Solil Devyn Borthwick
When I finally got around to watching 2013’s bluntly titled “Sharknado,” I was expecting two things—sharks and tornadoes. What I was not expecting was family drama, uncomfortable romance and dialogue that sounded like it came out of a porn.
As welcome as the last one was, I did feel a little let down at how few sharks were in “Sharknado,” and it was one of the first things I bemoaned during my viewing. I mean, there was supposed to be a tornado of them, right?
Unfortunately, Sharknado seems to have a “less is more” attitude when it comes to the shark content, which is simply incorrect. They’re sharks. More is more. We want more sharks.
After a brief introduction involving some sort of drug deal or other illicit crime—I wasn’t really paying attention as there weren’t any sharks yet—we are treated to our first glimpse of the eponymous entity that is the Sharknado.
However, after this tease, we are left sharkless for a significant amount of time as we have several characters introduced to us, including Fin (Ian Ziering) and Baz (Jaason Simmons) and some other people, I guess.
Their acting, as with the rest of the cast’s, was exactly what I wanted—which is to say campy, awful and completely unserious.
Also in the main cast is Cassandra Scerbo as Nova, a waitress who not-so-dramatically reveals her not-so-surprising tragic backstory involving sharks later in the film.
This segment, as with almost every other line of dialogue in “Sharknado,” is delivered with the same overconfidence and tonal mismatch that accompanies the acting of even the most ambitious of porn films.
As much as I appreciate the cast’s miserable performances, I felt they were a little too present. While bad acting is one of my favorite parts of the B-movie experience, and “Sharknado” has plenty of it, something it does not have is plenty of sharks.
After all, when I watch a movie with a title as descriptive as “Sharknado,” I’m watching for some sharks in a tornado. So why bog down the whirlwind of sharks with a human-interest story?
Despite the film’s best efforts, I am not interested in these humans. I am interested in the sharks. What are their motives? Why are they in a tornado?
Did the sharks eat all the other sea creatures in their tornado, and that’s why they have to eat the very dull human characters that were forced into the story and into their poor, shark-shaped bellies?
Why were there not more sharks? Granted, there were a lot of them, but were there enough? I think not. The film could have operated as a simple carnage fest with sharks flying, people dying and no discernable characters or plot.
This is not to discredit Thunder Levin’s writing talents or Anthony C. Ferrante’s directing choices, as these both were laughably bad in almost every other way. They just needed more sharks.
That said, the shark content we do receive is rather exceptional. They really do look like sharks. Sort of. The special effects are as campy and low quality as the acting, with shark blood exploding across the actors like an overzealous gusher.
The sharks themselves, all CGI effects because of OSHA or PETA or some such acronym, are just as low resolution as you would expect them to be. They’re blurry enough to almost blend into the background, but up close they become alarmingly pixelated.
Several scenes include sharks swimming through water, a special effects feat that apparently outpaced the entire “Sharknado” crew. The water remains stagnant as animated sharks wiggle their way down the flooded streets, and their powerful, fishy jaws almost never line up with what they’re biting at.
The sharks are so bad, I could admire their abysmal quality for significantly longer than “Sharknado” offered them to me.
But no. We have to put up with Fin’s family drama and some very strange love-polygons instead of just watching some random humans get turned into shark meat.
This makes up the majority of the quasi-plot, but the characters are also concerned about stopping the tornadoes that are slinging sharks faster than a pre-teen slings swears.
There’s also a flood happening, which is where the sharks are coming from, but we don’t care about natural disasters. We care about sharks.
Somewhere around the halfway point of the almost 90-minute movie, I vaguely remember hollering, “When are my fucking shark friends coming back?” which prompted my girlfriend to pass me one of the several shark plushies I had brought into the room for the movie.
A momentary abatement of my discomfort, but the movie continued to be deprived of these most vicious and cuddle-worthy fishes. That said, the theme song at the end of the movie was more than worth the wait.
All in all, despite its disappointingly absent sharks, the continuously bad acting and writing from the depths of triple-x hell interspersed with occasionally present but perpetually outrageous special effects made “Sharknado” a massively enjoyable B-film.
Now, if only it had a successful run of sequels with even more shark content…
A girl can dream.