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A prehistoric giant octopus and a Megalodon shark have been frozen in an Alaskan glacier for millions of years when they're suddenly freed by illegal sonar experiments / a panicked pod of whales / a crashing helicopter / global warming / ice melting due to the proximity of a Hot Scientist in a minisub -- it's not clear which. They immediately take up where they left off -- eating everything in, on, and even above the ocean in order to fuel their vast bulk. Two Hot Scientists, a Professor and a Jerkass The Men in Black -- aided by the US and Japanese navies -- team up to combat this undersea menace.
Followed by Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus and Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark.
It seems to have spawned a subgenre of its own, as there are now several other films of the "Mega [Insert Animal Name]" variety, including Mega Python vs. Gatoroid. Of course, YMMV as to whether this is a good, bad, or hilarious thing.
The movie contains examples of:
- Acrophobic Bird: An Air Force pilot tries to avoid this trope, but is ordered to fly lower by the Jerkass The Men in Black. He dies, naturally.
- America Saves the Day: Averted as both the United States and Japan co-operate to destroy the monsters, presumably due to Japan's extensive experience in this area.
- Artistic License Military: Military default is not nuking. Military default is minimum effort for maximum effect. Nuking is last resort. Which is why they're not considered a conventional solution.
- Artistic License Ships: Stock Footage of an Iowa-class battleship is identified as a destroyer. This makes the subsequent scene where the megalodon is attacking it even more ridiculous.
- Made worse when the "destroyer" fires its deck guns, the camera follows the rounds as they somehow manage to travel horizontally under the water.
- Big No: What the Air Force pilot screams instead of trying to avoid the giant tentacle that is about to swat his fighter from the air.
- One that continues to sound even after the jet had been destroyed by said tentacle.
- Dolled-Up Installment: A lesser-known shark movie from around the same time called Malibu Shark Attack was later re-titled Megashark In Malibu for DVD release. That's right - someone out there wanted to ride the coatails of this film.
- Double Standard / Positive Discrimination: At one point the asian scientist makes a Too Soon joke about Hurricane Katrina. Not long after, the MIB agent says he can commit Hari-Kari if he doesn't want to work with them. Guess who the female protagonist says is horrible?
- Eureka Moment: After having sex the Hot Scientists realise pheromones are the key. To capturing the monsters, that is.
- Fatal Family Photo: "I'm getting married in two days", said by the Holy Shit Guy just seconds before his plane is eaten by a giant prehistoric flying shark.
- Foe Yay: Shark/Octopus.
"I knew they couldn't stay away from each other!"
- Genre Blind: Never EVER tell someone you're getting married in two days when you're in a plane above the ocean. This is made even worse by the fact that he had no reason or lead-in to say it AT ALL.
- Helicopter Flyswatter: Uses the standard version when the octopus swats a fighter plane, and takes it far beyond credibility when the shark leaps 30,000 feet up to nom an airliner.
- Hollywood Tactics: The navy fires deck guns at their undersea opponents, instead of using depth charges.
- Hot Scientist: Clearly what they were going for, but both our protagonists are sort of plain-looking at best.
- Idiot Ball: Luring two giant sea monsters towards heavily populated cities so they can be captured. Yeah, right.
- Immune to Bullets: It's a kaiju film. Comes standard.
- The sequel proves Mega Shark's immunity to depth charges, as it swims through a phalanx of explosions and only gets annoyed.
- Jerkass: The pony-tailed, misogynist and equal-opportunity racist The Men in Black Allan Baxter. Surprisingly he avoids becoming an Asshole Victim, though a "Making Of" clip on the DVD implies it was written in at one stage.
- He also suggests the use of nuclear weapons... in front of the Japanese scientist.
- Laser Sight: When the soldiers burst into his house, The Professor gets one dot on the head and another over his heart (despite the fact that both rifles are pointing at his chest). Do they think he's going to attack them with a megalodon tooth?
- Made of Iron: The megalodon's teeth chomp through planes, bridges and warships with impunity.
- The Men in Black: Seen standing with blatant obviousness on the beach, as the female scientist examines a beached whale. At least they avoided an Incredibly Obvious Tail in a black van -- the scientist only thinks the feds are following her.
- No Budget: In so very many ways. The Sinister Government Agency is always guarded by the same guy. All the naval hardware is stock footage. Location shooting at a powerplant serves for a ship, a lab, and a Sinister Government Agency. And (as noted below) they got their money's worth out of the effects shots.
- Nuke'Em: The Army (well, one jerk with a ponytail) wants to do this, but is opposed by the scientists. Think of the damaged ecosystem! The risk to the population! The tsunamis! Much of which could have been avoided by not luring these monsters into shallow water near populated areas.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The movie review site Braineater counted how long the shark and/or octopus are on screen. End count? Including cutaways during their brief battle, five minutes and twenty seconds - cut by a third if you exclude repeated footage. Worse yet, half the footage is repeated from earlier in the film. There are, perhaps, five unique effects shots of the title characters.
- Screen Shake: Seen during the Hot Sub On Squid/Shark Action. Not everyone shakes in unison.
- Sea Monster / Giant Octopus / Megalodon. And a giant croc in the sequel.
- Sequel Hook: On being shown infra-red photographs of an unseen something in the North Sea, the protagonists rush off to their next adventure.
- Space Whale Aesop: Insert the requisite Green Aesop where it's suggested that TV dinner monsters are Nature's way of getting back at us for global warming. Fortunately it's only a single line so we can get on with the movie.
- Stock Footage: Of naval warships, aircraft, and a dockyard which we're supposed to believe is a Japanese maximum security prison. A shot of two guards passing each other gets reused as well.
- The truth of it is, every single shot with SFX in it is repeated at least five times in both this film, and its sequel.
- Sunglasses At Night: Worn by The Men in Black soldiers guarding the scientists, even in poorly-lit laboratories and interrogation rooms.
- Super-Persistent Predator: The monsters have a strange desire to eat metal objects like jet planes, oil rigs, warships, and the Golden Gate Bridge. When the protagonists come up with a Takes One to Kill One plan, the monsters are described as having an obsessive hatred for each other that makes them Duel to the Death, instead of merely trying to drive a rival for its food source out of its territory.
- Technicolor Science: Seen in the Hard Work Montage, which involves large amounts of pouring liquids from test tubes into larger test tubes. All of these liquids are colored. Later they come up with the idea of making pheromones, so it's back to the lab. More colored chemicals are poured.
- And they know when they've succeeded, because the mixture glows.
- Tempting Fate: You never tell a stewardess you're going to be married in two days, because you just know a giant prehistoric shark will leap 30,000 feet into the air to chomp your Boeing 747! I mean, it's just common sense, right?
- Versus Title
- You Fail Biology Forever: Let's leave aside how a 50-ton shark could leap high enough to catch an airliner flying at who knows how many miles-an-hour (or how the shark would even know it was there in the first place). The scientist main characters play up the standard idea in films that only insensitive ecological morons would kill such wonderous creatures, and insist that they will only help if the military promises only to capture the monsters. They ignore the fact that feeding these things would require the destruction of most of the ecological systems of Earth.
- Giant sharks and Megladons apparently produce the same pheromones as each other.
- You Fail Physics Forever: Aside from the above-mentioned megashark sea-to-air missile, there's the minisub that somehow races ahead of a predator traveling at "jet speed". Research subs are about as agile as tortoises, and move at speeds that couldn't outrun a kayak, let alone a jet. Or a perfectly ordinary shark, for that matter.
The Sequel contains examples of:
- Mama Bear: The Crocodile is extremely protective of her eggs and young. The explaination the two monsters are fighting is the shark is attracted to the cherping sound emitted by the eggs and the Croc is fighting to defend them. They even come to her aid when she's in trouble.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Had one of the heroes not had the bright idea of bringing the Crocodile and her eggs back from the jungle, she'd probably never have been a threat.