Monday, August 4, 2014

Review: Sharknado 2: The Next One

I've never really been able to appreciate the argument that I hate a bad movie because of the following reasons:

1)  "You're over-thinking it."

2)  "You're just supposed to turn off your brain and enjoy it."

3)  "It's just supposed to be entertaining, not make you think."

First off, I'm pretty sure people can't turn off their brain, not without looking into drugs or more extreme measures.  You might be able to suspend disbelief or find something to focus on and ignore other aspects, but simply "turning off your brain" means you're supposed to ignore anything that might bother you about a bad film.

The story line didn't make any sense and jumped around a lot?  You're over-thinking it because why would you possibly care about the stories when the goal is to enjoy the same amount of spectacle as having some cut-out photos from Men's Health and Maxim stuck on popsicle sticks being jerked around in front of a strobe light while loud music and explosions rock the background?  Or in the case of Transformers, plastic toys being smashed together in front of a giant lens flare like a small child was seeing how long it takes them to break?

There are some wonderfully terrible movies that still try to make sense, they just have a lot of things go wrong.  Others simply write a few clever scenes and then give up trying to connect them.

And then there's movies like Sharknado 2: The Next One.  Does the plot make any sense?  Nope.  Is the acting good?  God, no.

Did I enjoy it?  After a while, I really did, but in the same sense that I'd enjoy Space Mutiny or Starcrash.  You have a group of actors all looking at the film as one thing (spoiler alert: a paycheck), and bless them they're trying their hardest to make the best of bad material, but all you can really do is laugh because the writers must have sat around a room saying "Okay, so next we have this happen, and that's ridiculous, but how do we bump it up to ludicrous?"

I can't really spoil the plot because it's all wrapped up there in the title.  A storm that flings around sharks hits New York, and only Ian Ziering and Tara Reid can save the day because nobody thought to make a disaster plan after it happened once before.

Oh, and there's some new people, because we need more people to be killed.  For example, there's Ian Ziering's sister's family, an ex-girlfriend of his from...high school?  College?  I'm not sure.  Anyway, there's his sister's two best friends, and another friend of his and his sister's husband.  Oh, and he and his sister's husband used to be best friends but stopped after he hooked up with his little sister, so there's some family drama going on.

Now, either I'm just too much of a wuss for the sharknado apocalypse, but it amazes me how little people care about everyone who dies.  Friends and loved ones get bumped off left and right in front of adults and teenagers, and by the next scene they've completely forgotten that character existed.  "Oh, god, we'll miss what's his name."

There are things that make absolutely no sense about this film, such as that a major Manhattan hotel floods because water came down the elevator shaft from....somewhere?  There's multiple tornadoes swirling around but any time there's a long distance shot the sky is just slightly overcast.  People casually walk the streets even though it's raining sharks.  The Statue of Liberty's head rolls 50 blocks (and makes several turns) in order to chase a group of women.  At one point a weather announcer states it's raining sharks at a rate of "two inches per hour."

How do you even measure something like that?

Yet, there's also a lot of really intelligent humor in it as well.  For instance, the pilot of an airplane that passes through the shark-filled storm is none other than Robert Hayes, who you might remember as the pilot of a plane in Airplane!  There's also Judd Hirsch driving a cab, an obvious allusion to his time on the TV series Taxi.

You also get a lot of deaths of people that it's nice to know are in on the joke.  Perez Hilton, for instance.

Some cameos just don't make sense, though, such as having Billy Ray Cyrus be a doctor, Andy Dick be a cop, or Kelly Osborne (complete with weird hair) as a flight attendant.

But again, it's all about the ridiculous.  Where else can you say you saw Matt Lauer and Al Roker stab a shark to death with an umbrella?

Or have Richard Kind smack a shark with a baseball bat for a home run?

Or have Ian Ziering surf a shark down from the storm a'la Batman and Robin if it had sharks instead of Mr. Freeze?

Oh, and he impales it on the Empire State Building because of course he does.

I'll freely admit, I was ready to jump ship after the first fifteen minutes because it felt like it was dragging.  But at a certain point, I got into the spirit of the film, and found myself laughing while pointing out its flaws to everybody else in the room (read: nobody).  The makers of this movie knew what people wanted, and they were ready to give it to them.

I look forward to when Rifftrax gets the rights to work it over in theaters, but at least now I can say, "yeah, I saw it when it was a thing."

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