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Jabootu's Readers' Forum:
Octopus

 

-David Fullam-

Many years back, the makers of the Friday the 13th franchise decided something new was needed to boost the flagging saga of Jason Voorhees. They decided to combine two separate plot outlines, one which had Jason running amok on an ocean going vessel, the other which had him setting foot in Manhattan. The resulting poor film was released as Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, and it seems to have inspired the makers of Octopus, in as much as they combined two different plot outlines for movies in order to make one unwieldy whole.

I wonder if it went like this: Two idea men go before the studio head with pitches for film. One is a giant monster on the rampage opus about a mutant octopus, the other an action-adventure espionage drama about the capture of a terrorist and his transportation to America to stand trial. The studio head likes both ideas, so much so that he decides to combine them into one film, also throwing in a smidgen of that ghastly staple of the macho posturing BS genre, the wiseass one-liner.

A rookie CIA agent actually gets the drop on Europe's number one terrorist after the man blows up the American Embassy in Bulgaria. In order to stop his cohorts from rescuing him, CIA boy will be taking the terrorist to America via a submarine, that just so happens to be captained by a washed up and disgraced Gulf War vet. Also along for the ride is a sexy (well, actually rather goofy looking) lady marine biologist. She just so happens to be horny. A horny marine biologist is not something you see every day, but trust me, her act gets tiresome very quickly. We get an introduction to the tart during a round of strip poker. She wins and desperately attempts to pull the pants off of her opponent, the sub's token black character (aka Octopoid chow).

The hijinx are broken up by our good captain and CIA boy, robbing the horny marine biologist of her chance to see a black man naked. CIA boy gets the pleasure of bunking with Ms. Goofy Looks and hilarity ensues. Well, not really. The crew of the sub now set sail. Did I mention the terrorist's friends are looking to spring him before he reaches American soil? (It's never established where the bad guys come from, but their accents suggest Eastern Europe.) They have concocted a wily plan, they will infiltrate a cruise ship as passengers and crew and take the boat over when they have pinpointed their buddyís location. The terrorist will then escape from the sub via the handy dandy mini sub and be reunited with his crew of killers. Problem is, no one reckoned on the appearance of a gigantic, mutant octopus. You can guess the rest.

Well, almost. The filmmakers toss in a couple of fairly interesting ideas concerning the giant mollusk. It seems he, she or it is the latest in a long line of mutants dating back from the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis. Turns out a Russian submarine, hauling nuclear fuel to Cuba, is sunk by American torpedoes. Over time the fuel leaked infecting a family of octopi (but strangely, nothing else). It's great to see that in the year 2000, filmmakers are still using the tried and tested "atomic radiation" bit, but thatís not all. It also turns out that the Russians were ferrying a biological warfare compound that only added to the mutation. It gave the octopus anemia no less, so the big fellow must eat and eat in order to get his daily allowance of iron. Meanwhile, several members of the crew totally flip out after they become trapped on the bottom of the ocean at submarine crushing depth, which is exactly what they do in real life. It's a surprisingly realistic touch for a movie so silly.

The macho posturing BS one-liners are tossed out the window once the monster gets down to business, but sadly they return in the movie's climax. You know, if the biggest octopus of all time were after me, I would be more concerned with survival than with spewing lines so poor that they wouldn't even be uttered by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also, Octopus takes a nod from Alien, Aliens, Deep Star Six and Leviathan (among others) in the "we have to get out of here before the thing blows up, we made it, thank God it blew up the monster, oh no it didn't blow up the monster" sweepstakes. Yes, the battered sub is about to blow in less then thirty minutes, the heroes have to

escape on the mini sub. They do of course and it appears that old Eight Arms has been blown to hell and back in the backwash (the octopus was attached to the sub when it blew), but don't you know, he didn't die after all and mounts a climactic attack on the terrorist controlled cruise ship. Strangely enough, the mini sub, loaded with a terrorist bomb is what finally destroys the Octopus. It's strange, a mini sub carrying a conventional bomb blows the creature up, yet a nuclear powered sub that goes up in a nuclear explosion fails to put a dent in him. Guess they reached the end of the road and had to end the film some way.

The special effects were surprisingly good, far better than the squid effects seen in The Beast. The performances are okay, it's amazing that the actors could keep a straight face while spouting the tagline dialogue ("It's sushi time"). All in all, Octopus is at the very least so bad that it is enjoyable and does have the odd surprise. You could do worse, but it looks like we will still have to wait for someone to give us a really good killer cephalopod epic.

_______________________________________________________________

-Ken Begg-

My initial criticism of Octopus, which I predict and hope to be the lamest of the three movies weíll looking at in this round of forums, is that our title menace doesnít make an appearance until roughly halfway through the events. Instead, we begin with a weird Ďoriginí segment explaining the beastís existence, followed by a way too long and discursive sequence introducing our main human characters. This decision, I assume, was the result of a limited effects budget. The producers probably decided to save their bucks for the end of the picture, rather than spacing out appearances by the creature throughout the film. This is certainly understandable, although the lameness of the intermediary material is a bad call. In any case, I personally would have centered on the Octopus from the get-go, using the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms model. Start with a set-piece featuring the monster doing something spectacular, like, say, destroying a small ship or fishing trawler, and then going from there.

We open during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which Iím sure is meant to lend the film subtext or something, although regarding what Iím sure I donít know. The Soviet nuclear sub Leningrad (snort) is breaking the American embargo by attempting to land barrels of nuclear material to Cuba. Now, Iím not a technologically adept person, so perhaps nuclear weapons fuel is a liquid that can be transported in barrels, but thatís a new one on me. In any case, the sub has been spotted and is being ordered to surrender. Its captain refuses to surrender, though, and the Leningrad is torpedoed and sank. (This seems to me the kind of thing weíd have heard about.) The nuclear cargo leaks from the sinking ship andÖ

We cut to Sofia, Bulgaria, in the present. Here we meet our wet-behind-the-ears hero, Roy Turner, and his fat, over-the-hill mentor Henry. They are CIA agents stationed to the American Embassy, Turner the naive paper pushing analyst, Henry the experienced field agent waiting for his overdue retirement. (Three guesses what happens to him.) They stop by to talk with a local office worker and her *groan* Precociously Cute Young Daughter. They are designated victims, as will be Henry, so as to give Turner a personal stake in the proceedings. See, thatís the kind of thing they teach you in screenwriting class.

Their assassin is Casper, who is, inevitably, the Most Wanted Terrorist in the World, having bombed, weíre told, seven or nine or something embassies. Even after the guyís blown up all his friends, though, Turner proves unable to shoot him. This will become an extremely annoying recurrent plot devise. Instead, Henry incapacitates him with a dying shot. This whole seemingly extraneous bit -- this is a giant octopus movie, remember? Ė serves to provide the film with one of those tiresome Dr. Smith characters. You know, someone who will actively work against the efforts of the heroes, thus increasing Ďsuspense.í As youíd suspect, our biggest problem with this character is that there are about half a dozen moments in the film in which you just canít believe somebody just wouldnít shoot him and get it over with. Even more annoyingly, Casper is one of those textbook post-Die Hard terrorists who are purportedly witty-albeit-psychotic. Sigh.

For extremely silly plot purposes, the government decides that the only way to transport Casper is via The USS Roosevelt, a nuclear submarine. Inevitably, though, the sub is captained by one Jack Shaw, whoís a maverick yada yada. In real life, I donít think there are actually too many maverick nuclear submarine captains, but there you go. Especially weird is that he was then given another command after "grounding his last submarine." Furthermore, Turner is, of course, the only agent anywhere about. Man, those Intelligence budget cutbacks are really starting to show. Then thereís how Shaw and Turner donít like each other at first, but eventually, well, you know the rest.

We cut to the subís bridge, where Hot Female Scientist (is there any other kind?) Lisa is playing strip poker with Brickman, the shipís Black Executive Officer (is there any other kind?). Bad rap music plays on in the background, via a boom box. Meanwhile, none of the crew are tending to their jobs, which involve driving a nuclear submarine, as theyíre all crowded around the Ďaction.í Again, the XO is playing strip poker, in front of the crew, on the bridge of his ship. While being the chief officer on deck! This might be the single most retarded scene Iíve witnessed in some time. Inevitably (notice how often that word is popping up?), Shaw and Turner enter just as Baker is about to lose his skivvies. Of course, Shaw winks at the whole incident. Ha, ha, life in the Navy today.

Lisaís on board so as to provide the film with a Scientist and a slutty, attractive female character. As an excuse, sheís here to examine various changes in The Devilís Eye, an area in which dozens of ships have disappeared. (Hint: Check out the filmís title again.) "Makes the Bermuda Triangle look like a duck pond," she notes, leading one to hope that sheís better at science than analogies. Anyway, Turner Ďhumorouslyí ends up bunking with Lisa. This is suggested by Lisa, of course, as The Inevitable Sultry Saxophone Music plays and all the men in the room gulp at the idea of sharing a room with this hot number. Har har, my sides. Shaw seems to dislike this idea (gee, I wonder why), but apparently feels that his position as, you know, Captain is inadequate in terms of actually making a decision or anything, so Lisa gets her way.

We cut to Turner -- now wearing a Naval uniform, what the heck? -- in the storeroom where Casper is imprisoned. (??) They engage in one of those Hero and the Eerie Evil Mastermind conversations, albeit, it must be said, not a very good example of one. Back in Bulgaria, meanwhile, Casperís Evil Dyke-ish Female Sidekick (is there any other kind?) is provided with some photographs of Turner and the Roosevelt. Iím not sure how this will help her rescue Casper from a submarine, but there you go. These terrorists seems rather well informed, even having the Rooseveltís travel route, but, you know, we have to get the plot going. Their plan, which is rather silly (surprise), apparently involves seizing control of an ocean liner and tracking the Roosevelt until they get their chance to affect a rescue. Which is a rather moronic plan, but there you go.

Down below, the sub (after an excruciating Ďcharacterí scene with Turner and Lisa) is finally Ďmysteriouslyí attacked. However, if you really think about it, and consider the filmís title, you can probably figure out whatís happening. A diving team is dispatched to scout out the damage, with, predictably, predictable results. For some reason, presumably because all of the running time left, this isnít followed by another immediate attack. Meanwhile, Casper Ďforcesí Turner to free him by grabbing a crewmember as a hostage and threatening to kill him. This, to my memory, makes Turner the single most moronic Ďheroí in cinema history. How would you even think about freeing the guy under these circumstances? Theyíre on a nuclear warship, for Peteís sake! Is this really a place you want a terrorist running around on?

The Octopus attacks again and causes the ship to crash into the seafloor. (Inevitably Ė thereís that word again Ė the ship is left teetering on the edge of a deep underwater crevasse. In fact, I wrote that sentence before the crash was even complete, I was so sure it would end up that way.) These events cause the bridge crew to completely panic, which I didnít buy at all. These guys are trained to participate in nuclear warfare, you know. I mean, cripes, has anyone connected with this film even seen a film about submarines, much less read a book about one or anything? This thing ranks in verisimilitude somewhere below a GI Joe cartoon.

Speaking of, Lisa gets captured by Casper. Being a total freakiní coward, she manages to break into the secure section of the shipís mainframe (!!) and helps Casper launch a positioning buoy. This, needless to say, is the signal for the team of terrorists to grab control of cruise ship. (We donít actually see this occurring, presumably because a lot of people would have gotten killed and the producers wouldnít want us to think about how Lisa was partly responsible for the carnage.) Being the kind of movie this is, the two people who react to the launch are Turner and Captain Shaw. Nope, no security crew needed on this boat. The situation is resolved, for the moment (the whole point of a Dr. Smith character is to keep causing trouble over and over again), when Casper allows Shaw to get close enough to bonk him on the head with his pistol. I guess just shooting him seemed too easy.

The launching of the buoy startles the Octopus and it begins smashing the Roosevelt up with its tentacles. This causes the boat to plunge further into the crevasse. The crew panics further, not being very well trained, I guess. The submarine service ainít what she used to be. In the confusion, Casper escapes so as to formulate further Dr. Smithery. With nearly everyone dead (and Our Villain eventually recaptured), Lisa takes the time to examine a water sample from the nearby Leningrad and discovers that the barrels contained a synthetic version of Anthrax. (??!!) Exactly why a germ warfare agent was being sent to Castro is left to our imaginations. Anyway, the released agent affected the ancestors of the Octopus and eventually our star was the result. There. Now that we Ďunderstandí how the Octopus came to be, I feel much better. Donít you?

The plan is to lure the Octopus to stay with the sub via a protein powder (donít ask). Meanwhile, Our Heroes, and Dr. Smith, skate topside in the shipís submersible, which, of course, all nuclear submarines have been equipped since Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. So they go trailing the stuff down a passageway, Brickman takes the opportunity to spout some lame trash talk because, you know, heís the Black Guy, even if he is the presumably highly educated Executive Officer of a nuclear submarine. Then, in a scene sure to inspire *cough* shock in the heart of any genre movie fan, The Black Guy falls victim to a tentacle. Whoída thunk? Anyway, after surmounting some boring and schematically scripted obstacles, the submersible is launched. Despite sitting right near the exploding nuclear reactor, though, the Octopus is unscathed. (As is the submersible, so thatís fair I guess.)

Making it to the surface, they believe themselves saved when they spot the cruise ship right nearby. Of course, Casperís team has grabbed control of the ship, and Casper engages in some Snidely Whiplash-esque taunting as heís released. A helicopter approaches the ship, coming to pick up Casper. Oddly, it seems to be flying around during the day, although itís twelve minutes from the ship, where itís nighttime out. Also, I donít think the copter looks big enough to hold all the various members of the terrorist team. Since they plan to blow up the ship after their departure, Iím not sure how that would work. Meanwhile, as youíd expect, the Octopus makes an appearance and attacks the ship. It proceeds to attack only terrorists (thatís handy), and oddly seems to have a lot more difficultly damaging the cruise ship then it did the sub. I mean, merely by hanging its presumably gigantic mass off the shipís bow it should be dragging it down or sometime.

Casper makes it up to the waiting Ďcopter because Turner, for the upteenth time, refuses to shoot him. Suddenly, just when we most expect it, the Octopus takes things into its own tentacles. Bye, Casper. Meanwhile, Shaw has failed to dismantle the bomb. He now plans to ram the submersible into the Octopus and let the bomb kill the beast, who, need I remind anyone, earlier survived sitting atop an exploding nuclear reactor. Whatever. Anyway, Turner instead goes, because he needs to reaffirm his Hero Credentials after failing to kill the Bad Guy over and over again. He then, in one of the most retarded Ďhappy endingsí Iíve ever seen, Turner bobs up to the surface alive despite being shown to be in the submersible literally six seconds before an explosion humungous enough to rip the Octopus to shreds occurred. Left to our imaginations is how he exited the vessel while it was underwater and being grasped by the Octopus, as well as a million other details. Whatever.

  • The Soviet sub captain remarks to the effect that, "If we are caught with this cargo, it will start World War III." But an American sub sinking a Soviet sub wouldn't?

  • I think everyone knows that I bow to few in my hated of Communism and its attendant evils, but the bit with the Soviet captain shooting his defiant first mate Ė inevitably named Dmitry -- is a tad over the top.
  • The prologue is in Russian translated with subtitles. Hereís a clue for those doing such work in the future, though. When a crewman of a sea-going vessel addresses his commanding officer, ĎCaptainí should be spelled with a capitol ĎC.í Duh. Also, the first word is a sentence, such as, and Iím quoting, "weíve lost control," should also be capitalized
  • Given the circumstance, Iíd have expected the American sub to give another warning or two before sinking a Soviet warship.
  • Even under these circumstances, I find it funny to hear a Soviet sailor yelling "Oh, my God!" Iím surprised the Ďcíaptain didnít shoot him too.
  • Amusingly, the barrels of toxic material rolling down to the seafloor reminded me of the beginning of The Horrors of Party Beach.
  • Uh, could that young woman really hear Henry whistling at her from across the street and up on that balcony?
  • If this is the level of Ďbanterí we can expect, weíre in serious trouble.
  • The villain is introduced via an extremely dubious Ďold ladyí disguise, the kind of thing you see in Sherlock Holmes movies where everyone in the audience recognizes that itís Holmes in a costume but everyone in the movie remains fooled. His assumed voice, in particular, is atrocious, along the lines of John Cleese and Graham Chapman doing one of those Monty Python drag bits. Inevitably, though, Henry and Turner walk right past him.
  • Sorry, guys, but the strung out Waiting for The Bomb To Go Off scene isnít suspenseful, itís boring. Get on with it!
  • I donít know what kind of bomb was in that bag, but it was the very definition of an Atomic Grenade. Whoosh! And does every explosion have to result in tremendous fireballs? What was in the Embassy that was so flammable? And why does it set off a huge series of chain reaction explosions all over the building. Doesnít anyone understand how a bomb works?
  • If this guyís the Worldís Most Dreaded Terrorist, how come he canít out-run a wheezing sixty-five year old fat man? This sequence, by the way, is pretty much the definition of Unintended Comedy. I especially like how the Embassy building goes up in this gigantic explosion, yet the chase almost instantly heads into crowds that in no way appear to have heard anything. If an explosion that big really happened, youíd hear it for miles, much less like half a block away, as shown here. And how come all the crowd noises in Bulgaria are in English?
  • Atomic Grenade #2!
  • Hero Canít Shoot the Villain Scene #1.
  • Uh, heíd have already been out of pistol range by now.
  • OK, even buying that they sent a nuclear submarine into that inlet, the stock footage doesnít even match. In the far shots with Turner, there is land all around, but in the Ďsurfacing of the subí shot thereís only water in the background. Nice work.
  • Why is Casper locked in a storeroom and held down with handcuffs? (Well, actually, so he can escape, but you knowÖ) Are you telling me this gigantic submarine doesnít have a brig area of any sort?
  • The Strip Poker on the Bridge Scene. It must be seen to be believed.
  • Why is Lisa such a whore? Oops, I mean slut. Oops, I mean sheís comfortable with herself and in charge of her sexuality. Never mind, forget I brought it up.
  • How did that sailor end up with Lisaís panties on his head in the aftermath of the strip poker match, when sheís still wearing her shorts?
  • Why did they give that female terrorist photos of the Roosevelt? So she wouldnít confuse it with some other nuclear submarine?
  • By the way, the plan to transport Casper by submarine was impromptu. That means that the terrorists had a standing contingency plan waiting in case their boss was ever captured and then shipped to the States in a nuclear submarine. Now thatís being prepared.
  • Why would the teams of terrorists have "orders" (from whom?) to blow up the liner after Casper has been saved? Why, because theyíre EEEE-vil, of course.
  • You know, Iím no longer buying the idea that anyone with a laptop can "log into the shipís main computer system," or something to that effect. This is just starting to seem like extremely lazy writing. Why not give them a magic wand while youíre at it?
  • Why is only this octopus affected by radiation? In other words, why isnít anything bigger? Wouldnít other types of sea life be similarly embiggened? (Actually, we know thereís another octopus around, too, since theyíve already started working on Octopus 2.)
  • I think Turner and Lisa are going to fall in love. See, first she almost accidentally stripped in front of him, then she dropped a bra in front of him, then they clunked heads reaching for it. With this much Ďcomedyí between them, they must be soul mates.
  • Uh, oh. Lisa just asked what Turnerís Ďstoryí was. Prepare to be beaten mercilessly with the Exposition Stick.
  • Why doesnít Turner have to stow his sidearm in the Weaponís Locker? What, he just tosses on the desk in his bunkroom? What the hell?
  • Why are all those glass bottles in the storeroom unsecured? What the heck kind of ship is this, anyway?
  • Donít civilians need some sort of permission before running up onto the bridge of a nuclear warship? Oh, never mind.
  • An, the inevitable Aliens rip-off. The diving team is seen to die via a series of confused TV monitor images relayed to the bridge. Frost!! Grabowski!!!
  • By the way, why didnít the Octopus trigger off a sonar signal when it initially attacked the ship. And how did it disable the rudders without getting cut to shreds by the propeller?
  • Ah, the not so inevitable Lethal Weapon II rip-off, when Casper escapes from his handcuffs by dislocating his thumb (?!) and slipping them off. This sorta gets back to my question about a brig. Good thing heís not being guarded, either.
  • I know itís a venerable movie clichť, but guys in the military do not trade humorous trash talk with their superior officers over radio com-links.
  • Just because an audio signal canít be identified doesnít mean itís "nothing." No sonar man would describe it as such, either.
  • If the object isnít moving, as weíre told, why is it suddenly on the opposite side of the sonar scope as from shown before?
  • Why are the passageways in the sub so foggy? I know it looks *cough* cool, butÖ
  • Hey, Shaw wonít radio for help! Heís just like Quint in Jaws! ("Weíre going to need a better movie!") And, hey, Quint was played by Robert Shaw! I get it!
  • The following statement is heard over the PA: "Agent Turner, report to the brig." Uh, dudes, just because you stick a guy into a storeroom, that doesnít make it a Ďbrig.í
  • Ah, the pathos over the dead divers. Itís Brickmanís big moment before he becomes the filmís Designated Black Casualty.
  • Jeez, somebody get that mouthy civilian off the bridge. (Why do I get the horrible feeling that weíre intended to do that "You go, girl!" thing?)
  • Wait, so you can access the shipís records directly off the mainframe? Gee, thatís a good system.
  • How is Casper making himself foam at the mouth? Can he do that at command, like when he dislocated his thumb?
  • Why isnít Turner sounding an alarm after Casper grabs that crewmember? And again, why arenít there any security officers or MPs or anything on this ship?
  • OK, and those remote mines going off right on top of the Octopus didnít harm it, why exactly?
  • After being freed, Casper senselessly kills his hostage anyway. (Which isnít exactly making Turner look like a Brainiac or anything.) Why? Because heís EEE-vil, of course.
  • So the Octopus is finally attacking the sub. Itís about time. I mean, why are we watching this thing anyway.
  • FYI: Professional terrorists plotting to seize a cruise ship will leave bullets wrapped up in their bed sheet. Then, when a maid finds them, she will be shot while the doorway out into the hall is gaping open.
  • Ah, the inevitable Scientist Defending the Monster scene. Just in case Lisa wasnít looking stupid enough. What is Shaw supposed to do, let it kill all his men?
  • Why is Turner yelling at Shaw? Is Shaw the one who made him a completely spineless retard?
  • So the Roosevelt is stranded at crush depth after being attacked by a giant octopus. Upon being informed about Casper, though, he personally joins in the hunt. Cripes, arenít there any security protocols on this ship?
  • Upon learning that a homicidal maniac is running around the ship, Lisa, of course, heads off to a secluded (on a submarine!) computer lab set up, naturally, in another storeroom. The point being, of course, that sheíd be allowed to head off alone. Again, who wrote this silly crap?! Needless to say, she no sooner starts taking her shirt off Ė donít ask Ė then Casper the Unfriendly Terrorist shows up. Boo!
  • Why did two people on the IMDB opine that Carolyn Lowery, the actress playing Lisa, was good? Because, frankly, sheís actually pretty bad. Not as bad as the guy playing Casper, but still, sheís none to hot at this whole acting thing. (Of course, Meryl Streep would look stupid with this material.) Maybe the people who wrote those comments were friends of hers.
  • So Lisa agrees to help Casper get into the shipís computer system if he wonít kill her. My, thereís an awful lot of people to root for in this picture.
  • Wouldnít a guy who was experiencing a nervous breakdown on the bridge be relieved of duty and sent to the medical bay? His sitting there crying doesnít exactly seem designed to help morale or anything.
  • Uh, superior officers on an elite warship tend not to call their subordinates Ďbaby,í and Ďman,í Iím thinking.
  • How the hell would Lisa know the security codes that would allow her to ready a buoy for launch? Oh, wait, thatís right, sheís a scientist. So she probably just figured them out.
  • OK, why exactly are we still supposed to consider Lisa our heroine? Of course, sheís certainly the equal of Turner as the hero. So thereís that in her favor, if little else.
  • Hero Canít Shoot the Villain Scene #2. Good work, Turner, weíre all rooting for you.
  • Why does Turner shoot dirty looks at Shaw after the latter knocks out Casper? Is it because this makes Turner look even more ineffectual? Who picked Turner to be the hero of the piece, anyway?
  • OK, this I donít believe! Get this: Shaw captures the mass murderer who Turner earlier set free. At this point, Shaw tells Casper that heíd now better shut up and do what heís told. Turner reacts to this by telling Shaw to settle down! Again, Turner, tells Shaw, to settle down. Are you getting this?
  • After being warned not to move, Casper pretends to stumble and launches the buoy. At this point, I just couldnít believe that Shaw would fail to shoot him.
  • Ah, Brickman is assigned the inevitable enraged "Is that all you got?!" duties, ala Hudson is, my gosh, Aliens again.
  • Since no oneís paying attention to Casper, why doesnít he just run away.
  • Oh, wait, he did.
  • How is the Octopus getting his tentacle into the passageways of the ship without causing explosive decompression of the ship, which is now well below crush depth? For that matter, if the tentacle is reaching into the passage, it seems to be it should be more than half flooded.
  • You know, if those bulkhead screws were going to burst, theyíd fly across the passage and cut Our Heroes to ribbons. They wouldnít just fall to the floor. Also, those jets of water would probably cut them in half, given the depths theyíre at.
  • Hero Canít Shoot the Villain Scene #3. In this case, by Ďthe villainí I mean the tentacle of the octopus, not Casper. Thatís right, Turner canít even bring himself to shoot into the tentacle thatís threatening to drag Shaw off to a horrible death. You know, I think even an Amish guy might cut loose with a couple of shots under these circumstances.
  • Because sheís got Kick-Ass Grrrl Power, or something, Lisa grabs a gun and fires through the cascading jets of water in the dimly lit passageway of the rocking ship and shoots the tentacle grabbing the thrashing Shawís leg. Wow, good shooting, Miss. Oddly, the shots cause the tentacle to withdraw. I donít know, Iíd have thought a creature that shrugs off torpedoes would not be much affected by .45 caliber pistol cartridges. But what do I know?
  • Unsurprisingly, Lisa (who earlier argued for understanding for the Octopus) is also given a Kick-Ass Grrrl Power Cool Bon Mot. Firing at the tentacle, she yells "Itís sushi time!" For somebody showing such coolness under fire, she sure caved in to Casperís demand quickly enough. Would a little consistency in regards to characterization be too much to ask for?
  • With everyone on the ship dead except for Brickman, Shaw, Turner and Lisa Ė and Casper, of course, who Iím sure is alive even if an entire crew actually trained to work on a submarine is dead Ė and after being told that the boatís reactor is unstable, and with that pesky killer giant Octopus still around somewhere, Our Intrepid Heroine asks for a water sample to be taken after a "remote camera" finds the barrels from the wreck of the Leningrad. Well, everyone needs a hobby, I guess.
  • What killed all the guys in the engine room? And why isnít it affecting Turner and Shaw? If it was a blast, why hasnít the hull been breached?
  • In classic Horror Movie fashion, Turner and Shaw decide to split up, despite knowing that Casper is running around somewhere. What are they going to do if they find him? You canít tell me theyíre planning to take him with them when they leave the boat, are you?
  • Címon, why is Turner bothering to carry that gun? He couldnít even bring himself to shoot at the Octopus, for Peteís sake!
  • You know, Casperís pretty crappy at hand-to-hand fighting. Good thing for him that his opponent is Turner.
  • Hero Canít Shoot the Villain Scene #4. Thatís right, for the third time, Turner gets the drop on Casper and fails to shoot him. Good work, Turner.
  • Then Shaw shows up with cuffs. Thatís right, they do intend to continue risking their lives by trying to save Casper, too. Nice play, Shakespeare.
  • The Octopus turns out to be anemic. (Donít ask Ė and I love how one water sample test allowsThe Scientist to accurately theorize so much about the nature of the beast.) So they plan to distract it though itís immense hunger for meat while they escape in a submersible Ė one that, presumably, will operate at a depth that should purportedly be crushing in the hulls of the Roosevelt as we speak. At first I thought they were actually going to have them use all the corpses lying around as their bait, which would make a grisly kind of sense (and which was actually used in Up From the Depths). But no, I guess that would be too gross. Instead, Lisa has been provided with a magic jar of nutrient powder that will serve the same purpose. Itís called Proto-Life (!) and can undoubtedly be found for sale at your local GNC store.
  • Exactly how do they know the exact minute that the reactorís going to blow? Does it have a digital readout or something?
  • "She smells [the powder]!"? Through the steel bulkheads of the sub? Whatever.
  • The provoked hungry Octopus proceeds to knock the sub down another level. Since the boat was at its official crush depth like fifty or sixty feet ago, why is it still extant?
  • Also, isnít there something else this thing could be eating? I mean, it must mass tens of tons. What does it live on besides the occasional sunken ship, especially given itís constant need to eat? And why hasnít it been systematically ripping into various sections of the boat looking for bodies? Youíd think after sinking dozens of ships in the last couple years (as we were informed earlier in the movie) itíd be better at this.
  • Ah, the inevitable Poseidon Adventure rip-off. Watch our character swim through the flooded corridors of the boat, searching for air. Whereís Shelley Winters when you need her? She could keep the Octopus satisfied for hours.
  • What kind of plan is "If Iím not back in thirty seconds, assume I made it and follow me." Huh?
  • Huh, Casper canít swim? So Turner has to lug him around? Listen, could you just shoot the guy and get things over with.
  • Oh, brother, did Lisa really need to strip down to her panties here? I know, it sorta makes sense, but only because she was wearing such a comically tight skirt to start with. Still, Iím not sure the close-up of her ass was totally necessary.
  • Thereís goes The Black Guy. Iím still shocked, shocked that he didnít make it.
  • How come when the submersible has problems launching itís Lisa who explains things? Wouldnít Shaw know more about the submersible, being a submarine Captain and all?
  • "Itís going to go in twenty seconds!" What, now you can tell when the reactorís going up down to the very second?! And if they launch from the sight of a nuclear explosion five seconds before detonation, would they really make it very far? After all, the submersible is currently below the crush depth rating for the actual submarine. Wouldnít any battering at this point cause it to implode (which it should be doing anyway)?
  • Again, itís Lisa who gets the submersible moving (by smacking the control panel, of course). And why is she piloting it? Why is submarine Captain Shaw so useless, again? Is it because he lacks Kick-Ass Grrrl Power? I guess.
  • Why is the sun brightly shining through the water as they approach the surface, but itís the dark of night out when they come up ten seconds later?
  • You creeps. It takes a lot of balls to have your villain start declaiming Shakespeare in a mess like this.
  • What kind of glass do they use on the bridge of a cruise ship? One terrorist fires numerous shots from a sub-machine gun straight into it before the window shatters from a tentacle hitting it. Also, how come a tentacle earlier retreated from a pistol shot or two, but now forces its way through a veritable hail of bullets? Is it because now itís the Bad Guys shooting at it?
  • While do the Bad Guys keep shooting at this massive thing? Itís not really bothering anyone else, and youíre just drawing its attention.
  • Why are the Ďheroesí down in the hold cracking jokes when presumably the Octopus is horribly slaying dozens of civilians?
  • Wow, the Octopus has a projecting inner-mouth, just like the Alien. Must be a result of the mutation process.
  • Uh, how many bullets does that thing carry?
  • Why does Casper tell his henchman to kill the heroes and then leave? Why doesnít he kill them himself? Heís standing right there and it would take all of five seconds, if that. Oh, wait, itís so Our Heroes can overpower the Henchman and escape. I get it.
  • Sure enough, Lisa distracts the guy by vamping him. (The fellowís also massively violating Kenís Rule of Guns, by the way.) Yikes, could I have some butter with that corn?
  • So, Shaw canít run his own submersible, but he can dismantle a bomb? Whatever.
  • Uh, that bomb does not match the one we saw earlier. For one thing, itís now sporting different color duct tape to hold the dynamite sticks together.
  • Hero Canít Shoot the Villain Scene #5. For the fourth time in the picture, Turner finds himself unable to shoot the escaping Casper, who of course taunts him, being a super-villain.
  • Lisa, why are you yelling at Turner to "Shoot him!" Youíve got a gun pointing at the guy, too! You shoot him, you moron!
  • Of course, Casper dies a particularly gruesome death, being the only one that the Octopus skewers with a tentacle. Thatíll learn Ďim.
  • So Turner canít bring himself to shoot Casper, but he can crack jokes when the Octopus instead horribly slays the guy? Gee, he just gets more attractive all the time.
  • OK, first, why did the helicopter explode, and second, why didnít it kill the Octopus, who was holding it right next to its bodily mass?
  • Wow, Shaw and Turnerís mutual antipathy has now turned to mutual respect. Thereís a curve for you.
  • You know, youíre holding a bomb set to go off in a minute or two. Maybe you should cut this rather long and maudlin conversation short and get going.
  • By the way, could he even get topside from the engine room, presumably down in the bowels of the ship, in under three minutes? Much less get down into the submersible somehow and drive it over to the Octopus? I have my doubts.
  • OK, Turner can pilot the submersible, why exactly?
  • Hey, we saw that CGI shot earlier!
  • OK, that explosion was silly even by Atomic Grenade standards. And how is a gigantic fireball erupting from under the water?!
  • OK, thatís the stupidest ending Iíve seen in a very long time. And that freeze frame ainít helping.
  • _______________________________________________________________

    - W. Kurt and Diana vonRoeschlaub -

    Comments marked with a D are from Diana. She also helped with the final thoughts at the end.

  • Why would a Russian sub be carrying toxic material labeled so in English? [Editorís Note: Actually, freeze frame seems to show that the text is partly Arabic lettering and partly Cyrillic, with the English lettering being the beginning of each line, i.e., "TOX" and "MAT". Which is even dumber, actually.]
  • And is "Toxic Material" a useful label in any sense? Maybe labeling it what it is would be more useful, "material" is rather useless. And, since we know where this is going from the title why does it produce a giant octopus? It's labeled "toxic material" not "makes-cephalopods-grow-large material."
  • D - How did the barrels fall out of the sub? Though an open window? The storage bay is shown as being conspicuously empty of water.
  • D - Second favorite line in the movie: "Frankly I'm better at Euro-Soviet economic relations than I am at smuggling microfilm." (What is THAT supposed to mean?)
  • Do terrorists really spend so much effort drawing attention to themselves? And there is no country in Europe where an abandoned bag doesn't draw more attention than the bomb itself would.
  • D- How many kids do you know who whisper to get their mothers attention? This might have been an alright scene if the girl's voice were getting louder with each close up instead of that whiny whispering.
  • Is it really that hard to get an agent there? Even if every agent in the country was at the embassy at the time, the continent isn't that big.
  • D - Are they (Roy and the Captain) going to kiss? If you can see the actorsí nose hairs the camera is too close.
  • Lisa is the only woman on board a sub, and she is playing strip poker? Is she really that stupid? And by the way, she did cheat . . . nobody gets a royal flush.
  • D - The captain calls Roy "special" agent. Oh yeah, he's "special" all right.
  • Haven't these terrorists heard of a charter boat? They sure are counting on a lot of variables (like that Steven Seagal isn't on board) when it would be cheaper and easier to just rent something. Not to mention the whole plan seems rather contingent on a number of lucky coincidences happening, like them finding the sub, forcing it to surface, and then attacking it with a cruise ship.
  • D - Things I learned: Fish can scream.
  • Why wouldn't bottles on a sub be secured, and why store them in the brig? Future Kurt: to provide the terrorist Casper a shank within easy reach, it would seem.
  • This agent is rather incompetent when it comes to handcuffs. Even a dislocated thumb takes up space and they are supposed to be tight enough to prevent that.
  • How does a camera the diver is wearing on his helmet show the diver? And if it takes this long to kill a minor character, how long is the Hero's Death Battle Exemptionô going to last?
  • Apparently only an oceanographer is smart enough to consider that a clue as to what attacked the divers might be on the video of the divers being attacked, and only a good oceanographer would be smart enough to hit the pause button.
  • Casper is pretty dumb (but not as dumb as Roy), but why show his hand before he really has an opportunity to escape? Since Casper told Roy outright in their last conversation that he would kill the hostage anyway, why is Roy forgetting this?
  • D - Hey, they have an octopus collision countdown timer. What a handy gadget - put in on my Christmas list, honey.
  • The navy really overbuilds subs. It collides full speed with an octopus, hits the bottom of the ocean, skids hundreds of feet and then smashes into some rocks hard enough to dislodge the wires in the ceiling, but not a single hull breach.
  • Why didn't the terrorists on the cruise ship just say "Don't come in," instead of trying to hide the evidence before housekeeping arrived? She even knocked and asked if anyone was there at least four times.
  • D - Favorite line: "What if somebody walked into your home and pissed on your carpet?" Uh, yeah, I can see how that is a good analogy to driving a sub though a part of the ocean containing a giant octopus.
  • D - Why didn't he say the terrorist escaped right away? Because the other two hadn't finished saying their lines yet.
  • This "confrontation" dialog is the worst written garbage I've heard. (Definitely belongs in "immortal dialog.")
  • [Ken: Ask, and ye shall receive:]

    IMMORTAL DIALOG:

    Roy appears in the passageway, holding his head. Shaw, who has been arguing with Lisa over the propriety of attacking the giant octopus threatening his sub, reacts:

    Shaw, to Roy: "What? Did the noise wake you?"
    Lisa, filling Roy in
    : "Look, we were attacked by an underwater creature of some kind, Iím still trying to figure out exactly what."
    Shaw
    : "I donít have time for this! When youíre finished with your briefing, ĎSpecialí Agent Turner, Iíll be down on the bridge."
    Roy
    : "I donít need this right now! I think itís about time we stopped playing games with the rookie agent, OK?! Casperís gone! And you [pointing to Shaw] got a dead sailor on your hands!"
    Shaw
    : "What do you mean?!"
    Roy
    : "Heís escaped! [Actually, Roy freed him.] Heís gone!"
    Shaw: "NO!!! That was your responsibility, it was your prisoner! You better be lying!"
    Roy
    : "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Iím a little bit out of my element here! Iím not a field agent! Iím certainly not an escort! I didnít even ask for this assignment! So I apologize if things arenít going quite as planned! And Iím assuming the same could be said about yourself right now! And would you please stop calling me ĎSpecialí Agent?!"

  • There is a terrorist loose on the sub, a good time for you to sit in a lab alone and take off your shirt.
  • D - Do you realize that's the fourth time she's taken off her shirt?
  • That chamber has been 2/3rds full of water for quite a while now. And why isn't the room filling instantly once the tentacle breached it? Don't tell me it's airtight.
  • Why would an internal door on a sub only lock on one side? No, really, I can think of absolutely no reason for such a mechanism, and dozens of reasons why it is stupid.
  • Now they're dropping boulders on the sub. Definitely overbuilt.
  • I love this bit: Lisa grabs the gun from the captain, aims it, and *then* shouts "Gimme the gun."
  • Let's see, we have an uber-terrorist loose on a sub commanded by a suicidal captain, it is being attacked by a giant octopus, and there is a cruise ship being held hostage by a terrorists organization who are looking for the sub and will blow up their own ship (for no real good reason) as soon as they do.
  • Add "unstable reactor" to the plot points.
  • D - If the Russian sub had been sunk by an American sub and they had no proof it ever existed, how did they know it was called "The Leningrad"?
  • Why do they need a water sample? I mean other than just to explain the octopus' existence.
  • Hey, a spring-loaded corpse.
  • One terrorist takes out a dozen trained navel officers without even being injured? I think there is a reason this all happened off-screen.
  • D - Every time someone is killed the captain has no reaction. He was more upset about the game of strip poker than the dozens of dead bodies lying around.
  • D - Hmm, the captain wants to be alone with the corpses. This movie is sick.
  • Just shoot him, you twit. Okay, maybe the agent is too stupid to realize that a guy who blew up nine embassies, including his, shot his partner, cut the throat of a hostage just for fun, then killed a dozen officers deserves to get shot down, but why would the captain agree to take him prisoner when he escaped the last two times they did that.
  • They just now figure out it's an octopus? How stupid are they?
  • D - Why the hell did they just do a stalker-cam shot?
  • The first officer considers drawing straws before he considers using Casper as the live bait. These people are so stupid I bet if it had come to that they wouldn't have even thought to make Casper draw a straw.
  • Why did the oceanographer bring a bottle of Purina whale chow with her on a sub?
  • Now Lisa takes off her pants, did she work her way through college as a stripper?
  • Oops, the first officer shouldn't have ogled her butt, now he's doomed.
  • The disengagement problem was brought up why? Since it solved itself a second later, wouldn't it have been easier to just leave it out and have the explosion a little sooner? I guess they felt the plot didn't have enough conflict.
  • A giant octopus is attacking the cruise ship, and all the passengers decide to stay out on deck? I'd be way below deck, thank you very much.
  • I love this; the sub captain is going to try to "figure out the bomb." It has three buttons, and one is labeled "stop". Of course, with the intelligence this guy has shown he may not solve that conundrum so easily.
  • D - Why don't they throw the bomb overboard?
  • This makes the fourth time "special" agent Roy won't shoot Casper, after he plants a bomb to blow up the whole ship. Even Lisa thinks he's an idiot, but she's got a gun (and proved she was a good shot) so why doesn't she nail him? At least shoot him in the legs so he can't climb the ladder.
  • Why didn't the terrorists just use the helicopter from the beginning and save a lot of trouble?
  • Why did the octopus grab the helicopter? No, really?
  • Hey, it's a "stupid" contest. Looks like a draw until agent Roy proves himself an even bigger ass. Then they have a "moment of respect" that goes on an awful long time when you consider they are sitting next to a bomb.
  • D - Hey, they actually had continuity about the bomb timer.
  • Yeah, but only because Roy teleports hither and yon while carrying it (all off screen).
  • The end

    D - Thank God.

    Final thoughts?

    Well, there is the over-complicated and moronic plot. I've yet to see a more convoluted story wrapped around more pointless twists anywhere. It really boggles the mind how many "disasters" they tried to squeeze into a single story.

    Then we have the shots. The director obviously has seen a number of really good films, and decided to copy their cinemagraphic style, mostly in the way shots are framed, or even to certain camera pans. The problem is that he doesn't seem to understand why those shots were appropriate or what kind of feeling they were supposed to create in the audience.

    Two such shots that spring to mind are the close-up of the captain and the "special" agent, which reminded me of the pod conversation in 2001. In that movie it was supposed to create a nervous tension with the claustrophobic filming (which is ruined in pan-and-scan, by the way). Here the tension is wholly inappropriate and you instead get the feeling the actors are very friendly.

    The other is the stalker-cam. It works great in a horror movie when people are being stalked, as it makes you feel danger is approaching. It makes no sense where used here because there is nothing approaching, the scene after it is relatively static, and nothing happens. Instead it just makes you go "huh?"

    Add to that the dialog -- the writer obviously wrote like he thought he was Shakespeare, and if the story was good enough or the actors were good enough (or had better direction), it might have worked. Instead you have overblown lines in a crappy movie, and actors who actually pause to make sure the last person was done before reciting their lines with all the emotion of a fourth grade school play. Actually, that's being a little unfair: my wife directs fourth grade school plays and most of the kids do a better job (albeit with better source material).

    W. Kurt vonRoeschlaub
    Applied Visions, Inc.

     

    _______________________________________________________________

    -Nowhere Man, aka Fred Robinson-

    Observations of clichťs (Of CourseÖ), stupidities, and stuff I didnít know (IDKT = I Didnít Know ThatÖ), jotted down as the movie progressed, with some notes expanded later.

    By Nowhere Man (Fred Robinson), minion of Jabootu, fredwr@home.msen.com, 10/14/2000

    (Disclaimer: I know nothing about naval procedures, so I assume that the US Navy has survived for so long because they have a certain amount of common sense, and that they use it. Keep that in mind when you read my naval comments.)

  • Ah, the wonderful, lively days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Donít those subtitles remind you of The Hunt for Red October?
  • IDKT the Russians shipped "toxic material" to Castro. In 55-gallon drums. That were not very well secured.
  • Of Course, the toxic stuff is your standard glowing, smoking, green goo.
  • Ah, a cute little girl. Of Course, sheís bound to be in danger fairly soon.
  • That old lady is no old lady. Especially the way the camera is following her around.
  • So, why are these foreign nationals talking among themselves in badly accented English instead of using subtitles? Maybe subtitles are only for guys in subs! Hah! Get it? Subtitles, subsÖ oh, never mind.
  • Hmm. Could there be a bomb in that left-behind bag?
  • Yep. Itís a big one, too. Of Course, the little girl is holding it when it goes off. Oh, the pathos.
  • OK, so weíre in Bulgaria. Why is everyone shouting "Heís got a gun" in English?
  • Of Course, the career agent with the old war stories buys it. He was probably ready for retirement too, if he really was active back in í54Ö or was it Ď53? But he got a heroic death, shooting down the bad guy with his last breath. Aww.
  • Fruit cart! Fruit cart! (Translation: Of Course, the swerving, out-of control car smashes into a fruit cart.)
  • Of Course, the captain of the sub has a lousy record, but is the only one in the area to do the job. No doubt he will turn out to be the best man for the job.
  • The bay/lake (i.e., surrounded by land) near which the agent and the bad guy are waiting for the sub suddenly turns into open ocean in the binoculars.
  • When the sub surfaces, it is one of those jump-out-of-the-water type of surfacings. Isnít that more or less an emergency maneuver?
  • Of Course, the only woman on board the sub is a hot scientist babe.
  • Why does the captain tolerate strip-poker games on the command deck?
  • And why are they playing strip poker in such a public place when they know they are taking on passengers?
  • And how did the game survive that surfacing?
  • There is a small sub attached to the large sub. Of Course, it will be their only way to escape.
  • Of Course, the bad guy is locked up in a storeroom full of glass bottles. I fully expect that he will take the opportunity to make one into a weapon.
  • Later on, this room is referred to as the brig. Donít you store your breakable containers in the brig?
  • OK. I have come to the conclusion that the Designated Hero (the agent) is a wimp.
  • Hey, that satellite sure took a real good ocean-level side-view shot of the sub!
  • Of Course, just to add to the fun, a cruise ship will be in danger as well.
  • The camera must be tilted funny, because subs sure donít travel at such angles unless theyíre in trouble.
  • Of Course, the bad guy breaks free and escapes. Wouldnít have much of a plot without this.
  • The title critter must be related to the title critter of The Beast, judging from all the screaming and moaning it does as it attacks.
  • IDKT digital recordings made tape-rewind noises when rewound.
  • IDKT they looked like ordinary video tape when rewound either, with the lines of static across the screen.
  • The subís bombs have no effect on the critter. This thing is pretty durable.
  • This sub has pretty snazzy computer display graphics for Navy equipment.
  • That 20-second countdown took 30 secondsÖ
  • Wanna bet that the hot scientist babe falls into the bad guyís hands?
  • Serious question: For what kind of Navy sub is 800 meters (2626 or so feet) crush depth?
  • After it grounds, the sub is shown at an angle of about 20 degrees or so. Yet inside, everything is perfectly level.
  • How long can the bad guy hide in a sub? And why isnít a search being made for him?
  • Oh, that was fast. The hot scientist babe falls into the bad guyís hands already. But not for long Ė here comes the Cavalry, er, Navy!
  • The claustrophobic crewman, the guys whoís breaking down, should have been relieved of his post pronto.
  • A Prediction: Only the DH, the hot scientist babe, and the captain will escape in the mini-sub. (Outcome: They did, but they took the bad guy with them. Dopes.)
  • A Prediction: The one surviving crewman, the black guy, will die while doing something stupidly heroic. (Outcome: Nope. He just got between the critter and the hot scientist babe.)
  • The critterís arm reaches into the compartment with the trapped crewmen but the place does not flood immediately and completely.
  • How did the bad guy manage to kill the remaining crewmen, so quickly and completely, and without getting scratched?
  • Hmm. The subís beacon is in the middle of the North Atlantic. This is pretty much OK, given that they are sailing from Bulgaria. But, do cruise ships go out that far? (I honestly donít know.) This is also the location where the Russian sub was sunk in the opening scenes. And how does the sub ground at 800 meters at this location, when itís over the abyss?
  • Of Course, the reactor is going unstable, so the sub will explode.
  • Spring-Loaded Corpse! (A variation on the Spring-Loaded Cat.)
  • IDKT anthrax causes octopuses to grow to huge size.
  • IDKT octopuses needed iron. I thought their blood was copper-based. The World Book doesnít say.
  • Of Course, the hot scientist babe takes off her skirt. Doesnít that remind you of Alien? (And later on, on the cruise ship, sheís managed to find another skirt with which to distract a henchman.)
  • The arm that grabs the black crewman (prediction #2) is shown with the sucker side outwards.
  • There is apparently a storm going on, as the long shots of the critter on the cruise ship show lightning. But the full moon is also clearly visible, too.
  • IDKT octopuses had prehensile, grasping tongues.
  • Octopus beaks do not look like that.
  • The Designated Hero fails to shoot the bad guy for the third (or fourth) time. Even the hot scientist babe is yelling at him to shoot. So am I.
  • The bad guy gets his comeuppance via the critterís arm going in through his belly and coming out of his mouth. Octopus arms are not that sharp and human flesh is pretty tough. At worst, he should have been knocked against the far wall of the chopper.
  • The critter survived bombs, an exploding nuclear sub, and an exploding helicopter, but is blown into sushi by 22 sticks of dynamite.
  • IDKT you could exit a submerged, moving mini-sub and get far enough away from the bomb itís carrying to survive the shock of the explosion in 10 seconds. But the Designated Hero could do it. I guess he cashed in his Heroís Death Battle Exemption.
  • If you have one giant octopus, wonít there be others? You need a breeding population to get at least one of anything, and octopuses lay zillions of eggs. And theyíve been getting bigger in this area for 40 years, about 20 octopus generations. Too bad octopuses arenít found in this part of the oceanÖ
  • _______________________________________________________________

    -Zandor Vorkov-

    Unfortunately, I missed the first hour of this fine (cough) film. Therefore, I will try to go easy on anything the film does that seems incoherent, for the first hour may hold the reasoning behind such events. Furthermore, it would be pointless for me to write a standard review of half a movie. That said, let us move on to a list of my thoughts during the last hour of Octopus.

  • The first thing I saw was a tentacle, from the titular octopus presumably, smashing through the window of a bulkhead door to grab a man on the other side. I know that an octopusís tentacles are very sensitive, but how in the world can they sense a man through several inches of glass and steel?
  • The man is a naval officer and another officer and a woman are in the compartment with him. Guy #2's name is Roy, I later discovered, and the woman is Lisa. I never got the pseudopodally besieged guyís name, but he is the captain of the vessel, so Iíll call him Captain.
  • Captain is splashing around in the water and Roy pulls out a gun, to shoot the tentacle, I guess. Or maybe to shoot Captain and spare him the agony of being eaten. Lisa almost immediately grabs the gun, takes careful aim at the tentacle, and then says, "Gimme that gun!" Isnít it a bit late for that, Lisa? You took it from him like, five or six seconds ago. I suppose they couldnít afford to reshoot this scene so she could say her line right as she grabs the gun.
  • Later, Lisa, Captain, and Roy get to the bridge of what I now know is a submarine. Thereís a black guy there. His name is unimportant, for heís just The Black Guy. Heís there to talk trash, provide comic relief, make some accidental discovery that allows the white people to realize whatís going on, and then die. Hope I didnít spoil anything for you.
  • Black Guyís discovery is that there are a plentitude of other wrecks in the general vicinity of their downed submarine. Among them, Roy notes, is the Leningrad, a Russian sub that sank in 1962. Next to its shattered hull rest two shiny, freshly painted drums with a biohazard symbol on them. I guess fifty-five gallon drums keep well on the bottom of the ocean.
  • It seems that the reactor of the heroesí sub is about to explode. Of course it wouldnít, it would melt down. Captain and Roy go to fix it and find a bunch of dead men in the engine room. Captain stays to fix the reactor while Roy goes off somewhere else. In a storage room full of nets, he is assaulted by Casper, a crazy guy. I think Casper is a terrorist that Roy is supposed to take back to the states for trial.
  • After Casper knocks Royís gun out of his hand and they have the standard fight, Roy comes out on top and reclaims his weapon. Aiming it at Casper, he asks why he shouldnít just kill him right now. Yeah, really, why not? When your submarine is on the bottom of the ocean, under attack by a giant octopus, shooting the insane man terrorizing you is a pretty good idea. The Captain intervenes and says the reactor will explode soon, so Roy handcuffs Casper. I guess military personnel canít stomach the thought of killing anyone.
  • Lisa discovers that the biological waste in the drums is an anthrax derivative and that the octopus they face is a fourth-generation mutation created by the poison. So let me get this straight: Anything hazardous to humans will make any other life form grow to enormous size. Radiation, lightning, pesticides, extreme heat, extreme cold, the vacuum of space, poisonous plants, and now biological weapons are all agents for increasing the size of common animals Iíve seen in movies. Couldnít it just be an extremely big octopus for once?
  • Oh, yeah, the octopus is also iron deficient. Thatís why it eats people, for the protein. If that doesnít make any sense to you, you understand Lisaís reasoning as well as I do.
  • Lisa gets out some protein concentrate/fish food thatís also high in iron (I swear) so they can spread it around and distract the octopus while they make their escape. During the spreading, Lisa says helpfully, "Spread it around guys, pour it everywhere!" Thanks, Lisa, Iím sure that helps.
  • Casper complains that he canít swim through a flooded compartment because of his handcuffs. So Roy takes the cuff off of one of Casperís wrists and puts it onto his own! Look, just leave him behind. If anyone asks, say he was a victim of the octopus, or drowned trying to escape, or that you had to kill him in self-defense. Who will care? Keeping him alive, especially when it endangers everyone else like this, is pointless.
  • Lisa takes off her pants so she can swim better. (?) This gives Black Guy the opportunity to grin and comment on how good she looks in her underwear. Ahh, gratuitous nudity with some stereotype lusty black guy humor tossed in. Barf.
  • When Lisa hits the water she starts making "Ah! Ew! Uh!" sounds and flails about like sheís never been in the water before. Previous comments made it sound like she was a marine biologist who often works in the field. And she canít swim?
  • A tentacle leaps out of the water and grabs Lisa, whoís still drowning despite Black Guy trying to help her. Then the tentacle drags Black Guy away. (?) Captain, who was only a few feet away when Lisa was snagged, asks what happened to Black Guy. I guess heís just not that observant. Lisa replies, "He didnít make it." Uh, Lisa, thatís not quite accurate. "He didnít make it" would indicate that he failed to escape despite his best efforts. Thatís not what happened. He died because you were in his way when the octopus came calling and he couldnít avoid it because he was busy trying to keep you from drowning because you wouldnít stop kicking and screaming while he was pulling you to safety. In other words, Lisa, he died because of you.
  • The four get to some sort of submersible. Lisa jumps to the helm, indicating that it isnít an escape pod or a naval vessel at all. Its origin must lie in the first half of the movie. At any rate, it is a very spacious underwater vehicle, with room enough for four adults to stand erect and not that closely to each other. Here I always thought that space was at a premium in underwater vehicles.
  • Lisa canít get the submersible to start, so she yells at everyone else and curses the machine. Gee, Lisa, maybe if you tried pressing some buttons or something, it might start up. I mean, all you did was jump in the seat and say, "It isnít working!" Oh, yeah, now smack the console, thatíll help. Oh, wait, it did. So why is Lisa still yelling at everybody?
  • On the way up, Roy sees stock footage of the underside of a boat and says, "Can somebody tell me what that is?" I guess naval officers [Editorís Note: Roy, of course, is actually a CIA agent, but stillÖ] actually have no idea what the underside of a boat might look like. And, say, arenít they going up awfully fast? Wouldnít several hours of decompression be called for?
  • On board the ship at the surface, Casper is rescued by several Russians who were posing as members of the crew. I guess that is also explained in the first hour. Casper also suddenly develops a Russian accent, then loses it, then comes back with a Spanish accent, then no accent, then a Russian one again. None of the henchmen has a consistent accent, either.
  • The "Russians" take Captain, Lisa, and Roy below. Casper whips out a bomb made from several sticks of dynamite and tells them he will blow up the ship. Wouldnít C4 or some other kind of explosive be better than dynamite? Iím sure dynamite would get the job done, but any number of explosives are more powerful and less expensive than dynamite.
  • The octopus picks this moment to attack. It lurches out of the water and wraps its tentacles around the stern of the ship. One of them reaches the bridge. A female Russian shoots at it with her sub-machine gun. Yeah, thatíll do a lot of good. The tentacle, now alerted to her presence, reaches in, encircles her, and breaks her neck, then drops her onto a radar console. I guess the octopus was only interested in murder, not food.
  • Below, Lisa remarks that the octopus must be back, showing some mild aggravation. I guess the fact that innocent people are dying horribly is annoying her a bit, because at the sound of their blood-curdling screams she gets a look on her face like the neighbors just turned up the stereo too loud. Those darned dying people! Canít they die a little more quietly?
  • Outside, the octopus unleashes its Alien-like inner mouth, which comes equipped with sparkling teeth. Doesnít make much sense, but it looks cool, huh? Another female Russian shoots at it with her puny gun. Not content to merely break her neck, the octopus sends a tentacle out of its mouth (it sure isnít a tongue, anyway), grabs her, and drags the screaming woman to her grisly death between its teeth. Come on, movie, donít sugar coat it, let us know how you really feel about women. Of the three Iíve seen, Lisa is a heartless witch (with a "b"), the other is now sporting a broken neck, and this one has just been eaten alive by a giant octopus. Sheesh.
  • Captain, Lisa, and Roy escape the single Russian guarding them utilizing the old "Flash your gams at him, then kick him in the nuts" technique. Somehow, this results in Captainís leg getting broken. [Editorís Note: He gets shot in the leg, but I myself had to watch this in slo-mo a few times before I got what was happening.] While Roy goes to stop Casper from escaping, Captain runs (?) to stop the bomb.
  • A helicopter arrives and drops a ladder for Casper. Roy threatens to shoot him. Casper laughs. I guess Roy is one of those guys who just canít use a gun, like that cop from Die Hard. Another Russian sneaks up behind Roy and prepares to shoot him. Lisa screams for Roy to look out. The Russian aims at Lisa. Unfortunately, before he can shoot her, Roy conks him out with the butt of his gun. Casper is now halfway up the ladder. Lisa grabs Russian Guyís gun and aims at Casper while yelling at Roy to shoot him. Roy just canít do it. Lisa, with increasing degrees of frustration at being disobeyed, screams for Roy to shoot him. Look, Lisa, if you want it done, why donít you shoot him?
  • It doesnít matter, because the octopus, eschewing the easy pickings on deck, reaches for the helicopter, impales Casper in the stomach, up through his torso, and out his mouth. Then the helicopter crashes into the ocean and explodes.
  • Down below, Captain shows Roy and Lisa the bomb. It has only a few minutes left and Captain wants to feed it to the octopus to blow it up. Roy wants to do it instead, I guess because he just has to reclaim his manhood by killing something, and with Casper gone, the octopus is the only candidate left. Captainís leg is broken, remember, which would automatically make Roy the one who has to do it, but nobody brings this up. While they argue, Lisa makes annoying little sounds, furious that they arenít seeking her godlike wisdom in settling the matter. Finally, Captain hands Roy the bomb, noting that there is only three and a half minutes left. Hearing the urgency in Captainís voice, Roy hangs around a bit so he can have a character moment with Captain and Lisa. Then he hangs around a bit more just for good measure. Then he kind of decides that he sort of ought to get going. At last, he leaves. I guess that time limit and the continued screams of agony from the deck just arenít very good motivation.
  • Roy is piloting the submersible, which now has considerably less interior space than it did before. On deck, Lisa and Captain emerge from below. Lisa shoves an old woman out of her way so she can peer over the railing. "Do you see him? I donít see him!" she shouts. That might be because heís underwater, idiot.
  • When the bomb goes off and kills the octopus (hope I didnít ruin the surprise for anybody) it makes a fireball. Underwater. Said fireball rises to the surface and expands like a mushroom cloud. From under the water. That must have been some of that new dynamite. You know, that kind that sets water on fire.
  • Roy lived. Itís impossible. Thereís no way he could have lived. He supposedly jumped out of the submersible. He was too far under, he would have drowned. Then there was that huge blast he would have been caught in. Impossible.
  • Lisa says, "We did it!" No, Lisa, Roy did it. You didnít do anything.

In the final analysis, of what I saw anyway, Octopus is a movie with an interesting monster but without the budget to show enough of it. It takes some common clichťs to new levels of cheesiness. It bludgeons the audience with a whiny, selfish, controlling and idiotic "heroine" who gets people killed without feeling remorse or responsibility and blames others for things beyond anyoneís control. The movie is misogynistic and kills women horribly in loving close-up and detail. In short, it isnít any good and I wish Iíd missed the whole two hours.

And itís still better than The Beast.