Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

TV Movie Review: Sharknado 3 – Oh Hell No! (TV14 - 88 minutes)

If for some reason you are unfamiliar with the SyFy Channel’s creature features, let me try to sum them up quickly.  Essentially they take some large insane creature and it terrorizes a bunch of B-level celebrities.  That’s about it.  A sharknado – again, in case you are unfamiliar, is exactly what it sounds like: a tornado filled with sharks.  This presents several problems – sharks are flying through the air chomping, and occasionally fall to the ground, also chomping.

Sharknado was supposed to be just another one of SyFy’s terribly entertaining Saturday night creature features, but for some reason, it struck a chord with audiences, and became the first of their movies that people went crazy for online – the Twitter feeds were filled with Sharknado joy, including many celebrity fans.  Since that was the case – it became much more of an event than their normal fare. 

In Sharknado (tagline: “enough said!” - you can Netflix or Amazon it), Fin Sheppard (yes, his name is Fin) is an ex-surfer running a bar on the beach in L.A.  Global Warming has caused a huge shark swarm, and on top of that – a big-time hurricane. This results in three tornadoes that pick up the sharks and then hit downtown L.A.  The science is sound.  Fin has to rescue his ex-wife April, along with his kids Matt and Claudia with the help of his bartender, Nova – who has a legendary hatred of sharks.  They defeat them by dropping bombs from a helicopter to disrupt the tornados – the science is sound.

The first one was such a hit that the second one was immediately greenlit, and celebrities started clamoring for cameo appearances.  Fin and April have reconciled and are heading to New York for a book signing for the book April wrote (How To Survive A Sharknado – and Other Unnatural Disasters – which is an actual book you can buy).  While there, two sharknadoes come inland and run into one another – causing a giant sharknado that destroys half the city.  This time, Fin’s high school sweetheart helps him by sacrificing herself to freeze the tornado, disrupting the air flow.  The science is sound.  Fin and April decide to get remarried, even though April loses a hand.

The third one begins with a James Bond style opening as Fin is running through Washington D.C.  Apparently, he’s in a hurry to get to the White House where he is about to be given an award by the President.  Once there, a sharknado hits – and chaos ensues.  Fin and April help save the President and the Vice President; then the opening credits roll.  That’s right, this one has a cold open – and it’s fantastic. 

We then learn that Fin and a very pregnant April are taking Claudia (Matt is in the military) to Universal Studios Florida along with April’s mother, May, for a vacation.  Claudia, April and May are already there, and Fin is coming down the coast to meet them.  He runs into a Sharknado near Charleston (of course he does), and there also runs into Nova again – who has partnered with her friend Lucas and are now Sharknado storm chasers (of course they are).  They offer to drive Fin to Orlando, but only make it as far as the military base in Charleston, where Lucas doesn’t make it – but Nova and Fin head down to Orlando in a jet as the sharknado destroys the base. 

Upon their arrival in Orlando, they bail out of the plane, and end up in their underwear in the lake at Universal Studios – just as a massive Sharknado is hitting the park, of course it is.  It has already disrupted a Nascar event by causing a crash and dropping sharks on attendees.  Of course, April and May are in danger, but Claudia is hanging out with a boy she met - Billy.  There’s a whole sequence where a shark ends up on a roller coaster – because why not.  

One also crashes into the Twister effects show, as well as a 3D movie called Shark Wedding – which is called that because of the celebrity who gets eaten in the audience of that movie.  They take refuge inside the Universal Studios Globe, which gets tossed around the park. 

They realize the whole east coast is covered in a “wall of sharknadoes” because of the increasing frequency and size of these storms.  Nova’s friend Lucas had a plan to disrupt the mass storm by using incredible heat.  Fin decides to call his dad, Colonel Gil Sheppard (yes, his name is Gil), because he works for NASA – to launch a shuttle, then use the fuel tanks to create an atmospheric explosion big enough to disrupt the storm.  Gil takes them to a secret NASA base to launch a secret NASA shuttle – he and Fin go up (in the lowest budget space suits you have ever seen), but April comes running out to stop Fin (she has a problem with his hero complex), and a sharknado hits and removes the bridge, so of course, she has to go too, which apparently is fine for really pregnant ladies with one hand. 

They head up to space, drop the fuel tanks to cause the explosion – but it’s not big enough, so – Gil contacts a secret French associate and they head to space laser to fire that back at the storm on earth.  Gil goes out into space to fire the laser – which disrupts the storm - which somehow launches some sharks into space – which then destroy the shuttle.  April gets swallowed whole by a huge space shark so of course Fin dives into said shark.

This shark then falls back to earth, and not only makes it through re-entry – but Fin is able to stick his parachute through it so that they have a gentle enough landing to not die.  

Fin crawls out, and turns back to the shark to look for April (this parallels the end of the first movie where he pulled Nova out of a shark), and April shoves his newborn baby out of the shark before exiting herself.  You heard me right.  She gave birth to their baby in the belly of a giant shark as it fell back to earth from space.  FROM SPACE!  Let me just repeat that sentence, because it’s one you may never hear again.  She gave birth to their baby in the belly of a giant shark as it fell back to earth from space.  I want to say the science is sound – but honestly, that one might be pushing it just a bit.
They reunite with their loved ones who are left over as tons of sharks and space debris fall around them, and just as April appears to about to be killed by falling debris, the screen goes dark, and the audience is invited to tweet either #AprilLives or #AprilDies with the result being part of Sharknado 4.  So the audience gets to choose.  I tweeted #AprilLives, because honestly, if she made it through giving birth to a baby in the belly of a falling shark – there’s no way she should be killed by falling debris.

As with the previous two Sharknado movies, the third entry is written by Thunder Levin (yes, his name is Thunder) and directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, it does feature the same Sharknado theme song, which is very catchy.   It’s absolutely terrible, has the worst special effects – and seems to have no costuming budget at all.  But honestly, all of that works more in its favor than against it.  It’s supposed to be just awful, that’s the point.  Again – this one is filled with tons of cameos, and returning central cast.

  • Once again, the best part of this movie is Ian Ziering as Fin Sheppard.  Ziering plays Sheppard with such over-the-top commitment that he just sets the tone for everything else around him.  He’s so completely into it that you can’t help but get sucked in.  Ziering is well aware that this franchise has made him relevant again and is more than happy to continue chasing fake sharks with chainsaws.  After all, as he says, “This movie is doing something that it doesn’t know it’s not supposed to do”.

  • Tara Reid plays April again – and honestly, she was a little bit better in this one than the others.  She’s still a terrible actress, and looks half asleep most of the time, but at least in this one she seemed to be in on the joke.

  • Cassie Scerbo returns as Nova for this one having sat out the second.  I enjoyed her transformation from shark-hating bartender in the first movie to shark-hating sharknado chaser in this one.  She has a whole outfit and a really geared up RV that she uses.  And she still really hates sharks.

  • Frankie Muniz plays Nova’s friend Lucas – who seems to be in love with her, but she’s still holding a bit of a torch for Fin.  He’s the guy who figures out what they will need to finish off the mega sharknado storm, but unfortunately, he loses a leg, then an arm, then the other arm while trying to help Nova and Fin out.

  • Ryan Newman plays Claudia Sheppard – and this is a completely different actress than in the first movie – which they cover in this one by having multiple people tell her how much they like how she “changed her hair” – which is pretty hilarious.  It’s clearly done tongue-in-cheek style, they know it’s obvious it’s a different girl.  Newman is better than the first one, she’s way more involved, and doesn’t hesitate to pick up a weapon to battle the sharks.

  • David Hasslehoff joins the nonsense as Gil Sheppard.  He’s exactly what you expect, but since most of his scenes are with Ziering, it’s great that he has the same level of over-commitment that Ziering has.  Also – the super-cheesy end of him sacrificing himself to save everyone, then standing alone on the moon (they weren’t really that close to the moon) saluting the earth (as Fin salutes the moon from the earth) is just ridiculous – I laughed out loud at the one.

  • Mark Cuban plays the president.  He also says the line, “they used to call me a shark”. 

  • Bo Derek – who is actually a big time anti-shark finning activist and ocean conservationist, plays April’s mother May.  She spends a lot of time in Universal Studios being over protective, and not liking Fin.

  • Jack Griffo plays Claudia’s new love interest, Billy.  Don’t get too attached to Billy.

  • From that point on, everything else is really cameos, and man, there are almost too many to mention.  Ne-Yo plays a secret service agent, Chris Jericho plays Bruce the Roller Coaster Attendant, Ann Coulter plays the Vice President, Grant Imahara plays Lodge, Bill Engvall, Lou Ferrigno and Rick Fox play Secret Service Agents,  Anthony Weiner plays the NASA director, Tim Russ plays General Gottleib, Jerry Springer, Ray J, Penn and Teller, Brad Keselowski, Kendra Wilinson, Holly Madison, Jackie Collins, Harvey Levin, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Chad Johnson (Ochocinco) all show up.  There’s actually more than that, but my goodness, it’s just too many to list.  And every single one of them seems to be having an absolute blast.

Listen, it’s complete and total nonsense.  But you knew that going in – that was the point.  I will recommend the podcast How Did This Get Made if you aren’t already listening to it (find it at http://www.EarWolf.com) .  They have done the previous two Sharknado movies and will be releasing an episode on this one.  The acting is terrible, the costuming is laughable, and the effects are some of the worst I have seen.  All that being what it is – the movie is still one of the most enjoyable things you can watch.  Give it a shot, but be sure to turn your brain off at the door – remember, the science is sound.  For anyone who tries to point out otherwise, knunch them (remember, that’s the combined knee and punch that takes some coordination to pull off).

10 out of 10 – Gained points for the cameos – really, gained all the points for the cameos.  Lost points for the space-suits (were those football pads?), but then gained points for the random underwear shot when Fin and Nova ended up in the water (where did their clothes go? That doesn’t even make sense!).

Bonus Video 1:  Sharktopus is my absolute favorite of the SyFy creatures - and this year it's back, and taking on a whalewolf with Casper Van Dien!  

Bonus Video 2: The trailer for Lavalantula, which premieres this Saturday night (7/25/15).

Bonus Video 3: Cast Interviews

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