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'Sharknado': train wreck, cinematic genius or both?

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JULY 18, 2013

“Instead of letting live sharks rain down on people, we’re going to get in that chopper and throw bombs into the tornadoes.”

Nope. Not an Onion- or Cracked-style parody. This is the real deal. Just one of many memorable scenes that make “Sharknado” one of the most laughable, entertaining train wrecks we’ve seen in a while. For those of you who are still anxious to know what we’re referring to, “Sharknado” is Syfy’s newest television movie starring, Chippendale dancer Ian Ziering and “American Pie” star Tara Reid. It’s about, yup, you guessed it, a shark tornado. We know what you’re thinking. Total Oscar bait. If you’re part of the rare breed that watches the Syfy channel to enjoy a program that is reminiscent of actual science, we advise you to turn back now. If you are, however, someone who can appreciate 80 minutes of pure, unadulterated cinematic junk food that defies the laws of biology, meteorology, physics and filmmaking in one fell swoop, you’re in good company.

On its July 11 air date, “Sharknado” immediately swept the Twittersphere, quickly climbing up to trending status as the topic of more than 5,000 tweets per minute. The buzz, you ask? The film’s low-budget production value made it the punch line of thousands of Twitter jokes, even among prominent celebrities. The CGI looks like it was created by a 12-year-old computer nerd messing around with a laptop. The movie is riddled with blatant inconsistencies. For many of the shots, there isn’t even so much as a drop of water on the ground, even though a full-scale hurricane is supposedly consuming all of Los Angeles. With lighting changes in practically every scene, it’s not unreasonable to guess that the artistic philosophy behind the entire thing was “Ooooops. Oh well, we’ll edit this out later.” Yet, perhaps the worst (best) part about “Sharknado” is the innumerable atrocious one-liners and ridiculously implausible plot line. When a pool of blood collects in the water beneath the fearful Southern Californians, for example, one character randomly chimes in, “Looks like it’s that time of the month.” When the tornado is headed inland for Los Angeles, the protagonist’s son decides to be a hero and fly a helicopter into the tornado to break it up with bombs (as if explosives and weather totally work like that). But are we really surprised about the mediocre production of a television movie airing on a Thursday night on the Syfy channel? Not really. It’s been done before. So what makes “Sharknado” so special to us?

The man behind the magic, writer and director Anthony C. Ferrante, explained in an interview that his plan for its success was to follow a simple but failproof recipe combining one part shark and one part natural disaster. It’s brilliant, really, when you think about it. America has spoken: We are inexplicably obsessed with sharks. We at the Clog will be the first to admit that we take part in this madness. And we doubt that we were the only ones who hoped to break hearts in middle school with these shark-themed backpacks or planned a “Shark Week” party with a pretty respectable turnout. In fact, every August, more than 30 million viewers eagerly tune into Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” for an excuse to celebrate these seriously misunderstood, cartilaginous sea dwellers. People also love watching movies about natural disasters. Even when you factor out Jake Gyllenhaal’s piercing blue eyes and boyish charm from the equation, we found it hella entertaining to watch New York City turn into a post-apocalyptic glacier in “The Day After Tomorrow.”

So when you’re feeling like not taking anything very seriously, need a laugh and want to watch an objectively awful movie, “Sharknado” has the official Clog seal (or perhaps shark) of approval. And if you’re up late at night agonizing over HOW IN THE WORLD this piece of cinematic genius will quite possibly be more famous that anything you will ever write or produce, the answer is in! Sharks. Natural disasters. America.

If you missed “Sharknado” the first time around, you’re in luck! The Syfy network has confirmed that it will be giving a special encore presentation of the movie tonight at 7 p.m. EST.

Image Source: Rene Walter under Creative Commons

Contact Liz Zarka at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @Zarkotics.

JULY 18, 2013

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