Wednesday, 7 August 2013

We're gonna need a bigger helicopter

I don't often do film or TV criticism on these pages - I've reserved that for Wonderlance in the past - but every now and then, a film comes along which completely redefines the boundaries of filmmaking. Sharknado is not one of those films. It does, though, warrant comment here.

For those among you not sufficiently down with the kids to be in on the 'nado phenomenon, it's a made-for-SyFy Channel film about sharks deposited in the streets of Los Angeles. By a tornado. But enough of the plot - I don't want to confuse you. Here was a film which combined the prodigious talents of actors formerly from, among other gems, Beverly Hills 90210 and Saved by the Bell with the sort of special effects budget which the likes of ILM can only have nightmares about. 

The result was both utterly magnificent - a modern-day Plan 9 from Outer Space - and extremely knowing at the same time. Lifting shark-death method and chunks of dialogue from Jaws, including a riff on Quint's legendary USS Indianapolis speech ("So, six people went into the water, and one little girl came out. Sharks took the rest."), it's all too aware of what it is. The tagline alone is enough to tell you that - 'Sharknado', the poster reads. 'Enough said.' Definitely - this is a film with its balls hanging right out, and it ain't afraid of how cheap and funny-looking they are. In fact it knows that's why you're staring.

It became something of an internet sensation after it debuted in the US, so its showing here was keenly anticipated by fans of a certain genre - bad films. So successful has it been that SyFy have already announced a sequel, to come out just next year, set in New York. Enough said.