Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sharnknado warning

Any of you who are on any form of social media know that the only story that has even approached the level of hype and excitement CNN has put on the Trayvon Martin trial is of course the SyFy movie  Sharknado.
For those of you who somehow have not heard of Sharknado, it is exactly what it sounds like. It is a giant f*****g tornado that picks up a whole bunch of sharks and then rains them down on Los Angeles. 
I don’t think it is an underestimation to say I was more excited to see this movie than I am for the return of Twinkies.

Is anything about this movie realistic? Well, no. It takes a special kind of person to watch SyFy movies. Namely, an idiot like me. For instance, I once watched a movie called Dinoshark, and the only time I got outraged about the facts in that movie was when girls in a water polo match use two hands. That’s right, in a movie about a prehistoric shark ravaging Mexico after being released from a glacier, I got mad because the players refused to follow the rules of water polo. 

Heck, I once ignored a line in a movie called Dinocroc vs Supergator that implied crocodiles and alligators are natural enemies even though I’m pretty positive those two animals have never, ever encountered one another in the wild.

In fact, I’m a bit of a SyFy movie connoisseur. Why? Because those are the types of movies that are on TV while I’m sitting on the couch on Sunday afternoons working off a hangover. So for those of you that didn’t watch Sharknado, I – as a certified SyFy movie expert -- watched it for you! Caution, this obviously contains spoilers.

But first, the key to remaining interested in a SyFy movie even as the horrible production, acting and plot threaten to shut down your brain is to get invested in the characters. And by that I mean predicting with your friends which people will die. So we are going to break down the odds of each of Sharknado’s main characters avoiding becoming shark kibble:

Fin: Our hero
Weapon of choice: Chainsaw
Odds of surviving: 1-1
Breakdown: This is a gimme. The main hero never dies, even if he thinks a chainsaw is a practical weapon to be carrying around. But more importantly, how lazy are these writers? A guy named Fin. In a movie about sharks. I almost want him to die now.

Nova: Our heroine
Weapon of choice: Shotgun
Odds of surviving: 3-2
Breakdown: The other safe bet in a SyFy is our hero’s love interest. You can identify the heroine by picking out the least slutty of the women in the movie who is still good looking. Plus, Nova here has a scar on her leg from a shark that ate her grandfather when she was a child, causing her to hate sharks. Did I mention she has a shotgun? Yeah, I think she will easily have the highest kill count.

Baz: The funny best friend
Weapon of choice: Baseball bat
Odds of surviving: 10-1
Breakdown: Baz is from Tasmania. That’s right, Baz is a Taz (really writers?). Anyway, the best friend is there for comic relief, but almost always dies towards the end of the movie in an inevitably heroic sacrifice of some sort. Also, people with accents do well with women at bars, but not as well with killer animals in SyFy movies.

April: The old flame played by Tara Reid.
Weapon of choice: Hedge trimmer
Odds of surviving: 5-1
Breakdown: One of two things happen with the old flames in these movies. They either reunite with the hero, or they die in some fantastically bloody way. With the presence of Nova, I doubt the first is an option, but the fact that Tara Reid is playing the old flame gives her a chance. You don’t pay Tara Reid and her plastic parts to just die.

George: The old drunk horny guy
Weapon of choice: Barstool (I am not making that up)
Odds of surviving: 500-1
Breakdown: George -- who is played by the dad from Home Alone -- is doomed. Drunk people never survive these movies. Old people never survive these movies. Horny people never survive these movies. People who think carrying around a barstool as a weapon is a good idea don’t survive anywhere. 

Claudia: The teenage daughter
Weapon of choice: Teenage angst
Odds of surviving: 2-1
Breakdown: SyFy movies rarely kill children. Especially family members. Even if they are really annoying.

Matt: The college-aged son
Weapon of choice: Propane canisters
Odds of surviving: 3-1
Breakdown:  He’s a little older and he’s a male, which means he is more likely to die while trying to impress either his father or a girl. Hence the longer odds than his sister.

Two bros: Bros
Weapon of choice: Bromance
Odds of surviving: 1 million-1
Breakdown: I don’t know who these two people are or how they are connected to the other characters. They just show up out of nowhere. They are certain to die, probably in a very brotastic way. God bless them.

I’ll give you some time to place your bets. OK, and now we commence with the film. Get yo popcorn ready.

1 minute: We start off as most bad SyFy movies do, in a boat off the coast of Mexico with an Asian business man doing something illegal with a vaguely European person with an evil accent who says “People shouldn’t be afraid of sharks, it’s sharks who should be afraid of us.” They of course both die.

We also get our first look at the production quality of the sharks. It is horrible. Also, these sharks are very adept at moving around on dry surface and chewing people. Darwin would be proud.

9 minutes: After the obligatory shots of LA beaches and bikini-clad butts, we are introduced to our main characters, who are in a bar that gets overrun by sharks coming in on large waves. We are told that a hurricane in California is the fault of (brace yourself): Global warming! Everything is global warming’s fault.  Also, as the bar patrons run screaming out of the bar, Fin reminds them, “Don’t forget taco Tuesday.”

37 minutes: Fin, Baz, Nova and George embark to try and find Fin’s family. It’s pretty smooth sailing until they encounter the only thing more dangerous than sharks: LA traffic. George displays surprising skill wielding his barstool to smack a shark and save a dog from a car, but he is our first character to get chomped. His last words: “Ow.”

50 minutes: They find Tara Reid and the daughter. Time has not been good to Tara Reid. After a shark eats her pretty-boy douchebag new boyfriend, Baz looks at the bloody water and drops this line: “It looks like it’s that time of the month.” Apparently being a script writer is not that hard.

1 hour: We are at the halfway point, and there have been lots of sharks but no tornados yet. I’m getting worried.

1:09: Wait, off in the distance, beyond the skyline, could it be?


1:16 hours: The car they are driving has a gas leak. After the get out, it suddenly explodes, despite no sparks. They decide to go straight into a liquor store. I frankly wouldn’t leave it.

1:19 hours: With no ride, they steal the only practical vehicle there is for this situation: A tricked out Hummer. Seriously, this Hummer has a Nos switch. This movie is now part shark, part tornado, part Fast and the Furious. I’m in love.

1:32 hours: They find the son, who is a chopper pilot. They decide they are going to “stand and fight.” They are going to do this by flying a helicopter into a tornado and drop small little propane canisters to blow up the sharks. Baz also tells us that not only will this kill sharks, this will somehow stop a tornado.  He had scientific facts to back this up.

1:43 hours: So much for dying heroically. Baz gets picked up by a tornado and eaten trying to rig a Hummer to explode. 

1:45 hours: Nova and Matt are in a chopper throwing their redneck explosives into the tornadoes. And somehow it’s working. The two pound propane tanks are producing nuclear sized explosions and instantly stopping these tornadoes. I hope FEMA is taking notes.

1:47 hours:  Also our bros meet their end. One pushes the other out of the way only to get killed himself. His friend minutes later has a shark land on him anyway. #YOLO to our bros.

1:52 hours: Nova falls out of the helicopter and in midair is swallowed whole by a shark. Apparently these things have very good hand-mouth coordination. Never-the-less, a death I was not expecting.

1:55 hours: There is still one tornado left, and Matt’s helicopter is down and they’re out of bombs. So Fin drives a Hummer filled with more bombs and jumps out just as he pushes the Nos button and the Hummer goes flying into the tornado and blows up. Are we really sure this wasn’t the rejected script for Fast and the Furious 7 Deadly Seas?

But our heroes are not out of the woods yet. Sharks are now falling from the sky, and one is about to crush Claudia. But thankfully -- in possibly the greatest action scene ever -- Fin dives chainsaw first into the mouth of the shark. 

And of course, he saws his way out of the shark with a bloody but alive Nova, who happened to be in the very same shark. Seriously these things need to learn to chew.

So to recap, our survivors are Fin and  April (who do get back together), Nova and Matt (who now also appear to be a couple) and Claudia, who has learned a lesson about being a whiny brat.

Overall, I’d give it a solid B as far as SyFy movies go. There wasn’t nearly as much sharks in tornadoes as I was expecting, but the acting also was not nearly as bad as it should have been. I’m just really looking forward to the inevitable sequel.

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