Sharknado (2013)

“We’re gonna need a bigger chopper.”

Justin’s rating: I guess I found the cure for peace and quiet

Justin’s review: Weird enough, until this year I had remained rather Sharknado-free in my life. It wasn’t a desire to stay among the haute culture, mind you, but a general dislike of movies that are deliberately crafted to be “cult.” I think we’ve established on this site that true cult has to happen organically rather than by force. This had the smell of filmmakers trying to make the most ridiculous thing they could think of — more ridiculous than snakes on a plane — and then reap our mindless adulation.

But now that Sharkado has become a bona fide franchise that seems to have endured beyond the goofy novelty of, y’know, sharks in tornadoes, I figured it was time to at least (ahem) dip my toes into the water.

What I found here is the polar opposite of subtlety and artistic filmmaking. Rather, it’s a silly exercise in trying to figure out any way possible to have sharks show up anywhere, at any time. These aren’t just your average sharks; these are telemarketers given sharp teeth and the phone book to an entire area code. They fly, they swim, they jump, and they kill the second they sense that the camera is on them. They’re also made of very bad CGI that doesn’t stand up to more than a single second of scrutiny, which is why any given shot of a shark in this movie is 0.9 seconds long.

With a hurricane blowing into California (yes, this should be called Hurrishark, but you aren’t going to get anywhere arguing with the filmmakers), thousands of really cheesed-off sharks are being swept up and swept into L.A. While this does affect the commute situation, it really impacts bar owner Fin (because… shark fins?), who finds himself at the epicenter of every beat of this disaster movie.

Dodging sharks, tornadoes, AND sharknados left and right, Fin teams up with his Australian mate, budding love interest, and bar flunkie to go rescue his family (including a stubbornly confrontational Tara Reid) and bring the fight to the, uh, natural disaster unfolding around them. That’s right, while most disaster movies have heroes running away from the devastation, Sharknado sees Mother Nature as the true enemy requiring direct confrontation. And how is that to be achieved, you ask? Why, it’s simple! You lob bombs into the sharknados, because fake movie science says so.

So, OK, you’re not seeing Shakespeare at the Globe. This is pure spectacle that attempts to keep you hooked by topping every scene with some new idiocy in the next. It’s far too self-aware for my taste, just a barrage of sound and fury, signifying sharks. I guess I can sort of understand why this took off among Syfy’s sophisticated viewership, but let’s be honest: Sharknado is pandering without any talent involved.

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