Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sharknado (21013)

[Day 4 of Shark Week]

How bad is it? As Tara Reid said, "It's not very good."
Should you see it? On its merits - no. As part of the zeitgeist, perhaps. But don't encourage the makers by watching the sequel being made.

The SyFy network has had dozens, if not hundreds, of terrible films as original programming and their are production companies that have been created to fill their schedule; the one with the most outlandish ideas is The Asylum. I thought they'd pretty much hit the bottom of the barrel with "Two-Headed Shark Attack" and would soon disappear. Then this film became a surprise success.

The furor started when Tara Reid was on a late night talk show and was asked what she was working on next and she said she was in a movie soon to be on television; somewhat abashed, she said, "It's not very good." This got a response, as people familiar with the low quality of films she's been in wondered what could be so bad she was embarrassed by it. When she said it was about a tornado full of sharks, people who would never show interest in such a film suddenly took notice. Almost immediately, Reid was scheduled to talk about the film wherever people would have her and a cult film was being born before it aired, much like for "Snakes on a Plane."

The night it first aired, Twitter was filled with live tweets from people saying how bad it was. Interestingly, when the ratings came out, they showed that more people tweeted about it than actually watched it. In fact, even though it's had a limited theatrical release, it's hard to find people who have actually watched it. It's become the new "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes," an intentionally bad film people who don't watch bad movies recognize as bad, with a ridiculous title and a lot of uninformed word-of-mouth publicity.

Okay - so about the movie:

A storm off the Mexico coast picks up sharks and then moves through Los Angeles, depositing huge sharks that attack anything nearby. The special effects are poor and with poor editing, cause scenes to switch from day to night and from stormy to calm, depending upon camera angle. Ian Ziering plays a surfer hero and his acting's pedestrian; Tara Reid sleepwalks through her role even more than usual. Beyond the impossible premise, the sharks don't seem dazed by being flung at a hundred miles per hour or have trouble breathing out of water. The problem is solved with helicopters and explosives. The intentional humor, such as referencing "Jaws" by saying, "We're going to need a bigger helicopter" don't work.

The one good scene you've probably already seen. It's captured by the photo on this post. A guy with a chainsaw is swallowed whole and cuts his way out.

Added 8/26/14

Sharknado 2: The Second One was   actually a much better film, mostly due to a better script. Tara Reid's severed arm by itself generated several laughs, which required good writing skills. There were a ton of cameos by native New Yorkers, few of them actors and few required to deliver much. Al Roker explaining how the storm was possible was interesting. Intentionally campy to the extreme, it pulled few punches.

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