Category: Movies

Sharknado 3: A Serious Discussion on Modern Cinema

Haha, no. But also, yes. Spoilers galore ahead.

I’ve had a little time to digest last night’s premiere of Sharknado 3: Oh, Hell No! and read some reviews and thought pieces on the phenomenon. I have also been thinking about the reactions of people who have not seen the first two movies, but out of curiosity were finally ready to see what all the fuss is about. I have come to a few conclusions that actually surprised me.

First, I think the self-awareness of the franchise has somewhat changed the feel of the story. The original was what it was, with no real expectations of greatness, beyond any other movie by The Asylum. #3 was super campy and self-aware. But also, who cares? I mean, really. At the end of the day it is a movie about a guy who fights sharks in a tornado. And if the franchise eventually fails? Again, who cares? They haven’t invested much money in it, and nothing lasts forever. I and my husband, admittedly, may care more than some people as we participated in the crowdfunding of Sharknado 2, and named one of the sharks in the movie “Mrs. Bitey.”

Did you think I was kidding? This is a real thing!
Did you think I was kidding? This is a real thing! Look for the red circle.

I have read some comments, and also heard from my friends who are new to Sharknado, that they were a bit confused by some things in the third installment (beyond the basic concept). I didn’t realize until then that there is actually some real continuity to the ongoing saga. I was happy to see Nova return and had wondered why she was not in Sharknado 2. April has upgraded her hand to something more sophisticated and has almost become a likeable character. There are a lot of scenes that are self referential, like Fin filleting a shark in mid air, the baby being essentially born out of the shark, for example. I never thought I would say this, but it really does help to see all of the movies in order.

A lot of the popular appeal is its silliness, and the ridiculous number of celebrity cameos. But probably even more so is how The Asylum and SyFy have integrated it with social media. Twitter is the place to be on Sharknado night. In fact, I suck at Twitter, but I Tweet for Sharknado.

But, the thing that took me a little while to realize was that Sharknado 3 was really for fans of The Asylum. There was a lot of stuff in there just for us. Some casual viewers may not have noticed that SyFy was running all of their insane shark movies all this week: Megashark, Mechashark, Megashark vs. Mechashark, Two-Headed Shark Attack, Malibu Shark Attack, and the premiere of Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf, just to name a few. There is a whole subculture of fandom that is devoted to these movies. SyFy typically runs them during the day on Saturdays and Sundays. They are for people who enjoy absurdist theatre. Plain and simple. Some of these are franchises on their own, and sometimes those franchises are crossed over just so that Debbie Gibson and Tiffany can have a catfight at a barbeque. Did you notice, that when GRR Martin was eaten by a shark, he was at the time watching Three-Headed Shark Attack? Did you realize that when Lukas tells the soldier “at least it isn’t zombies,” that the soldier is in fact played by Kellita Smith from Z-Nation? My husband, a fan of Z-Nation, also mentioned that the show did a spoof of Sharknado that featured a zombienado, and in that episode one of the characters says “at least it’s not sharks!” Secretly, this movie was for us. I love that.

I have given this a lot of thought and this is what I want to see in the future:

  • An explanation as to why Fin is at the center of the Sharknado issue, preferably involving a multi-generational pirate curse. Think Ginger Snaps Back (but with pirates).
  • The return of Vivica A. Fox, possibly as a cyborg, or possibly in a prequel related to the pirate curse as mentioned above.
  • Sharks colonizing space. I have not yet been able to find Raptor Planet on DVD, but you know, like that per the description.

None of these ideas is ridiculous. You know it’s true.

My only real criticism is that, in spite of it being a really good mascara, the Benefit They’re Real mascara product placement was a little out of control. And I would not use it as ammo because that stuff is expensive.

What do you think? Don’t think too hard.