The Conclusion of the Sharknado Franchise
So the Sharknado film franchise has finally come to an end on Sunday. It’s really the ending of an era. This was a super fun series with a lot of references to other sci-fi (and SyFy) movies, cameos, crazily-choreographed fight scenes with sharks, and continually more complicated chainsaw variants. The franchise also pushed the limit of plausibility with more and more audacious plots, culminating in time travel bringing the franchise back to the literal beginning.
This final installment saw the main cast of Fin (Ian Ziering), April (Tara Reid), Nova (Cassandra Scerbo), Bryan (Judah Friedlander) and Skye (Vivica A. Fox) jumping through time from just before the dinosaurs were wiped out to Arthurian England and Camelot to the American Revolution to the 1950s to the year 20013, and back to the very first moment of the Sharknado films. They had to, at each point in their temporal journey; destroy a Sharknado using the technology of the time. But then they needed to somehow travel at eighty-eight miles per hour so travel to their next destination. Again, there is quite a significant amount of references to other sci-fi films. Each stop along the way gives the audience some interesting cameos, like Darrell Hammond doing his Bill Clinton impression but as George Washington, or Gilbert Gottfried as a reporter on the beach in the 50s as a Sharknado hit.
I enjoyed this film, and I think that is what the goal of everyone involved was. It was certainly hyped up to the extreme and there was a gigantic built-in audience. Like myself, some folks genuinely love these films but others watched for various reasons like being completionists and feeling compelled to watch this one because they watched the others not because they particularly enjoyed them. Other folks watched because they wanted to see where the franchise went next, and how this films would out-crazy the previous installments. But there’s so much more to these movies.
At the convention at Foxwoods Resort Casino, ComiConn, I got the chance to speak with Tara Reid about these films. She told me that with these movies, there are some very unusual challenges. She specifically said that as an actor it’s more difficult to act intentionally poorly. It was enlightening because the common misconception is that the actors in these types of these films are that they simply don’t try very hard. Now we know that isn’t the case- and it’s straight from one the established stars of the franchise. Tara Reid, like many of the other actors in these films, has a pre-established career that did not involve low-budget TV films but rather serious TV dramas and bigger-budget blockbusters. You might remember Vivica A. Fox in not only Kill Bill Vol.1, but also Independence Day, and Ian Ziering from Beverly Hills 90210. Tara Reid was in the very successful American Pie films but also The Big Lebowski, Devil’s Pond, and Alone in the Dark. That’s not even mentioning the veritable cavalcade of cameos from actors from every genre of film and television. Even famed astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse-Tyson appeared in this film as Merlin the Magician!
The point is that while Sharknado might seem far-fetched and nothing but silly fun, it’s really a labor of love and a serious undertaking by the cast and crew. Yes, there are some ridiculous and implausible stories, but that’s why we watch movies; to escape reality. Is it ludicrous to see Fin leap into a shark’s mouth, chainsaw-first and shred his way through and come out unscathed? Yes, of course. But is it entertaining? Of course it is! Writer Thunder Levin and director Anthony C. Ferrante knew that their collaboration was not going to be taken seriously but it was going to be a lot of fun and I honestly believe that they delighted in pushing the limits of sanity on the screen by putting into motion these stark-raving mad series of events. This culminated in a cult following, a rabid fan base and a pop culture phenomenon that has permeated the zeitgeist even with people who haven’t seen any of the films.
Personally, while I’m sort of sad that these films have come to their conclusion, I’m happy that it was wrapped up in the way that it was. At the same time, I’m really looking forward to seeing what Levin and Ferrante do next. I really like what they’ve done- it’s a fresh idea in a time when almost all of the films we’ve been getting are remakes, reboots, and retreads of old ideas. Credit must be given for originality. So it’s a crazy, ridiculous idea and the execution of this was unusual, but it was authentically done and the franchise stayed true to itself throughout. How many franchises can say that? You can’t complain that there’s nothing original anymore and then at the same time complain that these movies are too over the top with their plots and storylines. In reality, Sharknado has done everything the movie-going public has been clamoring for. You can’t please everyone, but Sharknado doesn’t try to. Sharknado doesn’t care what you think. Sharknado is going to be true to itself and doesn’t need your approval. And that’s what draws me to this franchise. If you haven’t, give it a chance. You just might like what you see.