2013: The year Syfy truly lost their shark
Sharknado is directed by Anthony C. Ferrante and stars Tara Reid, Ian Ziering, John Heard, and Cassie Scerbo.
I have seen quite a few of the Syfy Channel's cut-rate, made-for-TV movies over the years, far more than a mentally sane person should ever consider. Even after you've seen just one or two of these flicks, whether it's 3-Headed Shark or Stonehenge Apocalypse or any of the other ridiculous names that Syfy has the steely audacity to insert into their TV schedule, it's incredibly easy to spot the common denominator to them all: hapless idiots get eaten/killed in delightfully bloody fashion, while an aroma of comedy permeates through the air. It's tough to seriously knock Syfy for the way they have fully embraced the ridiculous nature of their audio visual products, because entertainment is entertainment, whether it's derived from something amazing versus something horrendous. If we keep laughing and getting a big ol' smile on our faces, why should Syfy ever change?
Whatever movie Syfy had on TV, chances are any memories of the movie were gone by bedtime. That is until July 11, 2013, when the ultimate gem Sharknado first aired and took the world of social media by storm. You could not traverse any part of Twitter that night without running into some tweet or hashtag pertaining to Sharknado. Even celebrities like Patton Oswalt and Mia Farrow(!) contributed to the Twitter chaos. Syfy had done some pretty ridiculous nonsense before the summer of 2013, but Whoa Nelly, if Sharknado was able to blow up Twitter the way it did on the night of its premiere, then this 85 minute feature about sharks inside of tornadoes was truly something special.
Oh, you want a plot summary, do ya? It's a movie about freaking sharks inside freaking tornadoes! What else do you need to know? What's that? Characters? Okay, well, there's a guy named Fin (Ziering) who owns a bar near a beach in Los Angeles. The beach is flooded and overrun with sharks when water spouts begin to form, threatening to flood all of Los Angeles. Fin sets out with his modelesque bar employee Nova (Scerbo), the bar drunkard George (Heard), and his friend Baz (Jaason Simmons) to go and rescue his estranged wide April (Reid) and their teenage daughter Claudia (Aubrey Peeples). It won't be easy though, as nearly every corner of Los Angeles is infested with man-eating sharks.
Oh my gosh. That is probably the lamest plot synopsis I have ever written. Details are non-existent in Sharknado, a movie that exercises criminal levels of stupidity. Now, this is not like an Uwe Boll kind of stupid, where every possible wrong choice is made without a hint of being intentional. This is the kind of stupidity that the director and writers purposefully set out to achieve, a brand of dumbness that contains a special type of satisfaction that can only be found when being purposefully concocted by some sick-minded individuals who care not one bit for anything that may distract from said dumbness. I am unsure if I want to declare both director Anthony C. Ferrante and screenwriter Thunder Levin to be creative geniuses or just lazy money-grubbers. I will give them this though: no cheapskate writer or director that ever walked through Syfy's doors was able to achieve this kind of insanity that launched a franchise spanning six films.
- Sharknado may not be unintentional comedy (the one area where Uwe Boll has this franchise beat), but that doesn't mean the movie is anything short of hilarious. The sharks are completely immune to anything resembling gravity or the laws of physics, showing up to bite off somebody's head whenever they want and however they damn well please. Plus, this is Syfy Channel, so the CGI sharks are going to look like the, "came pre-installed with the software" kind that feature all sorts of haywire movements that certainly do not resemble the way any shark would act if it was placed on dry land. Character deaths meanwhile, are as over-the-top as can be, with no shortage of blood gushing out like water from a broken faucet. Then of course, there is the dialogue, far too many hilariously bad lines to count. From the eye-rolling, "We're gonna need a bigger chopper!" to Fin stupidly telling a shark victim, "Get out of the water!", there are sources of comedy everywhere you look in this movie. Taking this movie seriously is a straight-up impossible task.
- It's totally obvious that everything regarding directing, acting, writing, special effects, and so on are of the lowest quality you will ever find in a movie. Anything that can be labelled as irksome would be the direction and editing, both of which are non-existent. I love how the various shark attacks are inter-cut with moments of Fin, Nova, and others simply staring off into the distance, marveling at what is unfolding right before their very eyes. Anthony C. Ferrante also shows no effort towards blocking scenes and giving direction to background characters, all of whom look like all they know how to do is stand around or run. My personal favorite moment was when Fin announces he is closing the bar because of the storm, but then a few seconds later, everyone in the bar is still standing around, drinking beer, and acting like there's nothing bad happening. It's as if Ferrante literally pulled random people off the streets of L.A. and asked them if they wanted to be in a movie called Sharknado. Because of this, the shark scenes feel all the more incoherent and disorganized, but then again, that might be the whole point. Considering this is a TV movie about freaking sharks inside of freaking tornadoes, you have to accept the B-movie quality of everything at face value and just roll with it. The experience of watching Sharknado is a lot better if you put your anger-inducing cynicism aside and allow yourself to be swept up by this movie's perfect storm of awfulness.
The sad truth is that the actual sharknado doesn't appear until around an hour into the movie, so the majority of the movie is a series of logic-defying shark attacks in which no tornadoes are directly involved. Nonetheless, Sharknado is a movie that truly speaks for itself: absolutely nothing is spared when it comes to achieving one of the most insane levels of stupidity ever displayed by a movie, a TV movie no less. It is a time-waster and a brain-masher unlike any other, deserving respect for the way it not only blew up social media on the night of its premiere, but for how it was able to launch what has become one of the most enjoyably ludicrous franchises in history. There have been and will continue to be people who dismiss Sharknado as hot garbage, and rightfully so. However, if you can find it in your heart to accept sharks and tornadoes as a premise, you will laugh, you will cry, and you will have one wild, shark-filled ride from start to finish. Syfy finally gave us a treasure to love and adore for years to come. What truly outrageous creation will they come up with next time?
If we were being totally serious, this movie of course would get an F
Here you'll find my reviews on just about any film you may have seen. I try to avoid major spoilers as much as possible. I structure my reviews in the following way: