“Both Sharknado and its sequel make the mistake of trying to allow their main idea to carry the film when, after a few minutes, most, if not all, of the antics with the core idea have been carried out.”
If only really great films or unsung independent films got half the social media buzz that Sharknado and its sequel got, then I’d be optimistic that the masses would be seeing films they didn’t know they liked and watching films they had previously written off before. But that fantasy is about as plausible as a real-life Sharknado occurring, so I suppose I’ll simply have to deal with what looks to be an annual event of not being able to scroll through my Twitter news feed without hearing obnoxious buzzing about the latest installment of the now “horror-comedy” franchise Sharknado.
I put the phrase “horror-comedy” in quotations because I finally figured out my core issue with the two Sharknado films that I had a really difficult time articulating in my review of the first film. The films aren’t scary enough to be classifiable as horror films and not funny or sly enough to be fittingly categorized as comedy films, and because of that, exist in the realm of “dumb culture,” where things are made to be as stupid and as brainless as they can be on purpose. Sharknado has endured a legion of fans and supporters on the internet, praising the stupidity of both films and the pop-culture ridiculousness they bring. The producers even held a contest for the sequel, with fans creating the subtitle for the film. The fact that this film is called Sharknado 2: The Second One should really tell you how highly the producers and minds behind this film think of their fans as well as the fans themselves.
Sharknado 2 is nothing more than a skit-shows of cameos and puns, punctuated by mediocre, rapid-fire special effects that zip by too quickly to be appreciated or even distinguished. The film’s reacquaints us with Fin Shepard (Ian Zierling) and his ex-wife April Wexler (Tara Reid), the couple who survived the gruesome Sharknado in Los Angeles, who are on a Boeing 747 flight to New York when a deadly Sharknado hits mid-flight, causing the pilots to be killed and Fin to heroically land the plane. Despite Fin’s warning to New York that a violent storm of biblical proportions is headed towards the state, few believe him, until the clouds turn dark-gray and a storm rolls in. Gusty winds, multiple tornadoes, increased lightning strikes, strong cold fronts and brutal warm fronts collide, and soon enough, the sharks start to fly, leaving Fin and his gang to protect another city going through similar circumstances that they miraculously survived, all while his wife is in the hospital after getting her hand bit off by a shark during the plane’s landing.
The most entertaining characters of the film aren’t Fin or April, who exist more as heroic devices that spout off cliches and motivational encouragement to one another and the large city of New York City, but Matt Lauer and Al Roker, who we often check in with for the weather updates. Watching Lauer and Roker’s banter and their efforts to sum up this colossal storm makes for the most entertainment I got out of both Sharknado films. On top of that, in all efforts to try and make the inevitable boredom not set in so fiercely, director Anthony C. Ferrante and writer Thunder Levin (pun may or may not be intended, I’m not sure) toss in dozens of cameos from many different actors, celebrities, and musicians, which is what gives the film less credibility as a motion-picture and more billing as a primetime skit-show with a fraction of the laughs.
I grew tired of the first Sharknado in the first half-hour for the same reason I grew tired of The Human Centipede (First Sequence), which is because once you get past the film’s core idea and its selling point (tornadoes made up of sharks, people being sewed together in a grisly manner, or what-have-you), you need to have something else to fall back on. Both Sharknado and its sequel make the mistake of trying to allow their main idea to carry the film when, after a few minutes, most, if not all, of the antics with the core idea have been carried out. Not to mention, the disaster scenes involving sharks flying in every direction are already burdened by the mediocre special effects film studio Asylum overloads their films with, and the effects speed along in such a quick, vague manner that it’s hard to even distinguish the action and accurately describe what is happening.
On top of that, the characters we’re given are nothing but archetypal heroes, the dialog we’re given is cringe-worthy and beyond the likes of silly, and the cameos only provide for a few seconds of fun before we realize we’re essentially watching the same film as before, just edited in a different manner. Alas, the devoted fans of Sharknado will likely be satisfied by this, and say it adheres to the campy, B-movies of decades past and prides itself off of being “so bad, it’s good” for another generation. Yet the flaw in the logic there is that most campy, B-movies of decades past embraced their low-budget and still tried to do everything they could with what they had. Sharknado knows it has desperately little, so tries to make itself so dumb and so idiotic it can barely function, which is like the equivalent of a little kid trying to drum up as much attention as possible in public; you wouldn’t award the kid with the attention, why would you award the film?