Debbie Gibson - Dr. Nikki Riley
Tiffany - Terry O'Hara
A. Martinez - Dr. Diego Ortiz
Kathryn Joosten - Angie
Carey Van Dyke - Justin
Micky Dolenz - Himself
Genre - B-Movie/Science Fiction/Bad Animals
Running Time - 90 Minutes
Back in the late 80s, my friends and I would create our own "Vs." fantasy fights before Hollywood took over and used them to make money off of two franchises at once. We had "Iron" Mike Tyson vs. Muhammad Ali. We had The Avengers vs. The Justice League of America. We had Freddy vs. Jason before FREDDY VS. JASON. And we had, what was likely the most debated battle of the time, Debbie Gibson vs. Tiffany.
Oh, the pop music of my youth. So cheesy. So commercial. So awesome. I actually remember that time where artists actually sang, instead of relying on auto-tune. Hell, pop singers used to write their own songs and even produce them! Hell, MTV used to play music videos back then! God, I'm so fuckin' old...
As I was saying, Debbie Gibson and Tiffany were the top two teen pop stars of the 80s. They both had big hits. They both dressed similarly, even though Tiffany was edgier than Gibson. And both had their own legion of fans, debating which one was better and which one would have the better and longer career. Boy, did we all lose in that pool. But hey, they must have done something right if they've both recently been offered acting jobs in shitty sci-fi B-movies. Gibson starred in the mediocre MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS, being the best thing about that film besides Mega Shark chewing on planes and bridges. Tiffany starred in the slightly better MEGA PIRANHA, where her bad acting made her a standout. Figuring they're both willing to do these dumb films, The Asylum [the best bad studio at the moment] decided why not give people what they've wanted for 24 years. So pitting Debbie Gibson and Tiffany against each other in the film, MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID was the next logical step, I guess.
The film premiered back in January on the SyFy Network, garnering pretty big ratings due to the hype [and all the 80s fans feeling the nostalgia of the film's two stars]. The movie did so well for Gibson and Tiffany that they've now become the best of friends and are touring together this summer [would you judge me if I wanted to go?]. The question is: Is this success earned because people love nostalgia acts to make a comeback, or because the film was actually good and people want to see more of its stars? What do you think?
A group of animal activists, led by Dr. Nikki Riley (Deborah Gibson) release a bunch of snakes [which they stole out of a lab] back into the Everglades. Unfortunately, Nikki has failed to realize that these snakes were tested on and have been growing to enormous sizes - so large that they're killing the local alligator population. Pissed off about this, a park ranger named Terry O'Hara (Tiffany) allows local hunters to find these pythons and kill them before the gators become extinct. This fails, as the snakes have multiplied not only in size, but quantity as well, killing most of the hunters [one being Terry's fiance].
Terry, grieving her fiance's horrible death and concerned about her beloved alligators, decides to steal some experimental steroids that increases aggression. Inserting the steroids into dead chickens, Terry feeds them to the gators that are left, causing them to grow into massive sizes. Now, these Mega Pythons are at war with these Gatoroids, while Nikki and Terry have their own war as well. But when the two animals decide to join forces and take over the entire state, the two women and Dr. Diego Ortiz (A. Martinez) must shake their love and fix what could've been an easy solution.
If you're thinking MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID, from The Asylum, is going to be a good film, then you're obviously more naive than Anthony Weiner thinking he could get away with sending photos of his junk to random women, who aren't his wife, on Twitter. MPvG carries on the tradition of these terrible "Mega" films that SyFy loves to showcase most Saturdays during the year, giving its audience a cheesy CGI crapfest featuring actors who only old people like me would remember and care for. Luckily for SyFy and The Asylum, I tend to like these stupid films because at least they know what they are. They're not trying to win awards. They're not trying to show up every other science fiction B-movie out there. They just want to entertain and bring some fun to its viewership. It's not a perfect B-movie, but I didn't find myself totally bored watching it.
MPvG has a very ridiculous screenplay. While the plot is stupid as hell, I can buy it because that's the story the filmmakers want to tell. And it does succeed in that somewhat. We do get what's advertised in the title much longer than what was promised in MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS, even though the two opponents do join forces in the film's final act without much of an explanation [big issue here]. People want to see Deborah Gibson and Tiffany go at it, and they do in a very memorable catfight scene that wouldn't be out of place of a Dynasty or Melrose Place episode. And you have terrible dialogue that will either make you change the channel or laugh at how stupid it all is. But it's not like one wouldn't expect a script like this from The Asylum. This is what they do. This is how they make money and gain attention.
It doesn't work every time, but it does work here for the most part, because the entire film is self-aware as to how silly this all is and uses it to move the story forward. Does it go a bit much with that? Absolutely. There are too many winks and nudges here that do get pretty grating and annoying by the film's end [even though I love Debbie Gibson and Tiffany saying, "I think we're alone now. There doesn't seem to be anyone around." while Gibson utters "bitch" every now and then since she was the Good Girl years ago]. At times, it does try to hard to be this modern cult B-movie "so-bad-it's-good" classic, which hurts the film a bit. Films like TROLL 2 didn't have to do that because the director actually thought he was making a good film, causing it to be unintentionally bad, yet charming, at the same time. MPvG knows what it wants to be, which sort of ruins the entertainment and fun value somewhat.
Should I even go into character development here? Am I just wasting my time in telling you that these characters are all caricatures and are only in the film to be victims of their CGI counterparts? It would have been nice to get some sort of characterization here. After all, I kept wondering why Nikki was so obsessed with saving snakes while Terry really loved those alligators. My mind was running wild [into the gutter mostly], so it would have been nice to understand their motivations somewhat. But this film is never about understanding what drives these people to do what they do. It's about seeing them act so illogical and watch them try to survive an attack by giant animals. Plus, why are the title characters killing each other one moment, and then deciding to kill the humans instead the next? I can guess it's because the humans are trying to kill them both, but it just happens really making me wonder if a chunk of story was missing. That's no excuse for a shoddy script but I wasn't expecting depth here.
I will say that the dialogue is pretty funny [and awful] for much of the film. There are constant one-liners throughout the film, too many to quote really. But I was laughing every now and then, just enjoying how silly this film was. This is the type of narrative and screenplay for a film you need to be in a certain mood for. If you're looking for a deep story, MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID doesn't have it. Nowhere close.
The CGI here is pretty bad. The animals look like Pixar cartoons on crack. It would have been nice if the team took the time to give each snake and/or each gator different looks to distinguish each one in terms of creating personalities, but that sort of thing wasn't important I guess. Hell, even the scene that happens at the end in the city is full of bad special effects. I believe at certain points, the city itself was CGI as the animals attacked it. There was even a CGI helicopter at one point to save the main characters. There's really no shame in how low the budget is because the CGI reflects that quite strongly. I think the best special effect in the film involved Tiffany's bra for strapping those huge bad boys in every outfit she wore in the film. She was about to burst through those tight tops - and I wouldn't have complained one bit.
The direction by Mary Lambert, who directed Madonna's "Like A Virgin", Madonna's "Like A Prayer", and 1988's PET SEMATARY, is okay at best. For an Asylum film, the film does look pretty nice. Lambert takes advantage of the locations used in the film, trying to create some level of atmosphere. The film is also very well paced, never feeling longer than it is. I also appreciated that the film does live up to its title. We don't have to wait until the end for Mega Python and Gatoroid going after each other. These animals appear to hate each other right away, unlike that boring build up in MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS where the two fought at the end for only two minutes. The attack scenes are staged pretty decently, I thought. I will say that the editing in the film is pretty bad though. There's a scene while Terry and Nikki are catfighting where the animals start attacking people at this fundraising event. Even though both scenes are right next to each other in terms of time and space, it's editing in a way that they seem to be in two different states. People are dying, screaming, and using loud weapons during the animal attack, but Nikki and Terry don't acknowledge it and wonder why no one is around after they both calm down. I shouldn't be looking for logic here, but without it, it just makes the editor look amateur. There are other moments like this as well, which kind of disrupt the flow a bit. But the direction is more positive than negative.
The acting is terrible, but that's the intention. I will say that Deborah Gibson and Tiffany aren't too bad and actually hold their own for the most part. Gibson is the better of the two, even though Tiffany is more enthusiastic in her role. If they still had their day jobs, I'd tell them not to quit them. But it took this film to give them their music careers back for a short while. Both are fun to watch as they berate each other and then throw down in a catfight involving food. And the songs they supply for the film are cheesy, but it works with the film. A. Martinez is the only actor in the film who takes anything in the story seriously, which actually makes him funny. He never smiles or laughs, always having this stern expression on his face. I really hope he was in on the joke, because if he thought this was an Emmy-worthy movie, I have a bag of magic beans to sell the guy. Kathryn Joosten, from Desperate Housewives, is probably the best actor as Angie. She knows she's in a shitty film and doesn't take anything in the film seriously. She has some of the best dialogue in the film and seems to be enjoying herself, while also embarrassed at the same time. It's pretty comical. And special mention goes to Monkees' member Micky Dolenz in a cameo as himself. He acts like a total douche in the film, which I hear is not too far from how he acts in real life, but allows himself to get eaten by a Mega Python. It's a harmless cameo and I laughed when he got swallowed.
THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE PETTING MY MEGA PYTHON
- Nikki has a thing for large snakes. Unfortunately, she'll probably have to settle for an earthworm in her personal life instead...
- "Someone has bitch for breakfast!" You mean someone actually wanted to eat Ann Coulter? Not even at my hungriest or horniest!
- Justin was surrounded by a group of Mega Pythons. I've seen a porn film like this once and it left the girl coming for more...
- Micky Dolenz of The Monkees is performing at a fundraiser to save the Everglades. "I'm A Believer" that Dolenz took that "Last Train To Clarksville" but got off at the wrong station.
- Deborah Gibson and Tiffany have an "epic" catfight involving food and cleavage. "Only In My Dreams" this fight "Could've Been" done with less clothing.
THE FINAL HOWL
MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID isn't high art, but it's a decent way to spend 90 minutes if there's nothing else on. It could have been better and more fun [because the cast and crew were obviously enjoying themselves here], but I got what was advertised which is more than okay with me. I still think MEGA PIRANHA was a more fun film, but MPvG was pretty close. If you're looking for a good sci-fi movie, don't bother with this one. But if you like bad films that'll make you laugh at how dumb it all is, then check this one out. You could do worse.
2 Howls Outta 4
Deborah Gibson - "Snake Charmer"
Tiffany - "Serpentine"