REVIEW: Oh no! ‘Sharknado 3′ forgot to be funny

24 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Sharknado 3′ somehow scares up 2 billion Twitter impressions.

NEW YORK — The pun is as fitting as it is inevitable, so let’s go ahead and get it out of the way: “Sharknado 3” has definitely jumped the shark.LOS ANGELES — Fearsome sharks rained down once more in the latest “Sharknado” TV movie, but they didn’t create the ratings deluge of last year’s installment.Two years after Syfy’s original B-movie captured the zeitgeist and Twitter’s rapt attention — and a year after its follow-up set network records — No. 3 expectedly proved less formidable of a draw.

More sharks and more celebrity cameos turned up for Syfy’s third installment of its low-budget, over-the-top disaster/horror/sci-fi/comedy franchise “Sharknado,” but that didn’t translate to more viewers.”I can sense these storms now,” says Ian Ziering, reprising his role as chief Sharknado warrior Fin Shepherd. “These sharks have a scent, and it’s a not a pretty one.” It’s not only the scent of sharks that marks Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!. Two years ago, the original “Sharknado” film depicted a weather aberration on the Southern California coast that caused bloodthirsty sharks to cascade on hapless Angelenos.

The original in July 2013 drew a modest 0.4 demo rating and 1.37 million viewers for its premiere, but social media helped turn into a minor cultural phenomenon and a couple of replays actually fared better in the ratings. In SyFy’s third outing for its surprise B-movie behemoth, after two successive years of generating an incredible cult and social-media buzz, the low-budget schlockfest has now graduated into the big league and is almost blockbuster territory. And, considering the social buzz Sharknado 3 still managed to capture, it’s unlikely anyone is rethinking the choice to greenlight No. 4 that was made before the numbers came in. Last Wednesday during the same 9-11 p.m. window, for example, Syfy averaged a 0.3 rating in 18-49 and 888,000 total viewers for a telecast of the 2011 theatrical “The Deep Blue Sea.” Also, “Sharknado 3″ was cable’s No. 1 original program for the night in adults 25-54 (1.0 rating) as well as total viewers, and Syfy was the No. 1-rated cable network from 9 to 11 p.m. in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers.

Syfy reports that the film generated 2 billion Twitter impressions — that’s “billion,” with a “b” — an amount twice as high as that generated by the second Sharknado movie in 2014. Again played by “Beverly Hills, 90210” alum Ian Ziering, he headed to New York for quiet post-sharknado repose with his beloved, April (Tara Reid). Also ramped up to the stratosphere is product placement, with SyFy’s owners NBCUniversal getting a big, big piece of the pie in having much of the movie set at the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando and Universal references appearing about, oh, a billion times. Need more proof the world is ending? “Generating more Twitter activity than every episode of the final season of Mad Men, every episode of this season’s The Bachelor and Hillary Clinton’s presidential announcement, Sharknado 3 trended #1 in the United States and #2 worldwide,” a release boasts.

But an even bigger, badder sharknado storm awaited him in the Big Apple, where he rallied take-no-guff New Yawkers in a feisty counterstrike. “Sharknado 2” was a hilarious treat. However, it’s fair to say that a movie which puts an astronaut Hoff into a space shuttle to save the world, to then come under attack and utter the battle cry “Sharks.

Needless to say, Syfy and schlockmasters The Asylum have announced that they’re teaming up for a fourth Sharknado movie, “expected to make landfall in July 2016.” The fourquel may or may not feature Sharknado staple Tara Reid: Syfy is letting fans decide whether her character will survive into the next movie. After Sharknado and its first sequel took social media by storm to the tune of more than a billion tweets between the two films, Syfy upped the stakes for Wednesday’s Sharknado 3. This sounds epic in theory, but in practice only waters down the action, with Washington quickly left in ruins before the mayhem shifts to South Florida and points in between. The annual summer camp-fest ended with a piece of space shuttle wreckage hurtling toward April Shepard (Tara Reid) before cutting abruptly to black, after which a phrase is plastered on the screen: You decide if #AprilLives or #AprilDies.

Perhaps the most clever touch lampoons the through-the-gun-barrel point-of-view with which every James Bond film begins (though here, it’s through the gaping jaws of a shark), but that gag is over in the film’s opening seconds. From then on, the plot is briefly summarised as thus: Fin Shepherd (Ziering) is getting a bravery award at the White House when it comes under attack. Frankie Muniz is on hand, trying for and failing at a comeback. (He used to be so CUTE!) Other semi-bold-face names include Bo Derek, David Hasselhoff, Penn Jillette and Teller, Lou Ferrigno, and former Congressman Anthony Weiner, far less conspicuous here than he used to be on Twitter. Ferrante was passionate about was having it all end on the beach in this wonderful family moment where they all hold hands, look up at the sky, Fin salutes his dad, and then we fade out. The biggest shortcoming: The film and its story seem to have been cobbled together not to entertain the audience, but to serve the varied interests of Syfy owner Comcast as a multi-pronged marketing assault.

It’s a satisfying ending that doesn’t go on.” I wanted to take a page out of some of the classic television stunts that have been done and contemporize them. More brazenly, the film spends lots of time in a certain Florida theme park owned by NBC Universal, which results in “Sharknado 3” serving less as a comedy than as a travelogue for Universal Studios Orlando. Unlike the first “Sharknado” film, which attacked without warning, and the second, an instant campy classic, this third outing is being hyped as a major television event.

As usual, there’s a wonderfully surprising array of cameos including Lou Ferrigno, Jackie Collins, Jerry Springer, Penn & Teller, Michele Bachmann and Jedward. And the tables are turned on Games of Thrones creator George R R Martin and his grisly storylines, after he gets decapitated while watching a movie called Shark Wedding. The latter reflects an abundance of movie references throughout: there’s Star Wars, Armageddon, Top Gun, Days of Thunder, and every movie which featured a cheering NASA control room. It’s in space where the dialogue gets particularly overridden with clunky Hollywood-y “Go USA”-isms, with talk of being heroes, living your dreams and so on.

This breaks the rules by taking away the audience’s control of their own social-media buzz, instead forcing it on them through heavy-handed marketing in a move which could backfire. It’s still brilliant fun, but moving from an authentic cult schlockfest owned by fans to a money laden, money-grabbing schlockbuster isn’t a comfortable fit. The Malcolm in the Middle star, in a cameo as Nova’s sidekick, manages to reach a missile detonator despite having all his limbs chomped off by sharks, and to press the button.

I mean, c’mon: if she can give birth in space in a f—ing spacesuit, only to have the baby emerge from a shark … (Laughs.) You really have to have a huge leash for creativity and imagination as a viewer to think that you’ve seen the end of April Shepard. If the fans and everyone decide that April’s meant to survive, then that’s what’s meant to happen, and if it goes the other way, I’m a survivor, and I’ll keep on doing great things. Cast as a burly White House security guard, the former Hulk asks Fin for a selfie. “Say Sharknado!”, he says, adding, “You don’t mind if I post it, do you? Photo: Julia Brokaw Musician Ryan Adams berated a “most disrespectful” audience at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre when concert-goers persisted in taking flash photography – even after he explained it triggered a genetic illness that made him dizzy and sick.

The American rocker and alternative country balladeer suffers from Meniere’s disease, an inner-ear disorder that can upset balance and cause tinnitus, vertigo, dizziness and vomiting. But on Thursday night, while playing to a full house with his band, the Shining, Adams initially advised one woman in the audience that the infra-red light from her phone camera was disturbing him. It was an echo of Adams’ reaction to a flash-photograph at Philadelphia’s Tower Theatre last November, when he stopped singing mid-way through one of his most crowd-pleasing ballads, Oh My Sweet Carolina.

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