Tuesday, September 10, 2013

SHARKNADO (Review)

Sharknado (2013)

review by AARON ALLEN

Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante

Written by Thunder Levin

Starring Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, John Heard, and Cassie Scerbo

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Earlier this summer the Internet lost its friggin' mind when Sharknado premiered on the Syfy channel.

Everyone was talking about it. 

Twitter exploded. Bloggers went mental. For about a week, it seems, all of popculture became a feeding frenzy over the latest no-budget disaster film from the modern masters of the easy B-movie cheapie: The Asylum. Today, relive the hysteria as Sharknado drops on DVD, Blu-ray, VOD, and iTunes in Canada. But this begs the question: is Sharknado worth picking up? Does it live up to its ravenous hype, or is it really just another dead in the water B-movie cheapie?

The cast of Sharknado hold their own against the film's airborne adversaries.
The title pretty much says it all, doesn't it? Sharknado features a Tornado full of sharks. Regardless of the film's story, it's this central premise that has made Sharknado a household name. And when you think about it, yeah, whether it's the name of a roller coaster or a low budget movie, a sharknado does sound pretty damn sweet (unless you're a shark with motion sickness, that is).

Today's forecast: an 80% chance of DEATH
Just when you thought it was safe to be in the path of a Tornado (??!!!??), a freak hurricane full of CGI Sharks makes landfall off the coast of Los Angeles. Take that, Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich. Soon, these poorly-rendered killers of the deep are swept up by tornadoes and plummeting from the sky, crashing through windows and bursting from drainage pipes and sewers, all the while gobbling up or crushing anyone in their path. Oh yeah, science is out to lunch here folks. By the time this film gets to the point where our heroes are attempting to kill sharks in mid-air with chainsaws or racing to stop the Tornadoes by BLOWING THEM UP -- yes, with honest to God bombs -- it's pretty clear that Sharknado is one part Shark Week hysteria mixed by three parts Looney Tunes. Oh, and it also stars 90210's Ian Ziering and perpetual celebrity train wreck Tara Reid (finally getting her time to shine now that Lindsay Lohan is apparently back on the wagon). But you don't care about that. You're here to see the shark kills.

Th-th-th-th-that's all folks!
Ian Ziering plays Fin Shepard, a local surfer and bar owner who's estranged from his wife April (Tara Reid) and kids. Fin spends his days hanging with his incomprehensible buddy, the local drunk (John Heard), and his super hot waitress Nova (Cassie Scerbo). When the sharknado strikes, however, Fin and his rag-tag crew head into LA to save his family from the impending sharkpocalypse. I have to give it up to Scerbo and Ziering, though. While Reid is completely abysmal in this movie, Scerbo and Ziering do manage to pull of some convincing character work even with the terrible script they have to read. This is not an easy movie to be likable in, either. For example, Scerbo shamefully rips off lines and tarnishes monologues straight from Spielberg's Jaws while Ziering struggles to make the audience believe that he'd rather be with his husky-voiced and over-bleached bitch of a wife instead of a hot, young waitress. Seriously, Nova comes on to Fin pretty hard in Sharknado, but the entire plot (if you can call it that) is motivated by the fact that Fin would rather give up her


to be with her


I can accept a lot of things in Sharknado. I can accept that sharks could survive a hurricane and a tornado. I can accept that bombs will somehow stop tornadoes. I can accept that there wasn't enough budget for decent coverage so the editor has to constantly cut away from the action to feature random shots of wobbly lamps, aerial beach pans, and snippets of actors looking perplexed and constipated. I'll even accept that there's supposed to be a wicked storm bearing down on LA even though most of the shots clearly show calm waves, bright summer skies, and nary a drop of water anywhere. But this.....this I just can't.

But hey, that's what you get with Sharknado: gaping inconsistencies, roaring implausibilities, and truly horrible CGI that will make you think you're watching the JAWS video game from 2006. Surprisingly, there's not nearly enough over-the-top moments or cheesy actors to give Sharknado an honest pass. While I was hoping to watch Sharknado while cheering and pumping my fist in mouth-foaming fits of hilarity, I spent most of my time instead sitting quietly with my hands up in a perpetual state of WTF.

The CGI is JAWSOME!
I will always have a tender spot for The Asylum. Some of our best Fright Night Theatre crowds came out to watch our screenings of The Asylum's cheesy creature features and no-budget mockbusters. When The Asylum's brazenly over-the-top script ideas collide with their low budgets, horrible production values, and low-rent actors, the results can be comedic gold. Take for example  Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, Mega Piranha, and Nazis at the Center of the Earth. While clearly awful movies, they're also a hell of a lot of fun to watch in a vocal crowd. Sadly, they've missed the mark with Sharknado. Sharknado doesn't have half the charm of a Mega Shark or even a fraction of the insanity of Mega Piranha. The CGI effects are even worse than Nazis at the Center of the Earth

If it's any consolation, the "Making Of" special features, cast commentary, and gag reel available on the Blu-ray disc are pretty interesting and make it appear as if everyone involved had a lot of fun making Sharknado. I just wish more of that fun could have translated on screen.

Sharknado takes a bite out of Canada today as it lands on DVD, Blu-ray, VOD, and iTunes courtesy of Video Services Corp (VSC).

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