Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep (2006)

Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep (2006)

Thirty years ago, Ray witnessed the death of his parents at the hands of a giant squid. Now determined to get revenge for his loss, he joins up with Nicole, an archaeologist who is searching for a fabled Greek opal and whose location is guarded by the squid itself. But a ruthless crime lord is also on the trail of the opal and will do anything to get it.

 

The good old Sci-Fi Channel has once again outdone itself in mediocrity. Not content with churning out such genre tripe as Attack of the Sabretooth, Hammerhead and Pterodactyl, it has decided to go back into the water for another aquatic-bound feature. This time sharks and mutated fish are not the source, it’s the giant squid. I’ve always been keen to see a decent giant squid flick since I saw 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in which Kirk Douglas and co. battle a rubber squid. I’m going to have to keep on waiting because this mess of a film isn’t going to convince anyone that there’s a giant squid involved, let alone anything resembling a decent plot.

Once again don’t sit down to watch a film with this level of budget and expect to see the squid tearing people apart every moment of screen time. You know what to expect before you do watch it, unfortunately you don’t know how badly your meagre expectations are going to be let down. For a film about a giant squid, you’d think the beast has joined the witness protection program. Apart from a few early moments and then the inevitable showdown at the end, the squid is hardly anywhere to be seen. In fact it’s not only hidden from view, it seems that no one really cares less about it as most of the conversations are directed towards obtaining the opal (or with characters trying to make out with each other).

With this being the Sci-Fi Channel, it can’t just be content with having a group of people all on the same side fighting off the said monster of the film. No, they’ve got to throw in all manner of crime lords, mad scientists, psychotic soldiers, terrorists and general nefarious bad guys to conflict with our heroes. In reality all it does is provide these films with human villains so that they don’t have to show the monsters as much. And it also gives us a few more unnecessary bad guys to feed to our monster. After all, we can’t have any of the good main characters being offered up as monster fodder, can we? Jeez I remember the days when no one was sacred in a horror flick (Spielberg feeding that Kitner boy to the shark in Jaws springs to mind)

The CGI squid rears it’s ugly head on few occasions and looks terrible when it does. The actors have no ability to interact with it whatsoever. I guess it’s hard trying to act as if an imaginary squid is trying to kill you without seeing anything there and waiting for the CGI to be superimposed at a later date. But at least the actors here could try. There’s a major problem with how the squid is portrayed too. In some scenes, the squid is clever enough to slice open scuba divers’ air hoses and in other scenes it drags its intended prey under the water, only to release them a few moments later for no apparent reason. Of course we know that any good characters attacked by the squid will be ok and any of the villains who are munched will not be so lucky. Also thrown in is a random boat of teenagers – their scene providing absolutely nothing to the film apart from three more bodies and the chance to attach Christa Campbell’s name to the production. An easy pay cheque for her it may be but I would have refused to pay the others in the cast.

Charlie O’Connell looks like a total meat axe and comes off sounding just as thick and wooden. Victoria Pratt does little else but hog the screen in a bikini. Why are all of these scientists smoking hot blondes? I need to get a new job! Also appearing is Jack Scalia as the crime boss. Quite what his organisation does is really of no interest to me and it’s a good job because you’re not going to get much more than “I’m a bad guy, boo me” plot development for him.

 

Throughout this film I was constantly reminded of the far superior mini-series The Beast, based on the novel by Peter Benchley. Although the effects looked just about as ropey at times, the emphasis was still on the squid. Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep seems to be a piss poor thriller about an ancient Greek opal with a bit of squid thrown in for good measure. It’s like renaming Raiders of the Lost Ark something like Snake Attack! for the brief moments that the snakes harass Indy. Definitely one to feed to the fishes.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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