Abandon all hope, and logical thought, going into Sharknado 2: The Second One.
Less of a follow-up to last year’s Sharknado than the same movie set in a new city, Sharknado 2 shamelessly ratchets up the schlock factor with more catastrophic doomsday scenarios, more celebrity appearances and, naturally, more sharks.
Many, many more sharks.
The original Sharknado, which told the fantastic story of a funnel cloud of vicious sharks descending on the California coast, was completely ridiculous yet vaguely earnest.
Buoyed by the first film’s freakish (and no doubt unexpected) success, Sharknado 2 has a more substantial budget and throws any restraint or adherence to accepted cinematic storytelling out the window in a mad rush to cash in on its own absurdity.
When you witness Kelly Osbourne, playing a nattering flight attendant, get chomped in half by an airborne shark before the opening titles roll, you know it’s going to be a bumpy ride. But the catch: Much like fast food or reality television, Sharknado 2 is virtually review-proof since it fairly wallows in its own awfulness. Instead, let’s consider five valuable life lessons that could be useful in the event of a real shark-pocalypse.
If the Sharknado ever happens, keep your distance from Ian Ziering
For reasons never fully explained, the Sharknado seems doggedly intent on following the former Beverly Hills, 90210 star, who reprises his role of fearless shark-slayer Fin Shepard in the sequel.
Bizarrely, the Sharknado manages to pinpoint the exact location of Fin and his ex-wife April, played by Tara Reid, on board a flight to New York in the film’s opening frames. Then the Sharknado goes after Fin again at a Mets game. And again atop a Big Apple skyscraper. But there’s not a hint of explanation as to why the Sharknado hates Ziering so much. Reid, sure, but the guy who played Steve Sanders on 90210? It just makes no sense.
When the Sharknado happens, there will be work for B-list celebrities
Heightening the cheese quotient of Sharknado 2 is the steady succession of semi-famous people. Beyond the aforementioned Osbourne, Sharknado 2 boasts campy guest turns from Andy Dick, Billy Ray Cyrus, Robert Hays (of Airplane! renown) and Robert Klein.
Former Taxi fixture Judd Hirsch also shows up as a New York cabbie but only gets off a few lines before he’s ingested by a ravenous shark. He needs a new agent.
The Sharknado requires a perfect storm of corporate synergy
If a mega-media company is going to make a movie about man-gobbling sharks, it might as well promote as many of its broadcast outlets as possible.
Hence, Sharknado 2 makes repeated use of NBC’s Today show (both SyFy and NBC are NBC-Universal properties) to roll out the story of a shark storm descending on New York.
The problem is the concept is worked to death. It’s cute the first time we see Today anchors Matt Lauer and Al Roker babbling on air about the shark-storm bearing down on the Big Apple. “This is a twister with teeth!” enthuses Roker. But by their sixth appearance, the joke gets old, particularly when Lauer starts killing sharks that dared invade his studio. We get it already.
It’s better for the Sharknado to look big than look real
By current standards, the computer-generated effects of Sharknado 2 look cheap and fake, which was presumably the draw of the first film.
Foremost, the Sharknado itself – a localized, whirling waterspout of flailing, flopping sharks – appears to be the same CGI graphic stuck on a revolving loop and occasionally shifted to a different backdrop.
Every so often a man-eater breaks from the pack to devour some unlucky victim and the close-up shots do the story no favours. The mechanical shark of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws looked more realistic and that movie came out in 1975.
At times, the low-rent effects are laughable. When the Sharknado decapitates the Statue of Liberty, the head rolls along the streets of New York, and even makes left and right turns, to chase a group of hapless humans.
The tech low-point of Sharknado 2: The moment when a tiny shark bursts through the chest of an actor portraying Toronto mayor Rob Ford midway through his press conference in support of New York Sharknado victims. (The Ford scene was filmed for Space and is not included in the U.S. broadcast version).
The arrival of Sharknado 3 is inevitable
It’s not giving too much away to reveal Ziering’s character is swallowed whole by a shark in Sharknado 2, yet survives intact to declare with manly bravado, “I’ve been eaten. I’m here to tell you it takes a lot more than that to bring a good man down.”
The only question: With L.A. and New York already covered, where will Sharknado 3 take place? Dare we get our hopes up for a Canadian version?