It's sad, really: all the attention given to Mega Shark over the last couple of years has left another massive, formidable sea creature in the shadow of its ginormous dorsal fin - the Giant Octopus. Quickly becoming the Brian Dunkelman of one of the decade's most thrilling creature franchises, I thought it was time, especially amidst the recently reinvigorated swirl of interest around the Mega Shark, that we take a moment to remember and pay homage to a fallen warrior, a non-human who was just as instrumental in making the Mega Shark franchise a success, the George Frazier to MS's Muhammad Ali, the Garfunkel to it's Paul Simon, the one, the only, the dearly departed Giant Octopus.
On paper, this shouldn't even have been a struggle: the giant octopus (in general) has been a scourge of the seas for hundreds of thousands of years, the root creature for nearly every sea serpent story ever told, and the only creature in the briny depths courageous and capable enough of taking on fierce predators like sharks and mammoth prey like whales. I mean, shit, this one took down an oil derrick like it was crumpling up a Styrofoam cup. With a tentacle reach that can in some cases exceed 100 feet - that's per tentacle, mind you, so we're talking about 800+ feet of lashing, barbed, powerful flesh whipping around at all moments, and that's just on real giant octopi, not a CGI one from some prehistoric era I can't free-spell - and the power to crush nearly anything they get wrapped around, Mega Shark shouldn't have stood a chance against the Giant Octopus, no matter how mega he was. In fact, for the majority of the film - in my opinion at least - it seemed a foregone conclusion that Giant Octopus was gonna take this one home. Don't forget about the beak this thing has, either, razor sharp and curved for extracting a massive chunk out whatever it sinks itself into; once the Giant O had that angry fish in it's grasp, it should've been all over. The key word here being "should've," because the only thing that can thwart biology, is instinct.
See, the giant octopus (again, in general) is a predator that relies more upon its stealth, its secrecy, its natural acumen to capture and slay its prey, while the shark, in general and specific to the Mega Shark, is a rogue, a madman, a violent, thrashing, exploratory-biting, killing machine; it's aggressive, angry, brutal and merciless. Add this to its own degrees of stealth and acumen, and in this case the shark was simply the stronger predator, while the octopus, though giant, was just not giant enough.
In an ordinary, megalodon-less ocean, there's no question Giant Octopus would've been the apex predator with no conceivable rival aside from man, but unfortunate for Giant Octopus, he wasn't freed from that frozen stasis alone. And more unfortunate, perhaps, you can do a lot more spectacular stuff with a shark than you can an octopus. Really, it's a one-trick creature - all tentacle - while the shark has teeth and tail and the ability to launch itself 1500m above the surface of the sea to snag a passenger jet. I mean, the oil derrick thing was pretty cool, I get the statement, but you really can't compete with that plane trick by just hanging out in the water.
So maybe the decks were stacked against you, Giant Octopus, maybe you were the sure thing brought in to raise the odds on the underdog, a breed all its own. Either way, you fought valiantly, a true predator to the very end, and while we might not show you the recognition you deserve, and while your legacy will be forever linked with your destruction, rest easy, my tentacled, beaky friend, because you are not forgotten.
?? B.C. - May 26, 2009