“Sharkzilla”, known everywhere apart from the UK as “Megalodon”, is a 2004 TV movie set on a deep sea oil rig which breaks through to a hidden undersea ocean. If that sounds familiar, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the first two-thirds of “The Meg”, although this film manages to tell the story without once having to fall back on anything remotely interesting or engaging.
With the world facing an energy crisis, the need for new oil fields is greater than ever. Peter Brazier (Robin Sachs), CEO of Nexecon has developed Colossus, a super-rig which can drill in previously inaccessible areas. Off the coast of Greenland, the rig begins operations only to break through into a hidden sub-ocean, home to exotic and unknown marine life and the long through extinct super-predator: The Megalodon.
“The Meg” isn’t the only film to which “Sharkzilla” bears a strong similarity: it owes a huge debt to “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace”. Like “The Phantom Menace”, there’s a huge reliance on CGI, not just in the wide FX shots but for many of the dimly lit ‘sets’ too. Also like “The Phantom Menace” it’s overly talky, devoting massive portions of its runtime to exposition dumping ‘news reports’ or dull conversations between the characters in place of action or incident. The final Lucasian flourish is the all-too-brief exploration of the newly discovered sub-ocean bears a strong resemblance of the journey through the core of Naboo, down to there always being a bigger fish. It’s mercifully free of Gungans, at least.
The special effects – apart from the actual shark – are actually pretty good. I mean, they’re obviously CGI but it’s good CGI nonetheless. Robin Sachs (familiar to fans of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” as the villainous Ethan Raine) and Mark Shephard (of “Supernatural” fame) bring some gravitas to the performances but despite all of its plus points, it commits the cardinal sin of schlocky sharksploitation movies: it’s boring. We’re over halfway through the movie before we even get a glimpse of ‘sharkzilla’. Even Gareth Edwards had flashed us some of Godzilla way before the half-way point.
In the end, the over-reliance on CGI has the same effect here as it did in the “Star Wars” prequels, it robs the whole thing of even a façade of reality. Nothing has any weight and so the stakes never feel real, or as real as they can for this kind of movie.
With no memorable characters and even fewer notable kills, this instantly forgettable creature feature will sink into the murky depths of your memory the moment you hit the ‘stop’ button – which may well be way before its 88-minute run time has elapsed.