“Sharknado 3”: Oh hell, the thrill is gone

Ian Zierling battles Sharks in Sharknado 3. (SyFy)
Ian Zierling battles Sharks in Sharknado 3. (SyFy)

Amid all the product tie-ins, movie was a snooze.

I guess the best thing to acknowledge Sharknado’s first two movies was the guilty pleasure aspect of it… the campness – you know, it was so bad it was good. It was the type of flick ready to be mocked by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew.

But Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No – proved this movie was just… bad. You can tell the guilty pleasure aspect of it had vanished. Worse, there were so many tie-ins to SyFy owner Comcast, you’d think the cable channel’s marketing department wrote the script. So here’s my embellishment…er, I mean review.

Former Beverly Hills, 90210 star Ian Zierling returns as shark-slayer Fin Shepard (Fin…get it?) – this time saving Washington D.C. from the airborne creatures and protecting the President of the United States, who looks like a certain Dallas Mavericks owner. When he finishes, Shepard discovers there’s another threat – multiple sharknados threatening the entire eastern seaboard.

Shepard’s family is vacationing at Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, owned by – you guessed it, Comcast and guess what – Sharknados show up and start wrecking havoc on the place. A NASCAR race (NASCAR has a deal with Comcast-owned NBC) at nearby Daytona was affected, as was an Orlando Magic game at Awmay Arena – oh, wait a minute… that doesn’t count because NBA rights are not held by Comcast, but Disney’s ESPN (same reason you didn’t see Walt Disney World get Sharknadoed – if it did at all.)

Shepard and company take refuge in the Universal globe as it came off its mantle and rolled around the park. You didn’t see it, but I’m sure Marcus Welby, Jerry Mathers, and the entire cast of McHale’s Navy were flattened by the globe.

After a reunion with dad David Hasselhoff, Shepard somehow ends up in space, fighting sharks – with or without Howard Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory, I’m not sure. So Shepard trains at NASA over the objections of Major Tony Nelson, noting there’s already one nutcase running things at Cape Canaveral – he didn’t like it when Shepard called him “master”. Shepard and the shuttle falls back to earth and his wife’s baby is born in space. But a piece of the shuttle falls from the sky and hits Tara Reid in the head, and so the audience gets to decide her fate through Twitter in Sharknado 4: No More (not actual title of film, but I hope it is.)

Just as it was in Sharknado 2, there were plenty of cameos in Sharknado 3: Mark Cuban, Chad Johnson, Ann Coulter, former congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, Chris Jericho, a lot of Today Show personnel (yet another NBC/Comcast tie-in) and NASCAR drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, who uttered the famous line Oh Hell No when he saw the chompers above.

A promotional poster for "Sharknado 3".
A promotional poster for “Sharknado 3”.

But where was the buzz? There seemed to be a lack of it leading up to the movie, and it showed: according to Nielsen, ratings for the third installment of Sharknado Wednesday night was down 3 percent in total viewers (2.8 million vs. 2.9 million); down 31 percent in the key 18-49 demo (0.9 vs. 1.3); and Twitter impressions were at 4.5 million, down 18 percent from its predecessor. On yours truly’s feed, there were only eight Sharknado tweets in the movie’s duration, with one tweeter said he DVR’d it; another said he wasn’t watching Sharknado 3 at all.

Of course, SyFy spun the ratings their way to make it seem like a massive hit – but let’s face it, we’re all tired of the sharks. Sharknado was not built to be a long-lasting franchise like Star Wars or Star Trek; the camp stuff doesn’t hold up well – you can only go so far with crappy writing, acting and directing. And while marketers who tied in to Sharknado were bursting with glee, there’s now a “sellout” factor Sharknado is associated with which makes it “uncool”, and this is even after all the Comcast product placement. The ultimate absurdity of this was summed up when a shark went flying into a Xfinity billboard. Outside of some funny lines, there was nothing really special about Sharknado 3.

And now we get to decide whether Reid lives or dies in the next movie because it represents another social media opportunity – or maybe the writers are too damn lazy to write the part, so they turned the chore over to you, America. Haven’t their WGA cards been revoked yet?

And you have to wonder… Is Sharknado 4 going to be set in Chicago? Been there, done that. Besides, we’ve had grasshoppers crawl up postcards of the Wrigley Building in the 1957 film Beginning Of The End. Really, do you want computer-generated sharks biting off still photos of the John Hancock Building and the Sears Tower? Plus, we have our own “disaster” movie coming out in December, the aforminated Spike Lee-directed Chiraq.

Oh Hell No.