Monday, July 22, 2013

Watching Sharknado

Apparently the Syfy Channel's executives decided some years ago that instead of trying to make good films, they should deliberately make bad ones that viewers can enjoy "ironically," likely on the grounds that this is easier and cheaper, with the tendency epitomized by the movies made for the channel by notorious "mockbuster"-maker The Asylym. Their most characteristic formula is the combination of a B-movie plot (typically involving monster attacks, natural disasters or a combination of the two), an enthusiastic seizure on the hokiest situations to which their premises can lead, and movie and TV stars who have left their fans wondering "What ever happened to them?"

Of course, great bad movies are generally not planned in this manner. Megashark Versus Octopus (2009), which led to not just a direct sequel (2010's Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus), but numerous imitations (like 2010's Mega Piranha, and 2011's Mega Python Versus Gatoroid), is certainly a bad movie, but not entertainingly bad in the manner of, for instance, Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002).1 In fact, I usually find the effect of these films rather forced, with Sharknado no exception, down to Ian Zeiring's leaping through the mouth of a flying shark with chainsaw in hand.2 Still, the movie became something of an Internet sensation, helped along by some unlikely tweets (most notoriously, a picture Mia Farrow posted of herself with novelist Philip Roth supposedly watching the film together). The result is that we can now expect Sharknado 2, with the action moved from Los Angeles to New York, and the channel inviting viewers to send in their ideas.

1. As you might guess, watching the film I expected that John Barrowman would remain forever obscure. Of course, that wasn't the case.
2. Indeed, the combination of an aquatic natural disaster with a shark attack on the coast of Southern California was previously attempted with 2009's Malibu Shark Attack, starring Peta Wilson (of La Femme Nikita fame). However, that film--a production of RHI's comparatively serious "Maneater" series--does not wallow in its own stupidity to the degree that Sharknado does.

My Posts on the Syfy Channel
12/20/12
My Posts on Postmodernism
11/21/13

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