footage for the intro, etc.
And yes, it follows from the last movie, since the continuity is as loose as it needs to be to welcome any stupid reason, like how this new shark has the same DNA as the one before… because apparently he now can asexually reproduce. What isn’t new is the characters, the usual cabal of angry scientist, rude government agents, but now we get the enviromental-tech mogul who wants to atone for his father’s history of sins against nature… but he’s clearly an evil megalomaniac.
In a way, this is the more…. ambitious (in very big quotation marks) of the Mega Shark movies, as it packs even an anti-war message, alongside one of those memorable scenes that makes movies like this memorable, In this case we have a giant robot launching a megalodon into space to hit a satellite’s laser, which destroys the moon, brings you to “trash heaven”, and reminds one of that legendary scene from the 1983 Hercules, where Lou Ferrigno launches a bear into the stratosphere, thus forming the Ursa Major constellation. Because italian peplum-xploitation, that’s why! 🙂
While it was probably never intended as the final movie in the Mega Shark series (since at the end another megalodon is born, somehow), we never got another one in almost 6 years, and it feels like they wanted to “go out with a bang” before giving this a rest and focusing on more Sharkenado sequels, as it’s arguably the best film in the series (even if the characters were better in Mega Shark VS Mecha Shark).
Good night, sweet shark prince, may flights of mega angels sing thee to thy rest.