Time for more confusing re-titling of shark movies, as there’s a tv movie from 2012 actually called Sharkzilla, but the old 2002 Megalodon (yeah, originality isn’t this subgenre forte, as there’s yet another movie called “Megalodon” that was released in 2018) was released on DVD in the UK as Sharkzilla, de facto just putting a lick of paint over a + 10 years old movie to fool people into thinking it’s a crappy new release.
Lovely confusion-based marketing, par for the course for this strain of shark shit, so much than in Germany was sold as “Jurassic Shark 3” (there no Jurassic Shark 2, and i thank the heavens for it)! Then again, i paid it less than 5 bucks, total, so…
While it’s often listed as 2004 release, this actually debutted in 2002 in Japan (according to IMDB), the copyright date on the back of the DVD cover confirms it, and yes, this even predates the beloved, craptacular Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, by just a month, though, making it the first shark movie about a megalodon… as far i know, i haven’t yet made a full dive to verify this claim, but it’s definitely one of the earlier movies to be based around the idea of a prehistoric giant shark.
Which it’s interesting because this doesn’t have the same exact plot as David Worth’s legendary fest of early bad CG, but it lays a blueprint for many future shark movies and similar creature features, as the megalodon shark is awakened by an oil driven underwater drilling, which breaks a fissure reveals a “mirror ocean” (Azur Lane joke here) full of prehistoric marine life thought extinct. With the pollution and the now open fissure also comes the release of a big ass prehistoric shark, the long thought extinct “carcharodon megalodon”, which takes to the usual habits of sharks to fuck shit up.
The movie also directly opens with talks and discussions about a potential enviromental crisis due to the oil drilling so far underwater, which is more than i expected, usually these movies use these themes accidentally or just relegate it to a couple of lines and that’s it, Megalodon actually tries to confront them right away… it amounts to “good intentions” and not much else, but they’re more than you usually get, so i’ll take it.
Sadly that’s about the best thing i can say about this movie, because time sure as hell hasn’t been kind to it, but even leaving how the CG of a almost 20 year old shark movie looks better than the one seen in a lot more recent shark flicks… the CG itself it’s not good, wasn’t even that great back then, and a lot of the movie seems to have glomped too much on the “no need, we’ll do it in CG” philosophy, because they do horizons, establising shots, vehicle sequences (helicopters, submarines), all in a lazy way.
I don’t usually use the term “lazy” for CG, but yes, the way it’s used it’s a total cop-out, and keep in mind the CG itself isn’t even that bad, all thing considered, some money was thrown at this project, definitely, but then they do stuff like having a scene when it’s snowing… and they CG the snow, obviously, BUT still use a fan to make the wind blow in the faces of the actor. And most of the sequences with vehicles do look a PS2 intro cutscene, i’ve said this many times.. it’s still true here, these sequences use CG more fit for a videogame intro cinematic of that era than a movie.
The cast isn’t bad at all, the most recognizable ones are definitely Al Sapienza, Robert Sachs and Mark Sheppard (aka Crowley in Supernatural), but there are a lot of faces that will probably look quite familiar. It helps, it does, but they are clearly slumming in it, as acting is overall mediocre, maybe it would be better if most of the cast didn’t have – for some reasons – some kind of “english movie accent” that doesn’t really exist, but kinda resemble a real one… and kinda doesn’t.
What would help if dialogue didn’t seem recorded via a microphone inserted in a tube of Pringles, or a huge, empty submarine, so uncanny is the reverb, doesn’t matter if they’re outside, in the underwater facility lunch room, or in one of those heavy work submarines with the claws (of course yellow, this must be an unwritten movie law about submarines). It’s a bit odd, because, while being yet again a cause of bad audio mixing, it’s not exactly like in most of these cheapo movies, as in you can hear the dialogue more or less clearly most of the time, but sometimes you’ll miss word and exchanges regardless because it all sounds muffled. Or when they just add sounds of wind and machinery that almost drown out everything else, as one does.
Shame because at times the movie looks presentable enough to kinda warrant a release in theathers… but then the muffled “pringles-born” dialogues and the cheap sets that often feel barren show it’s a cheap affair through and through, one with basically no blood and almost no practical gore effects, aside from a scene where they cut a tube and a piranha-shark-thing attacks one of the workers. But it’s not edited or shot clearly so you can’t really tell if that was a mini-megalodon or not…. which is why they later show you a 3D recreation of the thing, guess they realized later they didn’t really show the monster/animal in that previous scene. Whoopsie.
Even the final showdown is kinda pitiable, with one dude kamikazing against the shark in a submarine…. that explodes NOT like a submarine, but something else that doesn’t leave any debris or scrap behind, just a crappy – and kinda pathetic – “clean” esplosion.
It’s kinda boring, it’s not unwatchable, it tethers on the edge of being too boring to watch, and somehow manages to not really fall into that category, but it’s never really that interesting, it’s… tolerable, not exactly that alluring as a proposition. Even more because Megalodon commits two of the “shark sins” these movie are often guilty of , as in the sharks doesn’t show up until 45 minutes in, and the runtime is 75 minutes….. but the movie it’s a lot shorter, it’s more 65 (or 62, given the initial credit sequence is longer than it should) minutes and the rest is an extensive final credit roll to pad out the runtime as hard as possible.
Also, pretty much everything this movie does had already been done better (as the setting in an underwater lab/facility with the boss of said company, his employees and others is similar to Deep Blue Sea, released 3 years prior), or would be used in more entertaining way by later shark movies, so seeing it right now is kinda pointless. Not absolutely awful, not frustrating, but besides of it’s very mild historical value as one of the first shark movies to feature the megalodon (and the oddly good cast they roped in)… it’s no wonder they had trouble trying to sell this one back in the day.