Review: ‘Sharknado 3’ is the worst, and the best

22 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Sharknado 3’ Star Ian Ziering on Acting Naturally “When the Shark Hits the Fan”.

“I can definitely see this happening. The third installment of Syfy’s campy summer franchise “Sharknado” makes landfall on TV screens tomorrow night and promises to up the ante of the first two in a few different ways.Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times was impressed by the finale. “The ending of ‘Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!’ on Wednesday night will not break the Internet.

Thanks to Syfy’s summer Twitter sensation Sharknado, the Beverly Hills, 90210, alum has evolved into an action hero as Fin Shepard, a man whose focus is always on his family, even when he’s fending off flying sharks. Ever since the first “Sharknado” TV movie became a freak sensation in 2013 — mainly because of social media-fueled “Can-you-believe-how-bad-this-is?” chatter – being terrible is what the proudly low-rent, deliberately silly franchise is all about.

Last year’s first sequel to ‘Sharknado’ was kind of meh, but ‘S3’ cranks up the absurdity level to hilarious proportions.” Colleagues roared their delight at astonishing sequences set at Universal Orlando Resort, but the movie goes into overdrive late by giving mighty unusual scenes to stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. These movies are rated awesome, and they’re not intended for overthinkers, so when I first approached this script, I didn’t know the rating and I overthought it, and I was averse to doing it.

But “Sharknado 3” is so tediously lamebrained, it makes the original, and last summer’s “Sharkado 2: The Second One,” look like “Jaws.” By this stage, the joke is beyond played-out. Jason Lynch of Adweek blasted the movie’s tie-ins for parent company Comcast and its properties: “Syfy has essentially assembled two hours of branded content for its parent company, added some fake sharks and gore, and called it ‘Sharknado 3.’ Given all of its screen time, Universal Studios Florida should rightfully receive top billing over Ziering and Reid.” He adds: “The film spends lots of time in a certain Florida theme park owned by NBCUniversal, which results in ‘Sharknado 3’ serving less as a comedy than as a travelogue for Universal Studios Orlando. Last year’s “Sharknado 2” was a bonafide hit, making it the biggest Syfy original movie in the channel’s history, as well as creating a social-media storm in the process – roughly a billion Twitter impressions were created that night, according to SyFy. “Our success is generated by the audience, who propel us into the ranks of ‘James Bond’ and ‘Mission Impossible’ through social media,” Ziering says. “The clamoring for ‘Sharknado 3′ was immediate.” Ian Ziering: It completely embodies what’s going on in the third movie because all hell breaks loose within the first minute of the film. And it’s not that I didn’t “get it” – tornadoes sucking up sharks and spewing them across urban landscapes is pretty easy to “get.” It just wasn’t doing much for me.

The film even jams in a NASCAR event, with which Comcast has a sponsorship deal.” The cameo list is longer than usual, too, and features Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford, Kim Richards, Lorenzo Lamas, Bill Engvall, Ann Coulter, Mark Cuban, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Chris Jericho, Chris Kirkpatrick, Harvey Levin, Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson, Jackie Collins, Jerry Springer, Lou Ferrigno, Mark McGrath, Michele Bachmann, Anthony Weiner, Ne-Yo, Penn and Teller, Rick Fox and Frankie Muniz. It is as if the most talented guys at Google’s brain trust had decided to stop working on the self-driving car and turn all their attention on Frankensteining the worst disaster movies of all time.

From there, after all shark has hit the fan, it becomes a road-trip movie where Fin heads south to protect his wife and daughter from the sharknado that’s descending on Orlando. Then the movie was shown on a big screen – actually, not a screen per se, but the side of a building – around the pool at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

Tara Reid: We can’t wait to read them, because we’re like, “Where are they gonna go with this?” And you read them and it’s like, “They did it again.” IZ: In “Sharknado 2,” when I read that script I thought, “This is a $100 million blockbuster.” But knowing these budgets are fractions of what they spend on major motion pictures, I just had to have faith that they were going to accomplish what they set out to. It’s a huge impossibility — Mother Nature says this could never happen — but with a little bit of popcorn and some friends, you’re able to suspend disbelief and enjoy the movie. It’s almost like it’s its own genre, where everybody’s in on the joke except the actors within the movie! (Laughs.) I love the fact that this movie is grounded in family. The product placements come with all the subtlety of a fish sinking in its fangs, including a shark smashing into an Xfinity sign (NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation), and a prominently displayed Subway billboard.

And from there, that’s when the shark hits the fan. (Laughs.) He’s thrust into these situations that really turn him into a fish-out-of-water type of action hero. As the story opens, Ziering is a hero for saving New York and is given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by president and real-life billionaire Mark Cuban. I’m sure it’s second-nature for you now, but when you started out in the Sharknado franchise, was it difficult for you to avoid winking at the material, so to speak? Anytime I see one of these type movies, anytime I feel that the actor falls out of character, where they’re thinking they’re too good for the material, it all falls apart for me. While the chainsaw is the go-to weapon, we have expanded the arsenal to contain other lethal instruments that really make the story more layered and interesting.

Sharknado 3 also features Mark Cuban and Ann Coulter as the president and first lady of the United States; Frankie Munoz as Nova’s friend and mechanic Lucas; Bo Derek as April’s mother May; and David Hasselhoff as Fin’s father Gil. The movie itself is one long and brilliant product placement for corporate owners NBC, from the location shooting of NBC-owned Universal Studios in Orlando to the prominence of the Today Show cast. “We are going to have to call this the Feast Coast,” yuks up weather guy Al Roker.

After [director] Anthony Ferrante was done with his directions with everyone and was ready to do the scene, I just wanted to impress upon the newbies that it was important to keep the stakes and not to let the wind out of the sails, basically saying, “There are sharks, and they are coming for you. For me, it was seeing Real Housewives of Beverly Hills villain Kim Richards (and aunt of Paris Hilton) meet a fellow shark she couldn’t bully into submission with her boozy ranting.

That can be a little exhausting when you’re watching alone, but if you’re watching with a group of people, there can be something intoxicating about the repeated “stutter-stops.” And, then, unavoidably, comes a plea for viewer participation on social media, followed by an assurance more horrifying than anything we’ve seen so far –- yes, there will be a “Sharknado 4.”

I mean, we shoot these movies so quickly that, quite often, we’ll even shoot the rehearsals, because when people show up on set, there’s no time to really workshop scenes. Over my career – certainly “90210” stands out as something that put me on the map – but there were other projects that were targeted to other demographics. So I got little girls saying, “Oh my God, it’s McKenna’s dad!” I got grandmas coming up to me from “Dancing With the Stars” saying, “Oh, you shoulda won!” “Sharknado” has a very wild demographic. He lets a lot of self-deprecating humor fly, which takes the curse off of any missteps he may have had in the past, and you just can’t help but love the guy.

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