Sharknado (2013) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Sharknado (2013)

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The product in questionAndrew INDIFFERENCE BannerWe meet again, Asylum.  For those who don't know, Asylum is a B-movie production company that specialized in Mockbusters when they started, low-budget films that ape their bigger-budget inspirations.  American Warship as a parallel to Battleship, for example.  They're often terrible, but their original B-movie productions throw caution to the wind so readily that they're sometimes fun.

So I wasn't too surprised to hear the air rapidly escaping from the lungs of many of my associates when they told me of the beauty that is Sharknado.  It premiered on SyFy almost two months ago to a very small audience, and thanks to the power of GIFs and the internet has become one of those viral hits.  Now it will be purchased by people who have a follow-up to the question, "You haven't seen Sharknado?"

Fair is fair, when the titular aquatic catastrophe hits the land it's a good time.  Then the mix of ridiculous special effects and unusual armament combines into a bloody-chunked frenzy of appendages both human and shark alike.  Implements that aren't normally feasible in fending off shark attacks, like chain saws, are relished onscreen for their ability to fight off the suddenly airborne threat.  What a lot of people are forgetting, though, is that the payoff comes after an hour and five minutes of dull material.

For added fun, pull up your favorite alcoholic beverage of choice and sip every time there's a close-up reaction shot.

For added fun, pull up your favorite alcoholic beverage of choice and sip every time there's a close-up reaction shot.

The problem with Sharknado is that it's a movie instead of a twenty-minute short film.  The buildup involves a typical Asylum assortment of B- and C-list celebrities called out of semi-obscurity to do a small amount of acting.  Fin (Ian Ziering), whose name should have inspired a few puns but never mind, runs a seaside bar in California.  However, as the prologue helpfully illustrates, a water funnel filled with sharks is heading for his establishment.  So it's up to Fin, Nova (Cassie Scerbo), who has an unrequited crush on the guy, and other bar regulars to band together, save Fin's family, and fight off the shark menace.

But there's still an awful lot of padding to go between the fun prologue and the final showdown.  A lot of it involves some dreadful domestic problems dialogue between Fin and his estranged wife April (Tara Reid).  Strangely enough it's not played for laughs, which is odd for a film that's at least self-aware enough to market itself with the slogan "Enough said!" as if that would carry the rest of the film with no problem.  But no, the domestic dialogue, much like the many exposition sections of, "We have go to X", are boring and poorly delivered.

Now Sharknado does try to liven up the moments leading up to the onslaught with a few small attacks along the way.  However, none of these are well-done or funny.  Get used to seeing a lot of red dye and close-ups of the principal performers faces, because that's all the action that you're going to get.  Even the few moments that could have been funny, like the fate of a poor bus driver, hint at his fate so strongly that when it finally comes it's as a punchline to a joke that was telegraphed with the first few words.

It's a long slog getting to the point where there's fun onscreen.

It's a long slog getting to the point where there's fun onscreen.

So how do our performers fare against all this gray destruction?  It's a mixed bag.  Ziering's boring as the lead, not weird enough to do anything fun with the absurd scenario they're in, and not stoic enough to be a funny counterpoint.  Scerbo brings some much needed energy to the movie, which should be unnecessary given the absurd premise, and is a lot of fun to watch.  But Reid is still terrible.  Apparently she knew that this was supposed to be a joke going in, and still decided that gaping wide eyed with all the strength and conviction of someone eating a sandwich was enough.

It's not all so bad.  Every so often the dialogue draws away from the family problems and sprinkles in a few one-liners that are fun to hear because of how simple the logic is.  My favorite: "Storm's dying down."  "How can you tell?"  "Not as many sharks flying around."  It helps dull the boredom of listening to Ziering and Reid fight about their family yet again.

Really, if you have any interest in watching Sharknado, just watch a few of the available compilations back to back.  If you really want immersion, grab a spray bottle and mist yourself with water every minute or so.  But in the event that you find yourself with a copy of the film remember, it's a long hour before the fun begins.  It's better just to skip everything in between and jump straight to the good stuff.

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Tail - SharknadoSharknado (2013)

Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante.
Screenplay written by Thunder Levin.
Starring Ian Ziering, Cassie Scerbo, and Tara Reid.

Posted by Andrew

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