Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sharknado 5: Global Swarming - #MakeSharknadoGreatAgain

This year, Syfy continues its annual tradition of airing another installment in the Sharknado franchise. While the first three enjoyably reveled in the depths of absurdity, the fourth one is when the series began to outstay its welcome, with a plot that stretched suspension of disbelief too thin even for a Sharknado movie and cameos from increasingly lower-tier celebrities. This trend continues with Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, which wasn’t “so bad, it’s good” so much as it was just straight up bad.

An undisclosed amount of time after the events of Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) and his family are summoned to London to speak with NATO about the Sharknados. Almost as soon as he arrives, Fin is contacted by Nova (Cassie Scerbo) and asked to explore a passage underneath Stonehenge to look for an ancient artifact that may be connected with the Sharknados. After a sequence ripped straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Fin and Nova retrieve the artifact, which triggers a collapse that sinks Stonehenge before summoning a Sharknado that devastates part of London. As Fin battles the Sharknado, his son, Gil (Billy Barratt), who is wearing a helmet that protects him from sharks and severe weather, becomes trapped in the storm and vanishes along with it. With Nova’s help, Fin and his wife, April (Tara Reid), follow the chaotic storm around the world in an attempt to rescue their son and prevent the Sharknado from growing stronger.

The story is painful to watch, as it not only starts with the protagonists unwittingly creating the initial Sharknado, it also relies on poor logic to move itself forward. There are a lot of inexplicable conveniences made solely to protect Fin from dying, such as the Sidney Opera House transforming into a battle station, or give him additional power, such as the Pope (Fabio) giving him a super powerful chainsaw. When the protagonists are given the solution, they don’t use it and instead opt for one which involves a severe anachronism and there is a subplot where someone steals the artifact (for no discernable reason) that only exists to create unnecessary drama. This concludes with an ending that, while surprisingly dark, rips off another famous movie and somehow manages to set up a sixth installment. It’s also hard to care about any of the characters during the movie, as it’s painfully obvious that Fin is going to survive the whole ordeal and that nearly anyone else who shows up is most likely going to get squashed or eaten by a random shark.

On top of the painful story, there are the obligatory cameos from mostly lower-tier celebrities. While any of the cameos are subjective in their enjoyment, I personally liked the cameo by Tony Hawk, especially since he is one of the few who isn’t directly killed by a shark. There are also more appearances by real-life news anchors, who seemed to trade some of their dignity for a chance to report on the chaotic Sharknado devastating the globe. In spite of anyone’s ability, however, just about everyone still falls under the plague of stiff and wooden acting that permeates the film as a whole.

On a technical level, it’s a given that the CGI is terrible and the special effects are incredibly fake-looking. In the case of Sharknado 5, there is possibly an overabundance of special effects, even for a Sharknado movie, which adds to the feeling of a completely unbelievable story, even by Sharknado standards. The only notable music is a reappearance of the official theme song at the beginning, coupled with animated footage referencing famous movies and the “Left Shark” internet meme.

Sharknado 5: Global Swarming is simply a bad movie. With a dumb and unbelievable plot line, bad acting, forced references and horrendously bad special effects, it’s hard to recommend this to anyone apart from the diehard fans. We’ll likely still watch Sharknado 6, teased during the ending, but more out of obligation, as the setup gives the impression that the writers have completely run out of ideas. Only time will tell if a franchise that already jumped the shark can possibly recapture what made the first one so enjoyable.

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