A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 518 – Dinoshark

Dinoshark – July 31st, 2011

Last year for Shark Week we bought a bunch of horrible shark movies and had a grand time watching them and laughing our asses off. And we were surprised by at least one – Spring Break Shark Attack – and got just what we expected from another – Sharks in Venice. This year we thought we’d do it again with a new batch of shark movies. After all, Sharktopus wasn’t available when we did the last Shark Week and how could we pass that up? So tonight we embark on a new week of sharky goodness. We’ve got made for tv cheese like tonight’s movie. We’ve got a movie that terrified me as a kid. We’ve got a major theatrical release. And we’ve got Sharktopus. So we know we’re in for a good time.

Sadly, I don’t know if anything can ever top Sharks in Venice. It’s sort of a golden standard for us now. There was something so unapologetic about its ridiculousness. Granted, this movie comes close. I first saw it while flipping channels and I knew at once that we had to own it. Like several other monster movies we own, the concept is that a prehistoric monster got trapped in some ice and was released when the ice broke off a glacier or ice berg and melted in the ocean. Here we have a bunch of little baby dinosharks. Three years after the itty baby dinosharks go swimming off into the ocean we rejoin the movie to find that at least one has grown up big and strong enough to take out a small sailing vessel off the coast of Alaska and chow down on the sailor who was sailing it. Obviously a lone sailor isn’t going to be enough and it’s no fun setting a shark attack movie in Alaska. So the dinoshark heads for warmer waters, ending up off the coast of Mexico.

Let me be frank, here: I do not give a damn about any character in this movie. I’m pretty sure I’m at least supposed to care about the two leads, but I don’t. I barely remember their names an hour after the movie ended. Back when we watched Spring Break Shark Attack we figured we’d be getting a lot of people in bathing suits getting chomped on. That movie ended up having a whole message and plot and there were characters to care about at least a little and we were shocked. This movie? This movie delivers what we expected: People in bathing suits getting chomped. That right there is the movie’s purpose. Introduce monster, let monster loose on vacationers, blood in the water. The trick is coming up with a conceit for it that distinguishes it a tiny bit from any other movie that uses the same formula. Here, we’ve got the dinoshark.

And let’s talk about the dinoshark! Because it is hilariously awful. Like, imagine something hilariously bad, then assume it’s even more ridiculous. At work I have this great book called Paleosharks and there’s some pretty bizarre stuff in there. But none of them are like this. Through the latter half of the movie the characters seem to be referring to the creature as a pleiosaur. Which is funny, since that’s not a real thing. Then again, neither is the creature in the movie, which is basically a shark with crocodile skin and the head of a t-rex pasted onto its body. To its credit, it was the sight of the dinoshark itself that convinced me that this was a movie we needed to buy. So, mission accomplished there, I suppose. It’s just a good indication of what you’re getting into with this movie: Do not take it seriously or you will be so very disappointed.

The main characters – what I can remember of them – are Trace and Carol. Trace is from the area but only just returned to run a scuba diving boat for tourists while the friend who owns the boat is away. Carol teaches marine science at a local marine center but isn’t from the area. Together they hunt dinosharks! Sure, there’s some attempts at character development: There’s Carol’s creepy suitor who tries to get her to give up her science career to run the social activities at his resort. Trace talks about his father being in the military and how he couldn’t do it himself. But ultimately these things don’t matter in the least to the movie. These people aren’t so much characters as stick figures. The acting isn’t great, but I’ve seen worse. The thing is, there’s just no acting to be done here. Trace yells at the local cops, with whom he has some history, but then the dinoshark shows up to prove he’s not lying about it and the whole background there is a moot point. His father’s military background? Matters not one bit since another character entirely ends up going and getting a bazooka from his friends at a local army base. You’d think that would be a good chance to have something from Trace’s past matter, but nah. Who cares?

It’s similar for Carol through the rest of the movie. She maunders on about how she had no friends when she came to the area and all, but it doesn’t figure into anything. The only thing that matters at all is that in addition to her science background she also coaches a ladies’ water polo team. Who will of course get attacked. Like I said, the character backgrounds do not matter in the least. Carol’s only a scientist so they can have an excuse for someone to ID the thing that’s eating people left and right. That someone ends up being none other than Roger Corman himself, whom Andy IDed right away. I love it. It’s hilarious to see him on screen doing pseudoscience.

Really, the movie isn’t about the characters. And it’s not about what the monster is. Dinoshark, crocoshark, sharkosaurus, who cares? It’s a huge shark that leaps out of the water to snatch parasailers out of their harnesses. It lies in wait under floating hats from previous victims, apparently using the hat as a lure to catch another meal. It eats half of one victim, leaving her face recognizable just to mess with the rest of the humans. Cause it’s all about upping the terror quotient in a movie like this. And every computer generated moment of the dinoshark made me laugh in delight. This is not a big budget blockbuster. This is a made for television shark attack movie. And it is precisely the way I wanted to start my Shark Week.


July 31, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment


July 312011


Last year when the Discovery Channel did their annual Shark Week Amanda and I thought it would be amusing to collect a bunch of shark movies and watch them all in a week. It was an awful lot of fun and we saw some really hilariously bad movies, but there were movies that we didn’t have at the time and movies that have come out since which we felt we needed to add to our collection. Indeed SciFi seems to be specializing in low budget horror movies – many of which involve sharks in some way. So this year we’re delighted to host another week of cheesy shark movies. We seem to have inadvertently become connoisseurs of the cheesy shark genre. After the delightfully bad Sharks in Venice and the surprisingly good Spring Break Shark Attack we realized that there’s just an appeal to this low-budget sub-genre that speaks to us for some reason. So here we go again!

We start out this year with a movie that Amanda insisted we buy after seeing it advertised on SciFi. She simply fell in love with the monster – which is a shark’s body with a T-Rex head stuck on it. You can’t deny the appeal of that as a concept for a movie monster, but you have to have a special kind of love for cheese for that to be reason enough to actually buy a movie.

This film is a strictly by the numbers shark attack movie that never deviates from the tropes that make up the genre. It has a amiable and well meaning lug who works ferrying tourists out to dive spots in a boat he rents from a friend. He has a buddy on the police force and a rival who is now the local captain of police. When Trace gets into town he looks up another pal of his who owns a bar with his sister and a hot biologist with a masters degree who now coaches an all girls water polo team. A local business maven and slimeball has been trying to convince Carol to have her team participate in a game as part of a festival and regatta of some kind. A game that is to be held in an estuary just off the open ocean – and we all know just what that means.

I’ll be honest – I stopped caring about the characters in this movie almost immediately. I just wanted to see some people eaten by a dinoshark. Thankfully, the movie feels much the same way. Any time it begins to get bogged down with talk about the characters and their relationships with each other it cuts away to some random innocent person who you just know is about to get chomped. For a made-for-TV movie I will also say that I was impressed by the gore on display. The actual attacks are all filmed in extreme close up through clouds of blood, but we get to see the after effects a couple times. Dismembered corpses and floating limbs.

I had a lot of fun simply enjoying the pure cheese of this movie. The digital sharks. The many bikinied victims. And then along came my favorite thing in the entire movie. A scientist friend of Carol’s looked awfully familiar to me and darned if it wasn’t Roger Corman himself! I was already enjoying the cheesy fun of this movie, but to have the schlockmaster himself in a major supporting role raised it to an altogether greater level of fun for me.

Don’t look to this movie for originality. It’s a film about a prehistoric shark thing freed from a glacier that swims down to Mexico to eat tourists, after all. Don’t expect great acting or character drama. Don’t expect cutting edge special effects. Instead go into this movie expecting a hilarious shark thing with the face of a T-Rex that destroys a helicopter and eats a parasailor right out of his harness. That’s the kind of movie this is, and it’s exactly the movie Amanda and I had been looking forward to.

July 31, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment