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Thursday
Aug152013

THE FEVER DREAM THAT IS SHARKNADO

Mankind’s first sharks-in-a-tornado film, Sharknado, has a confirmed Australian cinema release. An internet sensation reflecting the hysteria that the Snakes on a Plane marketing team only ever dreamt of, Anthony C Ferrante’s basic-cable network feature debut (!) has entered the pop-culture subconscious. But, as reflected upon by SCREEN-SPACE below (yes, we sat through its recent pay-TV premiere so that you didn’t have to)….well, it’s a little bit silly….

The Opening Bit…
The ne’er-do-well fishing boat captain Carlos Santiago (Israel Saez de Miguel), like 'Quint' from Jaws crossed with Ledger's Joker (how does such a murderously ruthless young man take command of a commercial fishing vessel?) faces off against a suit-wearing Asian yuppie called Palmer (Marcus Choi) over the boats shark-fin haul. Shouldn’t the details of their deal have been finalised back on shore? What the scene does do is set up a film that addresses the brutal, shameless act of commercial finning. I look forward to that film….

Jaason Simmons…
The man of a thousand vowels (pictured, right) went on a spiritual journey after he left his co-starring role in the phenomenon that was Baywatch. He lived a rural existence far from Hollywood which helped him with personal issues (he came out as proudly gay in 2008) and subsequent professional growth (he has starred on London’s West End and in an Australian play by respected actor/writer, Jeremy Sims). With Sharknado, he has come full circle; he plays one of the most grotesquely blokish Australian surfie stereotypes in a performance that is excrutiating to watch yet deceptively awesome.

Weather and the Physics of Nature…
As the titular front bears down upon the Californian coastline, the intermingling of stock footage and lead actors is bewildering. Swirling black clouds and surging waves cross-cut between blue skies and a gentle rolling surf. Mid-film, the hillside home of leading lady Tara Reid (more on her later) is flooded, the water failing to drain away resulting in a bloody shark pool of gravity-defying sea-water that blocks the heroes escape.

The ‘Fish Out of Water’ Conundrum…
Sharks need water to breath. Sharks in tornadoes are caught in a maelstrom of oxygen and its various gaseous elements. These sharks would not fly around for an hour or so and then eat people. These sharks would die.

Helicopters and Tornadoes…
Tornado strength winds rotate at between 100 mph and 300 mph. In a key climatic moment, heroes Cassie Scerbo (pictured, left) and Chuck Hittinger pilot a two-person helicopter into the outer rim of the sharknado to release an explosive device that will dissipate the gale force winds (a different but equally contentious field of science). Spoiler alert – they (mostly) survive; super-spoiler alert – this action is, of course, impossible.

Old People Swimming…
Our heroes flee to a retirement village situated in the hills above Los Angeles. Here, despite the Downtown death and destruction that is unfolding in full view, the residents are taking a soothing dip in the village pool. It takes the thrashing of a group of sharks that have landed in the pool due to the storm to get the final two bathers out. Old people are idiots.

That Kiss…
Having extricated himself from the acidic stomach of a great white shark, uber-hero Fin (Ian Ziering), splattered head-to-toe in shark goo, plants a big one on his ex, April (Tara Reid; more on her later). The actress does not even wait for the director to yell cut before she pulls away, wipes her mouth and laughs.

Tara Reid…
Tara Reid (pictured, below).

The Nod to Classic European Cinema…
As the action fades to black, a single-word title card fades in – ‘Fin’. It is the hero’s name, of course, but its origins stem from the cinema of Ingmar Bergman and Jean-Luc Godard. As of 2013, it is now also seen in Sharknado.

(Editor’s note – Credit where credit is due. Ian Ziering, who appears to be fully aware of the legacy he is creating, gives all of himself in the lead role and should be credited, along with director Anthony C Ferrante’s grasp of tongue-in-cheek terror, for helping to craft a modern bad movie classic. I really enjoyed this film).

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