The "Sharknado" Franchise Jul 22, 2015 10:28:57 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jul 22, 2015 10:28:57 GMT -5
Directed by: Anthony C. Ferrante
Directed by: Anthony C. Ferrante
I feel that on a serious level, the level in which I try and review all the films I watch, Sharknado cannot be reviewed. It's the anomaly of cinema, an idea that is so preposterous and inconceivable that the only appropriate responses are to watch, laugh, and make smarmy commentary. There's almost no room for genuine criticism and thought on this film that isn't drummed up on the second. I almost feel a live commentary review is in order. It has been roughly ten hours since I watched Sharknado; I think I am late to formally review it by ten hours.
The film focuses on Los Angeles, which during an enormous hurricane is greeted by a large, astronomically destructive tornado that extracts sharks from the ocean and drops them freely in the streets of the city. Now, a group of residents, lead by Fin (Ian Ziering) after his bar is destroyed by the beasts, are forced to use obscure and creative ways to take out the tornado before the entire town is demolished by free-flying sharks.
Unlike many people who discovered Sharknado due to its popularity on social networks the night the SyFy channel premiered it, I knew of it when it was on sale at Cannes Film Festival, alongside other winners such as Copposites, a South African buddy-cop movie and Wiener Dog Nationals, the Beverly Hills Chihuahua of wiener dog movies. As consistent readers know, I can appreciate good, silly movies when they clearly have a sense of fun and earnestness about their production. Sharknado, however, feels cold in this department. Nothing about it feels genuinely silly, as if the filmmakers gathered in a room and decided they needed to make a film that effectively took the most asinine idea proposed and made it into a movie.
Take some of the proclaimed "dumb" films that I like on a level more than stupid filmmaking: Maximum Overdrive, the horror film Jack Frost, The Gingerdead Man, and the onslaught of Tremors sequels. Those films worked because they took their idea and ran with it in such a way that it felt the people behind them were seriously attempting a good film that possessed a laughable idea. Sharknado, on the other hand, continues to show you how dumb its idea is and almost never feels as if it wants to work as something other than purposefully bad entertainment. When you take an idea as idiotic as Sharknado's and coddle it to the point where you no longer want to pass it off as something silly but functional, there's nothing more to be seen than a piece of filmmaking that has a great idea and simply doesn't try. The fun wears off when you get past the fact that the film's disaster at hand is a hurricane that formed a tornado that has the ability to drop sharks on the ground below.
The acting and the writing are predictably atrocious, to the point where we can only hope everyone involved was just joking around. For example, the water in a flooded house becomes dark red after a shark just died. A character naturally replies, "must be that time of the month." Another features a guy and a girl talking when the girl mentions, "sharks killed my grandpa. That's why I hate them." The guy can only reply with, "now I hate sharks too."
The film was made by the company "Asylum," which is infamous for its "mockbuster" films, also known as films that parody a box office hit that are strategically planned to hit DVD right as the film it's parodying releasing in theaters. Most recently, they've raised Pacific Rim with Atlantic Rim and undoubtedly made some confuse Thor, the 2011 superhero film, with their Almighty Thor. Sharknado is another entry in their long line of stunningly ridiculous creature features, right up there with Mega Piranha and Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus. Again, these are films that bank off of a simple idea that is stretched out to capacity at ninety-minutes or so, making them effectively boring and tedious after the first half hour or so.
Regardless, Sharknado has obviously done something right, whether it's use media to heavily advertise itself, stamp "Enough Said!" on the cover in an attempt to show there's not much else mentally taxing to understand about the idea, and even greenlight a sequel immediately after it became a Twitter-sensation and host a contest on what the subtitle should be. It's only logical to not that there will be an inspired legion of people who regard this as one of the greatest low-budget cinematic achievements in recent years and they may not be wrong. The film, in my eyes, though, is redundant and tiresome. There's just something unremarkable about a film that is self-aware to almost everything it does and every move it makes that it renders the entire "so bad it's good" experience moot and almost entirely ineffective.
Starring: Tara Reid, Ian Ziering, John Heard, Cassie Scerbo, and Jaason Simmons. Directed by: Anthony C. Ferrante.