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The strange appeal of Sharknado 2: Review and Analysis

Ian Ziering stars in Sharknado 2: The Second One
Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images

Sharknado 2: The Second One


No one goes into Sharknado 2: The Second One expecting it to be good. No one involved in making it seriously feels that they are making a good film. The writers, writing the damn thing, know they are creating schlok. The director, the producers (The Asylum, notorious Hollywood studio for bad films), the actors all know that the movie is silly, ridiculous, ludicrous and awful. They know that going in, and anyone who watches this movie and thinks they are getting anything but drek has to have their head check.

Someone, somewhere, once sat down and thought, people are fascinated by tornadoes. They are also fascinated by sharks. If we combine them - we'll have cinematic gold.

They were right.

Sharknado came out in July of 2013. It was hilariously bad. It got people talking and it was a huge trending topic on Twitter and it set the level high for badness on Syfy's movie selection arm. Syfy is the one place you can go to see Asylum-produced films. All of them are bad, but that is part of the fun. If you are watching a movie where a giant shark takes a bite out of the Golden Gate Bridge - you are watching an Asylum movie. If you are watching a movie that combines two unlikely animals in the title (Sharktopus, Pteracuda), you are watching an Asylum movie. Do not expect to find any of these things within the film: good acting, good writing, good special effect, coherent plot.

And that is kind of the weird thing we have here with Sharknado. We are new territory.

I am a bit of a connoisseur of bad movies. When I was growing up I watched a local show called Son of Svengoolie that showed bad movies. Then I spent years watching Mystery Science Theater 3000. I have watched many, many bad movies and loved every minute of it.

But there is a vast difference between films like Plan 9 From Outer Space or Manos: The Hands of Fate or Laserblast. When Ed Wood made Plan 9, he really thought he was making a good movie. When Tommy Wiseau made The Room he thought he was making a good movie (despite his current claims he was making a comedy). In each case, the people who made these legendary bad films went in to make a good movie, only have a steaming pile of doo-doo come out the other end. Even the makers of Battlefield Earth thought they were making a modern day Star Wars.

This is not the case with The Asylum and Sharknado. Everyone goes into this film knowing it is going to be awful. So, how does one really rate this film?

While watching the ridiculousness of the movie unfold, laughing the entire time, I was thinking less of films and more of television. In particular, I was thinking of the 1960s Batman TV series. If you have not seen that TV series, by the way, stop what you are doing and go watch it. Its hilarious.

Batman started off grim as hell in the 30s. In his first appearance he hurls a man into a vat of acid and then says, "A fitting end for his kind." But by the 1960s, with the Comics Code gutting everything, the comic book had become silly. So, a silly TV show was made.

Batman is terrible! The special effects are hilarious. The colors are bright, the dialog delivered in a wooden manner and the entire show is so campy it sets up a tent and roasts marshmallows in your living room.

It was a huge hit. It was a smash. It became a thing for celebrities to pop out of windows and do a cameo during those ridiculous scenes that were supposed to show Batman and Robin scaling various Gotham buildings. Sammie Davis, Jr., Jerry Lewis, Dick Clark, Lurch, Art Linkletter, Edward G. Robinson and more all appeared at those windows. Many more celebrities lined up to play villains.

I felt that was what Sharknado 2 was like. It was now a movie where Z-level celebs could make cameos. Kelly Osbourne is the flight attendant. Perez Hilton is on a subway platform. Benjy Bronk from the Howard Stern show is a homeless man carrying a doomsday sign. On and on it went.

Why? Because Sharknado is now a cultural phenomenon. It is not just a bad movie - it a bad movie that people watch.

As for plot, well, it's second verse, same as the first. This time it's in New York. A tornado has sucked up a bunch of sharks who, somehow, continue to live despite whirling around in the air for two hours. The land on people and chomp them. Ian Ziering comes up with a completely ridiculous way to stop the tornadoes. End.

Laughable special effects? Yep. Horrifically bad acting? Yes. Bad dialog? Check. Muddled plot? Yeah. Ridiculous science? Oh yeah.

At the same time, the movie is hilarious. The one problem is that it goes on a bit too long. The jokes get a bit old. You could do this movie in an hour, but then again, the movie was shown with so many commercials the actual movie itself might only be 60 minutes

The end of the film promises Sharknado 3. Where will this one take place? London is next to water. Sydney, Australia, would be fun. It will be more of the same and people will tune in.

Is Sharknado 2 worth seeing? If you know that it's bad and are prepared to take it for the awfulness that it is, yes. If not - go see something else.

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