Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid

It's been a while since I enjoyed a movie that was meant to be so bad it's good Sure, I loved Mega Piranha, but I was let down by the intentionally campy Piranha (2010) and the PG-13 Shark Night.  The obvious solution to my problem is to figure out what made Mega Piranha so fun.  Let's was a SyFy original TV movie and it starred 80s teen pop star Tiffany.  Where can I find something that will duplicate the key elements of success, but kick things up a notch?

SyFy original movie?  Check.  Tiffany?  Check.  Added star power to push this thing over the top?  Debbie Gibson.  I mean, almost check.  "Mega" in the title, to let you know shit has gotten serious?  Double check.  It's time for me to enjoy a bad movie (and possibly enjoy alcoholic beverages)!

Mega Python vs. Gatoroid begins the way you imagine a movie with this title would: with stupidity.  Nikki Riley (Deborah Gibson) is a herpetologist (that's a PhD in reptile herpes to you non-bookish types) who breaks snakes out of confinement and releases them into the Everglades.  Now, I don't have herpes am not a snake doctor, but even I know that the Everglades have a pretty awful snake overpopulation problem.  You would think a herpetologist would be the last person to release snakes into the Everglades, but you know what happens when you assume... are absolutely correct.
Well, Dr. Riley releases the snakes into the wild and they grow to fantastic sizes because SCIENCE.  Actually, no, scratch that.  Just because; there's no science in this movie.  To counter the snake population, Everglades park ranger Terry O'Hara (Tiffany) allows idiots to hunt snakes in the park.
...But only if they're idiots
That doesn't work so well, and we are soon a few idiots lighter in the swamp.  Sadly, one of the idiot victims was the fiance of Ranger Terry.  Vowing revenge on the gigantic snakes, just like anyone else would, Terry laces some chicken corpses with steroids and feeds them to some alligators.  Naturally, this causes all the alligators in the Everglades to grow exponentially because the screenwriters have a poor understanding of what steroids actually do.  Surprisingly, creating a population of over-sized alligators with 'roid rage does not necessarily solve a gigantic snake overpopulation problem.  It does, somehow, give a ridiculously thin excuse to have the two lead characters catfight.
Does the rest of the plot matter?  Hell, does any of the plot matter?  The answer is definitely "no." 

So, how's the acting in Mega Python vs. Gatoroid?  Practically non-existent.  It doesn't help that the characters are completely irrational, but this is a movie about gigantic snakes and gators --- "acting" was never going to be the primary concern.  I was surprised at how campy this movie was.  Mega Piranha was stupid, sure, but the actors played it pretty straight.  Not so much this time.  If you were aching for Tiffany and Debbie Gobson to camp it up, call each other bitches and behave like Jersey Shore characters, then you might appreciate this film.
So wait...are they insulting the lake here?
It gets a lot worse when the script references some of the duo's 80s pop hits.  I don't have anything against either artist/actress, but I can't stand it when actors wink at the camera, and there's quite a bit of that in this pic.  Luckily, not every actor in this movie had a music career in the 80s.  A (no period) Martinez plays a stoic-to-the-point-of-being-comatose herpetologist that comes up with some ideas that are less than completely idiotic.  Kevin M. Horton got to play a hapless deputy ranger who was used as both cannon fodder and comic relief.  The best actor in the film, by far, was Kathryn Joosten, who almost seemed embarassed to be in this "movie."  At the very least, she provided some fairly dry humor and mediocre acting.  On the bright side, Mickey Dolenz dies in this movie.
I'd look the other way if I had to share scenes with Tiffany, too

What about the direction?  Mega Python vs. Gatoroid was directed by Mary Lambert, who has directed multiple movies (not good ones, but still...) that have reached theaters.   That experience doesn't come into play with this movie.  Wretched acting, poor transitions, illogical character choices, horrible continuity editing, reptile-themed soundtrack contributions from the two stars --- in just about every way, this movie gets it wrong. 
Pythons and alligators hate to actually eat their prey, right?
It's not totally incompetent, though.  There is a plot.  It doesn't make a lot of sense, but it exists and it kind of makes sense.  Well, it doesn't make sense if you are capable of independent thought, but it works decently enough, given the script.  That might sound like I'm giving this movie a participation award for minimal movie competence, but this movie definitely could have been a lot worse.

Since this is a horror movie, the special effects should be discussed.  Do you like special effects?  If "yes," then you might want to skip this.  It's not just the obviously animated gators and snakes that look bad here --- Mega Python vs. Gatoroid goes out of its way to make the backgrounds in driving scenes look bad, like something you would see in a Connery Bond.  And while I must stress that I am absolutely not an expert in reptile behavior, I find it suspicious that gigantic pythons and gators would leave easily identifiable chunks of their victims on dry land.  Check this image out:
Okay, I can buy a giant alligator biting off a dude's arm.  But the fact that the arm is the only thing that's left of him actually doesn't imply that at all.  Was the guy walking around and the gator just bit as hard as it could, snapping up everything except the arm?  Did the guy trip and fall into an alligator man-trap (they're crafty devils, as you doubtlessly know) and his arm was severed as he struggled to climb out?  I can't think of a more logical explanation, can you?
Diagram by survival expert Bear Grylls
It is impressive that the hand on the severed arm has maintained a firm grip on the gun, but what is truly shocking is that the sleeve of the guy's short-sleeved shirt is still there, much less on the correct spot on the body.

Let's be realistic, though --- what do you expect from a movie titled Mega Python vs. Gatoroid?  It delivers on the title, so quit yer bitchin', amiright?  Okay, sure, I can follow that argument to a point.  My problem with this flick is that it is too self-aware.  Had they played it straight and not had characters asking the very legitimate question of "Why would you do that?" I probably would have had more fun with the movie.  Here's the big problem with MPvG: you're funnier than the screenwriters.
The possibilities for this caption > What is in the script
Yes, it's dumb and it's campy and it's absolutely ludicrous, but it's also kinda lame.  Again, I know that is to be expected, but not to this degree.  Mega Python vs. Gatoroid crosses the line from so-bad-you-gotta-see-this to bad-enough-to-be-dull.  

Still not sure whether you would like Mega Python vs. Gatoroid?  Give it a try if any three of the following are things you like to see in your movies:
  • Everyone with a Southern accent is clearly mentally handicapped
  • Recycled footage
  • Dynamite-proof bridges
  • Characters figuring out ridiculous plot points using logic by reading the script
  • Poorly explained jumps in time
  • Park rangers that make the park their obvious last priority
  • Curious animal behavior, like snakes hunting in packs
  • Hilaribad car chase scenes
  • ...and much, much more!


  1. I have to say that I like most of what is on that list - especially the first and last bullet points.

  2. I always love movies with much, much more.

  3. Must say I love the old PULL HER UP PULL HER UP...and ten proceed to lower the lady down because helicopters can't go straight up