Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sharknado: I'm Done

The Asylum is not a production company known for making good movies. Hell, I don't even know if I'd call half of what they've made over the years movies at all. I can't put all the blame on them though. SyFy has gone a long way to encourage (and pay for) this crap. By watching a lot of terrible movies on SyFy I've done my part to keep them churning out the schlock. But still, they were harmless back when they were making stuff like Mega Python vs. Gatoroid. Who didn't want to see Debbie Gibson and Tiffany throw down? I sure did. I have (frequently under the influence of alcohol) watched several of their goofy jokes posing as movies over the years. I was even excited for Sharknado to come out, and enjoyed the shit out of it the first time I saw it. The second one was okay. Not as good, but still fun to watch. The third one was pretty bad, but not the worst thing I'd ever seen by a long shot. I mean, I have seen Zoombies.
Now there's a fourth movie, and I only made it to the end because I'm a masochist. I also wanted to be able to talk about it with you guys, and was hoping that this one would have an ending that provided closure rather than the opening for another sequel. It was nearly unwatchable, and it took a lot of beer for me to get through it. I know that as long as people continue to watch them there will be more, but I wash my hands of this mess. With my tolerance for crap this is kind of a big deal. I watched Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf for god's sake. Now let's look back over the first three movies so you can understand where I'm coming from a bit better.

Why was I excited to see the first Sharknado? The poster and tag-line "enough said!" had me instantly. There was no reason or logic to be found there, just the promise of something truly ridiculous. I did indeed receive something ridiculous, but they were really trying back then. Okay, they were sort of trying. There was an actual plot, and though it was stupid, it tried to explain some sort of reason for this foolishness. A cyclone hits the ocean near L.A. and picks up a bunch of sharks. It then proceeds to hit land, and throw killer sharks everywhere at everyone. Don't ask how the sharks can breathe while flying through the air. You won't get an answer no matter how hard you look. Believe me, I tried. Attempts at logic are made as the devastation causes flooding that allow the sharks to swim through the streets eating people. The actors also put a lot more effort in to selling what's happening in the first installment then you'll see from the other three to come. Not that many of them a really good actors or anything, but at least they're trying here. It's shit, and they know it, but what other options do actors like these have? But also don't ask how all of the main characters are instantly shark killing bad-asses as soon as everything gets started. Just go with it. 

The first one took a little while to catch on, but once it did even my sixty-something year old aunt had seen and loved it. So you knew there would be a second one, and that it would be bigger and dumber than the first. Sharknado 2: The Second One was where they started going crazy with low-list celebrity cameos too. Robert Hays (Airplane) as a pilot? Hilarious. Judd Hirsch (Taxi) as a cab driver? Genius. Or so I imagine someone thought. There was also Wil Wheaton, Biz Markie, Andy Dick, and a whole host of other people that you didn't know were even still alive. There are seriously more than I have the energy to look up or list here. I'm sure you can find then all online if you care to do so. Besides the gratuitous cameos we also have some new additions to the main cast. Mark McGrath, and Kari Wuhrer are another part of the family (that we're supposed to care about for some reason) who Ian Ziering and Tara Reid are on their way to visit when, big surprise, another sharknado happens. Looking over the plot to talk about it I couldn't really find a plot in this one either. As far as I can tell it's supposed to be about Ian Ziering saving his family that we don't care about, but that was the plot of the first on too. It made more sense the last time because he was the first one to see the sharknado so it made sense that he was trying to save people from a phenomenon no one had ever seen before. A sort of bad movie sense anyway. In this one everybody knows about sharknados, but no one is prepared or wants to believe that another one is coming. Shouldn't the government have some sort of plan for these things by now? I know that looking for logic here is an exercise in futility, but I need there to be more than just amping up the silly deaths. Tara Reid gets a saw hand so I believe that's "enough said!"

But it clearly wasn't enough for America because next we were treated to Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! last year. I have a morbid curiosity so I still watched it, but there's only so much even I can take (and I've seen Dinocroc). In this third installment our hero is out trying to save his family from a sharknado. Wait, is that right? I thought that was the plot of the last two movies. Let's just call them what they really are from now on. Sharknado 2: Money, Sharknado 3: Lots of Money!, and Sharknado 4: Fuck It. They really had to scrounge for "celebrities" here too. Politicians and news anchors? Not exciting. I also don't follow sports, but I hear there were a bunch of sportsball players in there too. I only recognized Chris Jericho (who must have been on loan from VH1 again), and was mad that he died without even getting to use a wrestling move on a shark. To have an excuse to do even more dumb shit they end up first in Universal Studios, followed by the Daytona 500, and then at Cape Canaveral (because Ian Ziering's father just happens to have once worked for NASA, and is also David Hasslehoff) because at this point only going in to space can up the ante any further. Okay I did enjoy Tara Reid and Ian Ziering safely re-entering Earth's atmosphere by riding inside of the sharks that have eaten them whole (don't even ask how the sharks are breathing in outer space. "Because it's Sharknado" is the unsatisfying answer you'll get every time), but that's about all that really got me in this movie. To try and get people more interested again the filmakers decided to use a cliffhanger where the fans were allowed to vote as to whether or not Tara Reid's character lived or died. After seeing that she was clearly in the cast of Sharknado 4 I lost all faith in humanity. 

And finally we come to the movie that pushed me over the sharknado edge. Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens. I had hoped that the title was just a play on words, and wouldn't contain any actual references to Star Wars. I was sadly mistaken. They don't stop at references, but instead lift lines directly from the movies. At least they give up on it quickly as they jump from one stupid idea to the next. I really thought I had a stroke or something at one point because I thought I'd been watching the entire time, but I had no idea what was happening. What was that the about the satellites that stopped all sharknados from happening five years ago? And how exactly did Tommy Davidson rescue David Hasslehoff from the surface of the moon? Why do we switch from Star Wars to Wizard of Oz references? I feel like there should have been a bit more explanation there. Then again, I don't think they gear these movies towards people who like explanations. Ian Ziering has even more family members to save, Tara Reid has been turned in to a cyborg by Gary Busey, and we're so far to the bottom of the barrel that I hardly recognized any of the cameos. Reality TV stars are not people I'm going to know or care to know. This movie was so bad that it quite literally offended me. Mr. Tibbs only watched it because he wanted to see how big a train wreck Gary Busey would be. The answer? A big one. Several scenes that he was supposedly in with other actors look like they take place on different sets, and were pasted together in post. As if the lawyers wouldn't let him be around other people due to liability insurance. Eventually, he does appear onscreen with other people so there was a fun illusion shattered. After going into space it seems that the "writer" decided that the only way to go bigger was to have different kinds of 'nados going on across the country at once. Seriously, what was the point of those sharknado busting satellites? So we get an oilnado, a lavanado, and at one point a cownado. I thought that the sharks would gobble up all the cows and be too full to eat any people, but I clearly do not understand sharks. The Discovery Channel's Shark Week has done me a huge disservice. Then a lightningnado hits a nuclear power plant and becomes a nukenado. Yep, radioactive sharks. In a tornado. Have these guys not seen Atomic Shark? Ian Ziering goes over Niagra Falls, and is swallowed by a shark. That is swallowed by a bigger shark, that is swallowed by a bigger shark, that is swallowed by a whale. So many people get chewed on by sharks in these movies, and yet our heroes are always swallowed whole. Convenient, huh? So obviously he is easily saved, but then a chunk of the Eiffel Tower plops down in front of them so next we'll have world spanning sharknados. Again, we've been to the moon. Paris covered in sharks isn't going to do anything for anyone. Well maybe if you hate the French, but that's probably a small demographic to bank a movie on.

Hopefully you can see why I'm not giving this franchise any more of my time. What started as silly has become depressing, and I don't need that in my life. If only the producers had taken funnymen Paul Sheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and Scott Auckerman up on their offer to write a script. At least they could have returned some humor to this franchise. But no. The Asylum will keep going down this road as long as there is still a dead shark for them to kick. So as you get ready for Sharknado 5: Are You Guys Seriously Still Watching This? I'll be moving on with my life, and waiting for something fun to come on SyFy again.

  
-Beth

Beth got her start writing for a site called Movie Criticism for the Retarded (which has been reborn as dorkdroppings.com. Check it out sometime), but was pulled out of an early retirement to write for Needless Things. When she isn't writing she plays video games and watches bad horror movies while eagerly awaiting the zombie apocalypse. She may try to save her husband and/or their cats, but luckily hasn't had to make those tough decisions yet.

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