Chances are, you’ve probably heard of SyFy’s original movie that aired last night called Sharknado. Even before the movie premiered, it was generating a lot of buzz on Twitter and rightly so. The film combines two of America’s favorite things: sharks and disaster movies. Given all the other SyFy movies about sharks–Sharktopus, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, etc–I’m actually surprised that it took them so long to come up with Sharknado. Last night, many Twitter users showed their love by livetweeting Sharknado’s premiere (including myself,) which put the movie on the list of top Trending Topics in the U.S.–something that rarely happens with TV movies. The morning after, media outlets from Buzzfeed to Business Week responded to Sharknado’s surprising social media popularity, though NPR’s Linda Holmes gives the best summary of the movie I’ve seen yet.
For those of you who didn’t watch Sharknado, it’s a B-movie starring Ian Ziering (Steve Sanders from 90210) as a surfer named Fin (I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried,) and Tara Reid (American Pie) as his estranged wife. They’re caught in L.A. during one of the worst–and most confusing–meteorological storms in history. A hurricane floods sections of the city and brings with it a tidal wave of sharks. Later, the hurricane turns into three tornados which suck all sharks out of the water and hurls them through the air. The movie has an explosive ending (side note: there are a lot more explosions than necessary in a movie about flooding, sharks, and tornados.) Sharknado is certainly worth watching for a laugh–or if you want to see why everyone’s talking about it today–and it’s definitely two hours of your life well spent. For me, a movie like this is fantastic because it’s so campy (seriously, the camp levels are off the charts) so I’ve rounded up my favorite moments from Sharknado. (Beware: spoilers ahead.)
“The sharks should be afraid of us.”
Sharknado begins by showing us a little fisherman’s boat out to sea where the French captain is making some sort of black market deal with another man. The storm–already drawing a sea-full of sharks–creeps up on the boat and starts knocking everyone about. The other man looks nervous and says he doesn’t like sharks, to which the captain replies along the lines of: “If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that we shouldn’t be afraid of sharks, the sharks should be afraid of us.” Now, the audience already knows what they’ve gotten themselves into, so everyone watching knew that a lot of people were about to die horrible shark-related deaths. What I love about this is that it’s blatant foreshadowing, but not necessarily for the soon-to-occur shark-havoc. Rather, it foreshadows the ending when, against all odds, the humans battle sharks, as well as mother nature, and come out on top.
“My mom always told me Hollywood would kill me.”
At one point, the gang comes across a school bus stranded in shark infested water and Fin wants to try to save everyone stuck inside. Tara Reid yells at him for caring about everyone except his family and urges Fin to leave all the helpless schoolchildren to die. He doesn’t, of course, and I’m grateful for that because the kids’ teacher has some of the best one liners in the whole movie. While waiting on the roof of the bus to be pulled up to the bridge above, a shark lunges for Fin and the teacher, which prompts him to yell, “I hate sharks! I’m from Wyoming! I moved here to be an actor!” Once he and Fin are safe and the kids have been carted away in a rescue vehicle, the wind picks up and begins knocking over the Hollywood sign. The teacher dodges all the shrapnel and when the trouble seems to be over he says, “My mom always told me Hollywood would kill me.” Then one of the letters of the Hollywood sign crushes him to death, giving us the most ironic and campy moment of the movie.
Multiple References to Jaws
I’m sure it’s entirely possible for a movie about sharks to make it through two hours without a reference to Jaws, which is arguably the film that began America’s love affair with sharks. So yes, Sharknado certainly didn’t need to include any references to Jaws, but I’m glad they did. In the beginning, while sharks are attacking Fin’s bar on the Santa Monica Pier, one of the characters shoves a gas tank into a shark’s mouth and another person shoots it–blatantly ripping off the finale from Steven Spielberg’s shark masterpiece. Since it happened so early in the movie, I figured that was it, but I was happily surprised. In the final battle against the three sharknados plaguing L.A., Fin’s son Matt and Nova (Fin’s employee with a personal vendetta against sharks) are up in a helicopter. When a shark latches on to the helicopter, Nova shouts: “We’re gonna need a bigger chopper!” Thus making the Jaws reference to end all Jaws references.
Science? What science?
When you hear the title of the movie, you should probably understand that even though it’s made by SyFy–a supposed science fiction cable channel–there isn’t going to be too much actual science involved. However, Sharknado goes against everything science has ever proved within the span of two hours. From sharks that can breath outside of water to a hurricane that turns into a tornado, I hope no one was taking science lessons from Sharknado. The best part, however, is the movie’s finale and how our gang of L.A.-ers choose to battle the sharknados: with bombs. Obviously. But it actually works. After a short pseudo lesson about how tornados manifest, Matt and Nova fly a helicopter up and around the sharknados in order to throw a bomb into each one. Supposedly this neutralizes the hot and cold air that created the tornados. Yep, that is actually a thing that happens because of “science.” And if you think it can’t get better than that, just wait.
Hercules vs the Hydra, or: Fin vs the Shark
While up in the air, Nova falls out of the helicopter and is gobbled whole by a shark. Matt proceeds to crash land the chopper before neutralizing the last sharknado and it’s up to Fin to save the day, which he does by driving an SUV loaded with bombs into the center of the last tornado. Without the wind to support them, the sharks begin falling from the sky and one devours Fin just as he is reunited with his family. All seems lost for a moment, but it’s a good thing Fin had his trusty chainsaw with him. He manages to saw his way out of the shark’s stomach and then reaches back in and pulls out an unconscious, but still alive, Nova. I don’t know about anyone else, but I had flashbacks to that scene in Disney’s Hercules where the greek hero pulls the same move with a hydra (except for pulling a girl out behind him of course.) I actually still can’t believe I saw that happen on television. But I did, and it was fantastic.
Well, those were my favorite parts of Sharknado, tell me what you loved about this campy B-movie in the comments!