The first movie was good. The second movie was a wonderful, meta-filled nod to the first movie. The third movie is too much. Sharknado is too self-aware for its own good. It’s time to kill the Sharknado.
Syfy will roll out the third installment of its wildly (and surprisingly) successful Sharnkado series tonight at 9:00 PM EDT, with Sharknado III: Oh Hell No! ripping through Washington D.C. like Ian Ziering’s chainsaw soared through a bus-size shark in the middle of a Los Angeles street at the climax of the first Sharknado (whoops—I spoiled the ending).
Sharknado’s success was almost completely Twitter’s fault; I joined millions of people tweeting about the shipwreck we were watching on television that July evening in 2013. I’ll be honest—I liked the first movie. Actually, I loved the first movie. It was so cheesy and overblown that there was no way it couldn’t be good. The mixture of insane dialogue, cheap visual effects, and a nonsensical plot came together in a perfect storm that gave birth to a cult classic. Sharknado would have been perfect standing on its own as a terrible movie without any further development, but who wouldn’t be tempted to ride that cash sea cow as far as it could swim? (Let me have that one bad joke.)
Next July came the second one. Even its name—Sharknado II: The Second One—gives up all pretense that they’re trying to keep a straight face about it. The sequel was filmed as a dorky nod to all of us fans of the first movie, tearing through New York City with the same ridiculous physics and logic as the first one. It gave us everything we wanted after the biggest event of 2013. The Second One was aware of its cheesiness and took advantage of it—it was the shark equivalent of Liz Lemon winking at the camera for two hours.
Like most tortured movie series, the joy of Sharknado wore off once the swirling mass of sea creatures became sentient and strayed away from Sharknado for the sake of Sharknado, turning into something like Syfy’s answer to the Minions with more teeth and less appeal to everyone’s middle-aged family members on Facebook. By making a third one, they sucked the fun out of it by forcing the movie’s buzz instead of letting it grow on its own.
You are weather nerds. You will like this movie. Watch it. Assimilate.
A year of contemplating the never-ending stream of shark antics turned me into one of the curmudgeons I decried in my review of The Second One:
On one side, we have the people (like myself) who went all-in and had a blast making fun of the movie on social media. On the other side, we have the Very Serious Meteorologists who felt the need to constantly post through the movie that they were not, in fact, watching the movie, as if there is no room for fun in the field of meteorology and confirming the suspicions that viewers have about the wound-up nature of their unfriendly neighborhood weatherman.
2015 smacked the childlike glimmer out of the eyes of 2014, that’s for damn sure.
The first two movies were it for me. My appetite for sharks is satisfied. If you crave more Sharknado, have fun tonight. I hope you still find it enjoyable. They’re going to keep making them until people stop watching, and if tonight’s presentation lives up to the buzz generated in 2013 and 2014, we’ll get up to at least Sharknado 5: Screw You All until it runs out of steam.