the directing: Anthony Ferrante
the writing: Thunder Levin
the acting: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Jaason Simmons, Cassie Scerbo
So this happened.
I’ve given myself a few hours to think this one over. Still, much difficulty comes in formulating words of any sufficient worthiness. Let me be clear, there are the proper words and then there are the right words. Very different in terms of this SyFy original.
My toughest predicament overall will be deciphering intended critiques from seriousness. In other words, which moments were statements, through meta means or whatever, and which were simply given the old college try. The assignment will be frustrating, even impossible at times, and in the end this will still be a review about tornadoes made up of sharks.
Sharknado is yet another mountable trophy The Asylum film studio can rest above their ever so cozy fireplace. Our manly man protagonist, Fin (Ziering), and his trusty friends are handed an interesting pickle. Sharks. A shit ton of flying or NOS infused sharks.
I will get into the details later, but basically a storm brings an army of sharks to the Los Angeles coast, where they do what sharks are supposed to do in movies, eat people. Flooding becomes a nuisance as this allows the sharks to roam the streets willy nilly. Fin fears for his estranged family’s well-being, thus forcing his Herculean nature out into the open, and catalyzing a journey of all journeys to save his family. Shit goes down, blah-de-blah, more goes down, blah-de-blah, then finally with twenty minutes left, the sharknadoes make their entrance. Three towering, devastating, teeth-filled tornadoes. You may ask, “what will our heroes do next?” And I say, “well, isn’t it obvious?”
There is little room for a thing like physics in a film of this sort. How things work holds little importance to both filmmaker and audience member. Sharks living out of water, whatever. Sharks flying through windows, cool. Sharks with pinpoint accuracy amazing even Jamie Lynn Gray, I say yes please. Safe to say, these are not the holes that frustrate me.
Strangely, none of the larger “problems” really bother me. I’m not looking for convincing character arcs or continuity of any kind (all that went bye bye the moment I slid my credit card). Rather, it’s the small things that elicite my tantrums, which are usually a testament to sloppy filmmaking.
Two examples come immediately to mind. The first and most laughable – so much so that I actually took the time to rewind and pause – comes from our first encounter with the sharknadoes. Fin casts an ominous stare full of animosity and a smidgen of reverence (yeah, his acting is that good). But the moment was instantaneously ruined when I noticed in the back seat was Tara Reid, with a very similar face, looking in a completely different direction. It was absolutely one of the most surreal moments in a point and laugh kind of way. Both a direction and common sense fail in one shot.
Another “why” moments comes when Fin’s daughter has a hissy fit about her daddy problems as shark infested tornadoes are literally right outside just perusing. The entire group is preparing, whether it be bomb crafting or weapon wielding, but she decides to sulk off in the corner and put reality to the side (once again, reality is sharks in the sky spinning around very fast). What I am trying to say is her priorities are seriously mixed up.
Assuming they are, granted it’a a behemoth of one, the filmmakers made an appropriate critique on the over-the-top ridiculousness of today’s action and destruction in Hollywood. The group happens to find a car conveniently customized with nitrous, which comes in handy when outrunning the cops becomes necessary. Then there is Fin’s son’s flight school being equipped with the perfect materials to make more than a few high explosive bombs. My favorite moment however is when Fin notices a shark plummeting from the heavens straight for his daughter. He has the time to push her out of the way, rev up his chainsaw and cut said shark in half while it’s still in the air coming straight at him, or taking care of business as some of us call it. Regardless of if you call yourself an action fan or not, Sharknado not so discretely brings forth some glaring flaws the genre has picked up recently.
I hope, I mean really hope, they were going for the worst possible acting on purpose. It just does not make sense how performances could be this preposterously bad (The Last Airbender comes to mind). The mean part of me wants to say Ms. Reid was giving it her all, the realistic part of me would agree. But maybe this director is so good he was able to get the worst out of his actors for the sake of some protruding message. Maybe.
There is this feeling I have not much got accomplished in this review. In all honesty, I just don’t know when it comes to Sharknado. This is a whole differnt type of film I’m not formally accustomed to. Yet, it is one I strangely want pursue – for entertainment purposes, not professional ones – as a recent discovery showed me there are a lot more of these to be seen. So thank you Sharknado, there is much homework to be done.
Worth renting: Yes, but do so ironically.
Blu-ray or DVD: DVD will suffice.