Sharknado ChainsawCredit: Copyright flickr All rights reserved by Dr. Terror

Jumping (Into) The Shark

To review Sharknado, one must watch it. That’s the first step to admitting you have a problem. The problem, of course, being you just watched Sharknado.

Perhaps you’ve heard tale of a movie lurking in the depths of television programming. Like a great white sensing blood in the water, Sharknado ravaged the airwaves catching 1.4 million viewers in its jaws. Sharknado's initial victims were lured in by the promise of a Syfy original movie that looked so bad it must be good. That explains some of the appeal. However, “ratings were up 29 percent from Syfy's 2013 average for an original movie.” [1]

Why the increase?

The answer lies in the vast ocean of social media. Twitter erupted with viewers joining in the feeding frenzy of ridicule targeting the stilted acting, ludicrous plot development and less-than-special effects. Viewers ranging from children to celebrities joined together on couches and keyboards to playfully skewer the film. The social gathering yielded some hilarious reactions.

Benjy Sarlin pointed out:

Benjy Sarlin TweetCredit: Twitter

Comedian Patton Oswalt asked:

Patton Oswalt TweetCredit: Twitter

Damon Lindelof, creator of Lost, wrote:

Damon Lindelof TweetCredit: Twitter

Immerse Yourself

You don’t watch a Sharknado; you experience it. Part of the appeal comes from the ability to actively participate in mocking the film as you watch. During the premiere, “#Sharknado was trending worldwide and registered about 5,000 tweets per minute at its peak.”[2] The massive response on Twitter is credited with increasing viewership as curious followers flipped on Syfy to join in the fun. It is recommended that you watch with a group of people in order to share the incredulous reactions induced by viewing Sharknado.   

This review serves as a guide through the key quesitons one might ask before diving into this cinematic disaster (of a) film.

Question #1: What is a Sharknado?

A sharknado is a tornado containing thousands of swirling sharks swept up from the ocean. Don’t worry about whether or not it is scientifically possible, the writers didn’t.

Question #2: How does a Sharknado form? Is it scientifically possible?

Water spouts that formed over the Pacific Ocean during a hurricane just happen to lift 20,000 migrating sharks into the vortex. The funnel clouds proceed to jettison sharks throughout greater Los Angeles.

Question #3: Who are the stars of Sharknado?

Ian Ziering, who played Steve Sanders in Beverly Hills 90210, portrays Finley (Fin) Shepard, an ex-professional surfer turned bar owner. Tara Reid (American Pie) is Fin's estranged wife, April Wexler. But I think we all know the real stars are the sharks.

Question #4: Are there groundbreaking special effects?

Syfy channel is infamous for movies featuring CGI that don’t quite mesh with the live action sequences. Sharknado’s special effects could only be considered groundbreaking if the ground being broken was a landfill.  And it broke through into the depths of Hell. And America was swallowed up by that hole.

Here is a brief glimpse of action packed scenes highlighting the arrival of the storm. Notice it all occurs in less than two minutes!

Question #5: How do you stop a Sharknado?

Take a helicopter flown by an inexperienced flight school trainee and drop bombs made out of propane tanks from camp fire grills into the tornado. The tornado should stop in about 5 seconds. Use various gasoline powered cutting tools to hack the remaining sharks into chum.

Question #6: Does someone leap into a flying shark with a chainsaw?

Indeed someone does. He then proceeds to cut himself out of the stomach. In fact, the act is completed with such ease that it’s literally unbelievable. You be the judge:

Question #7: Will there be additional airings of Sharknado?

Since the premiere on July 11th, subsequent airings of the show amassed more viewers than the previous with the third airing on July 30th fetching 2.1 million viewers—more than the premiere and follow up respectively. [3]  So…YES.

Question #8: Are they making a sequel?

Do sharks fly? That’s obvious. A promotional campaign for the Sharknado sequel is already upon us. Just when you thought it was safe to turn on the television, the second offering in the franchise has been slated for release in 2014. The title? Sharknado 2: The Second One.  Initial reports reveal the setting to be New York City. Thunder Levin, writer of the original film, told New York Daily News, “Can you imagine a shark impaled on the spire of the Empire State Building?”[4]

Question #9: Any classic one-liners?

Sink your teeth into some of the finest dialogue the movie has to offer.

Nova Clarke: “It’s like Old Faithful.” [after a car is swept away by a wave on the highway]

Robbie the Bus Driver: “My mom always told me Hollywood would kill me.” [moments before a letter from the Hollywood sign slams into him]

Nova Clarke:“Are those sharks?” [while viewing a funnel cloud ravaging the city]

Baz Hogan: “It’s entirely possible. Hurricane can pick up marine life and drop it hundreds of miles away.” [The most scientific explanation in the film]

Fin: “It’s time to stand and fight.” [in reference to a tornado filled with sharks]

Fin:    “Your son wants to go into a helicopter and drop a bomb into the tornado.” [explaining to April why he is upset]

Nova Clarke: “They took my grandfather. That's why I really hate sharks.” [5]

Question #10: What’s the most unbelievable moment in the movie?

Simple: Tara Reid as someone’s mother. It’s also the most frightening moment.

Menacing SharkCredit: © 2013 MORGUEFILE. All Rights Reserved by rosevita

Gather Your Chums

Next time you’re “surfing” the channel guide, be on the lookout for a Sharknado. But be warned! If you feel your fingers dangling over that remote, be sure to invite others to join in the fun before you plunge into the depths of this film.

Even then, you may need to numb the pain with a good stiff drink. And if you’re foolish enough to go set sail alone, all I can say is: You’re gonna need a bigger drink.

Fin (The End)

Sharknado Has A Theme Song!

(The Ballad of) Sharknado by Quint