comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

August 18th, 2017 Movie – Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens

sharknado 4

I have to admit, I am having a hard time focusing on writing today’s blog. Marvel’s The Defenders just debuted on Netflix today and I really want to start watching that. But that will be my reward so let’s finish the task at hand. It has been a whole year since the cliffhanger ending of Sharknado 3, and I don’t know about everyone else but I have been dying to find out if April lived or died. So when the time came, I did what I normally do in these situations and

The plot: Since Fin Shepard stopped the last sharknado that threatened the East Coast, a company called Astro-X has risen to prominence, using their space ship to rescue Colonel Gil Shepard from the moon while also preventing sharknadoes from forming by using their weather control pods to disperse tornadoes before they form. Fin Shepard now lives on a farm in Kansas called April’s Acres with his son Gil and his mom Raye. Fin’s cousin Gemini picks Fin up to go to Vegas, where they are meeting Fin’s son Matt, who is on leave from the military. At the same time, Astro-X founder Aston Reynolds is in Vegas for the grand opening of his new shark-themed hotel. As they wait for Matt in their hotel, Matt calls them from a plane overhead, where he is in the process of marrying his fiance Gabrielle before they parachute onto the hotel roof. As the plane flies over Las Vegas, a sand storm forms and the Astro-X pods are unable to stop it. Matt and Gabrielle jump out of the plane but are caught by the twister and separated. As the sand storm hits Aston’s hotel and sucks the sharks into it, forming a “sandnado”, Fin rescues Gabrielle while Gemini rescues some of the other guests. They make their way to the street and go looking for Matt but when they encounter a flood, they quickly hop onto a hotel’s pirate ship and use it to navigate the flood towards Matt. Matt is eventually able to make it onto the ship, where he hugs Fin and then kisses Gabrielle, while the sandnado leaves the city. As the news comments about the incident and Astro-X’s failure to stop it, Aston contacts his headquarters in San Francisco to have them tell Colonel Shepard that he needs to finish work on his mech suit. In San Francisco, Gil, or Colonel as he prefers to be called, is testing a flight suit for Wilford, a scientist working for Astro-X who also happens to be April’s father, when he is approached by Claudia, who also works there, and is told Aston’s message. Back in Vegas, Fin refuses to give an interview, wanting to hurry back to Kansas to be with Gil but the only way Gemini could find out of the city was by train so they all board the train and head out. Unknown to anyone else, April is still alive, having been remade into a cyborg by her father, who comments on the results on her latest tests as she is recharging. The sandnado makes it’s way through the desert and destroys Hoover Dam, picking up the boulders and debris into it and becoming a “bouldernado”. Gemini sees the bouldernado approaching the train and they work to save as many people as they can while Fin makes his way to the engine and stops the train. Meanwhile, Aston blows up part of the Grand Canyon in order to stop the flood from the Hoover Dam destroying the nearby cities. Aston has Fin and the others brought to see him and asks Fin for his help in reassuring the American public but Fin refuses to be Aston’s mouthpiece. They get a car and make their way to Texas but the bouldernado follows them, where it hits an oil field and becomes an “oilnado”, which quickly becomes a “firenado” when the oil ignites. Fin uses a trencher loaded with fire extinguishers to get close to the firenado, then blows it up in the hopes of putting out the fire. The plan works  and the sharknado changes course but it hits a power plant and becomes a “lightningnado”. Meanwhile, another Sharnado appears in San Francisco while a “lavanado” forms in Yellowstone. As Aston works out a way to take out these new sharknados, April sees a news report and learns that Fin is still alive. She confronts Wilford as to why he lied to her about her family, and Wilford tries to keep her in the lab but she breaks down the door and leaves. The sharknado in San Francisco is heading towards Astro-X, having transformed into a “hailnado”, and as the Colonel and Claudia try to escape, their car is picked up by the storm but they are rescued by April, and they are all surprised to see each other alive. The three head to Wilford’s lab to confront him about what he did, and he claims to have done it to protect them all, then shows the Colonel a completed Mech Suit to use against the sharknado. Meanwhile, Fin’s car gets a flat as they enter Kansas and he calls his friend Colton, who loans him a car named Christine. As they head towards the farm, the lightningnado follows after them and they quickly abandon Christine before it is run over by a shark infested ball of twine. With only a mile to go to the farm, the make a run for it, while Gil and Raye head into the storm shelter. The lightningnado picks up a herd of cows, becoming a “cownado”. Fin and the others reach the farm, where they head to the barn to get some weapons. Matt and Gabrielle head to the shelter but Gabrielle is killed before she can make it in while Gil runs out of the shelter to find his dad. With the storm fast approaching, Fin and Gil head back into the house, while Gemini holds onto the outside as the house is picked up by the storm. Fin is able to rescue Gil and Gemini makes it inside before the house crash lands in Chicago, landing on the mayor who had blamed Fin for the disasters. April, Claudia, and the Colonel learn about Fin’s location and they head there, where April rescues Fin and Gil from the debris, and Fin is shocked to see his wife is still alive. Meanwhile, Astro-X uses their new isotopes to destroy the hailnado and lavanado, but the lightningnado proves resistant and hits a nuclear power plant, becoming a nuclearnado. In  their plane, Fin and April are talking about what happened and April tells him that what her father did was temporary, and they have no idea how long she will live. Fin says he doesn’t care and hugs her, then goes to introduce her to Gil, but Gil says April isn’t his mom. Aston talks with Fin and Gil about the nuclearnado and, along with Wilford’s help, they come up with a plan to stop it. They head towards Niagara Falls, where Aston uses a squirrel suit to fly down to a camp that is set up there and set off a quantum box that will turn the nuclearnado back to a normal sharknado, so the pods can disperse it. Aston turns on the box but it isn’t powerful enough to work and he ends up falling off the cliff when the weakened ground collapses into the falls. When Fin tells the others what happened, the Colonel says that they have another battery in the mech suit they can use so they head to Niagara Falls with it. As the Colonel gets ready to use the mech suit to reach the quantum box, he is swallowed by a shark and the suit ends up falling down the cliff. Fin goes to retrieve it, and he and April head to the quantum box, telling the others to get to safety but Matt and Claudia get swallowed by sharks while Gil, who was placed in a barrel for safe keeping, ends up getting sucked up by the storm and falling into the falls. Fin is able to reach the quantum box and use the mech suit to power it enough to change the nuclearnado back into a regular sharknado but before they are able to disperse it, Fin is knocked off the cliff and swallowed by a shark, which is then swallowed by three more sharks before being swallowed by a blue whale. April manages to rescue Gil, who pulls his little chainsaw out of a rock and proceeds to climb into the whale and cut open the shark inside, rescuing Claudia, then repeating the process with the other sharks, freeing Matt and the Colonel but Fin is unresponsive, April cuts an opening into the whale so she can free the others and then attaches some cables from her power supply to a pair of small shark to serve as a makeshift defibrillator in order to revive Fin. Aston had managed to survive his fall and is alive at the bottom of the falls while the Shepards celebrate surviving another storm when they suddenly see the Eiffel Tower fly through the air before landing nearby, with Nova, who had been vacationing in Paris, standing atop it.

Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens met was pretty much panned by the critics, holding a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens loses the ridiculous charm of its predecessors, leaving only clumsy social commentary and monotonous schtick that’s lost its bite.” While the previous movies had a lot of references to Jaws in them, this movie had numerous references to the Star Wars franchise, with the title itself being a spoof of the recent Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. While The Asylum and Syfy never made public the results of the twitter poll, the trailer for the movie kind of spoiled it by showing April in her training montage while the post credits scene set up a fifth movie, which was announced shortly after the 4th one premiered.

Every time I watch this movie, I find myself going back and forth on how much I like it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie as much as the others, but it’s hard to tell if it was just that I liked certain parts as compared to the movie as a whole. The acting was good, with Ian Zeiring (Fin) and Tara Reid (April) doing good jobs in their roles. David Hasslehoff (Colonel) and Ryan Newman (Claudia) did a good job reprising their roles, while I loved the addition of Gary Busey as April’s dad and Masiela Lusha as Fin’s cousin Gemini. The story was interesting and I loved the fact that they set it 5 years after the last movie, to help explain whether April lived or died, but I honestly felt like there were other aspects of the plot that felt like they used various cultural references to joke about the fact that the main plot was pretty weak. The special effects were pretty good and they did have some very funny scenes in it, with the scene where Fin gets swallowed by a shark and the whole shark swallowing shark aspect until one gets swallowed by a whale still makes me laugh. All told, this is fun to watch but the sum of the various parts don’t quite add up to a great movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

August 17th, 2017 Movie – Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

sharknado 3

My apologies for being late with today’s post. I had to go in to work early today and spent 75% of the day in one meeting after another. Not exactly the best way to start off the day. So now I get to come home, fairly exhausted, and try and finish watching today’s movie (because I managed to watch a little bit of it this morning) and write up my review before I pass out on the couch. I know, this is not exactly a funny or endearing story about today’s movie. Well, to borrow the tagline from yesterday’s movie, Shark Happens. Now, onto today’s movie, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!.

The plot: Fin Shepherd is racing through the streets of Washington DC until he is met by a pair of Secret Service Agents, who are there to take him to the White House. As he is en route, Fin calls April, who is pregnant and currently in Orlando with her mother May and their daughter Claudia. As the car gets stuck in traffic, Fin chooses to get out and continue running to the White House, where security stops him until White House Chief of Staff Gary Martin Hayes shows up and escorts him inside, where President Marcus Robbins awards him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. At the banquet afterwards, Fin is making the rounds, stopping to say hello to his brother-in-law Martin, who is there as a guest, when he is surprised to see the Mayor of New York City there, who awards Fin with a golden chainsaw for his efforts in saving New York. Stepping outside, Fin checks some weather data he asked for and when the President joins him, Fin says he can sense when a sharknado is going to form and says that DC isn’t safe. Fin and President Robbins head back inside just as a sharknado forms and begins attacking DC. As the storm hits the White House, Martin manages to save Vice President Sonia Buck, while Fin and President Robbins are forced to shoot their way out after all of the President’s Secret Service are killed. As they make it outside, the storm suddenly dissipates and before Fin can wonder about it, he and the others quickly lift up a fallen flag to kill a shark that is falling towards them. With flights grounded in DC, Fin rents a car and starts driving to Orlando, calling April and Claudia on the way to tell them he will be there tomorrow. April, Claudia and May are at Universal Studios Resort and May for Claudia’s birthday and May gives Claudia some money as she leaves to go have fun with her friend Jess. Claudia is met by an employee and given VIP passes that allow her and Jess to skip to the front of the line on rides but Jess sees a boy, Chad, that she starts flirting with so Claudia ends up riding on the roller coaster with his friend Billy but as she leaves the roller coaster, Claudia accidentally forgets her phone. Meanwhile, Fin is driving when he encounters a dense fog and as people start running out of the fog in a panic, he realizes the fog is actually a “fognado”, with sharks swimming inside. As Fin fights off a shark that smashes through the window, an armored RV shows up and two masked people emerge, with one fighting off the sharks while the other takes out the fognado. As the fog clears, one of the people approaches the car and takes off the mask and Fin is surprised to see that it is Nova. As the two talk, Nova introduces Fin to her partner, Lucas Stevens, and she explains that the collect all the data they can on the sharknadoes in order to be better prepared, showing him a dead shark and explaining that they are finding birds in their stomachs now as well as ice crystals in their blood, indicating that they are staying in the atmosphere longer and able to survive. Nova asks Fin to help her but Fin says he can’t as he needs to get to Orlando, and Nova is upset to learn that he and April are back together and having a child but offers to give Fin a lift there. Lucas is upset at first but Nova tells him that they have been tracking the storm’s epicenter and it has been heading south so it is on their way. In Orlando, April and May are discussing baby names when a shark lands in a nearby pool. April goes to save a lifeguard, with her robotic hand able to turn into a chainsaw, but May stops her from doing so. Fin calls to check on April after hearing about the entire East Coast of the US is in jeopardy and April is not surprised to learn that Nova is with him. After hearing about the shark attack, tells her to get Claudia and get somewhere safe, then tells Nova that they need to hurry but they find the bridge is washed out. Since they are near Charleston, Fin tells Lucas to head towards the Charleston Air Force Base, where General Gottlieb, the base commanding officer, is a family friend. After being cleared to go inside, Fin talks with Gottlieb, who agrees to let him take their training plane to Orlando and Nova tells him that she can fly, as Fin’s son Matt had trained her how to fly before he deployed. As Fin and Nova get in the plane, a sharknado hits and Lucas heads towards the Beast to take car of it but he is severely wounded by sharks, which bite off one of his legs and arms. Crawling towards the fail safe device on the roof of the Beast, he loses his other arm and leg and is forced to hit the button with his chin, blowing up the RV and dispersing the sharknado. Nova sees what happens and cries out but Fin tells her that they have to leave or else Lucas would have died in vain. As they make their way towards Orlando, Nova asks Fin how he handles dealing with the sharks and he tells her he thinks about his family, which includes friends like her. As they pass over Daytona, they see a sharknado forming over the Daytona 500 and they use the extra fuel tank as a means to destroy the sharknado, or at least kill the sharks, but once they succeed, an errant shark hits the plane and they end up crashing into a lake but emerge unscathed (and without their clothes (seriously R.A.F.)). They head into the park to try and find April and Claudia, just as more sharks begin falling from the sky and attacking people. Meanwhile, April uses a tracking app to track Claudia’s phone to the roller coaster, and goes with the operator, Bruce, to see if she is stuck in the cars. Elsewhere, Claudia, Billy, Jess, and Chad are riding the “Disaster” ride when Chad is killed by a shark, while Jess gets killed as they run from the ride. Fin uses his app and meet April on the roller coaster but they find no sign of Claudia. Bruce realizes that they are talking about Claudia’s phone, which he hands to them, but a shark ends up killing him and activating the roller coaster. Fin is trapped in one of the cars and ends up flying off the course and crashing into the “Twister” ride, where he kills another shark before leaving. Fin meets back up with April and May, and they are then joined by Claudia, Billy, and Nova. Seeing the sharknado approaching, Fin has them all take shelter inside the Universal Globe, which is sent rolling around by the sharknado before landing on a nearby tower. Everyone is ok except for May, who had hit her head during the globes’ spinning, and she is taken away in an ambulance. Nova shows Fin and the others Lucas’ theories on dispersing the merged sharknadoes and rather than using several nuclear explosions, he chooses to call his father, Colonel Gil Shepard, and try to get him to use his contacts with NASA to help. Fin heads to the diner that Gil owns and works on convincing him to help by launching a space shuttle and detonating the fuel tanks to create a column of heat big enough to destroy the sharknadoes. As the sharknadoes form a massive storm wall that ranges the entire East Coast, Fin and Gil get ready to board the shuttle but April, who didn’t know Fin was going on the shuttle, pleads with him not to go but the sharknado destroys the gang plank and April is forced to board the shuttle with Fin. With more sharks falling, the national guard works on keeping the sharks away from the shuttle and when two guardsmen are killed, Claudia and Billy take up their weapons and start killing the sharks while Nova uses a jet to help clear a path. As the shuttle goes to launch, Claudia and Billy head back inside mission control but Billy is killed after he pushes Claudia inside to avoid a falling shark. The shuttle launches and they detonate the tanks but it does not dissipate the sharknado wall. Gil then says he has a Plan B, and heads towards a nearby satellite, which is a cover for part of the fabled Star Wars program, planning to use the laser to vaporize the storm wall. When they are unable to remotely activate the satellite, Gil does a space walk to the satellite in order to manually reboot the system and fire the laser. The laser succeeds in destroying the storm wall but Gil tells Fin that they only have enough fuel to either come get him, or enter re-orbit, but not both. Suddenly, some sharks that were blown up into space by the laser begin attacking the shuttle, and Fin works on killing them but one of the sharks swallows April, while a second one destroys the shuttle. Fin ends up swallowed as well but as the shark drops back to Earth, Fin is able to punch a hole into the charred flesh and use his emergency chute to safely land. Crawling out of the shark, Fin sees more sharks falling from the sky and hears a chainsaw coming from one of them. Heading towards the shark, Fin reaches inside to pull out April and instead sees his new born baby emerging from the shark. Fin grabs his baby, then pulls April out of the shark as well and the two hug each other and their newborn son. Claudia and Nova come running up to them and Fin introduces them to the baby, calling him Gil after his dad. They all look up towards the sky and Fin throws a salute at the moon, where unknown to them, Colonel Shepard has managed to make it to the moon’s surface. Fin looks for his dad’s wings that he had given him before they left and April sees them nearby and goes to pick them up when a piece of the shuttle falls towards her and as they all scream out, the debris lands on top of April as the screen goes black and the word “Fin?” appears on the screen.

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! met with negative reviews from the critics, holding a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! bites off more than it can chew, leaving viewers with an overlong mess that isn’t even bad enough to be good.” Once again, the movie featured several references to Jaws, but also had people make references to what they are most well known for, such as Lou Ferrigno telling someone “Don’t make me angry.”, or George R.R. Martin being killed next to a bride during a wedding. Sharknado 4 was announced during the premier of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! and fans were asked to use Twitter to vote on if April would survive for the 4th movie, using the hashtags #AprilLives or #AprilDies to cast their votes.

The Sharknado movies are still a lot of fun to watch, but I will admit that this one was a little lacking compared to the previous one. The acting was good, with Ian Ziering (Fin) and Cassandra Scerbo (Nova) doing a good job reprising their roles, while I actually liked Tara Reid (April) in this outing. Ryan Newman did a good job in taking over the role of Claudia Shepard, while David Hasselhoff and Bo Derek were great playing Fin’s father Gil and April’s mother May respectively. The story was honestly a little weak, as I felt like they could have done a better job in setting things up instead of just blatantly making it a doomsday scenario almost right from the start. The cameos definitely added a lot of humor to the movie; either by who they were or what they were doing in the movie, or an inside joke or reference to previous roles the people had. The cliffhanger at the end was actually a good way to keep people invested in the franchise, as I don’t recall as much hype over this movie compared to the previous two. The special effects were pretty good and I liked a lot of the shark scenes but there were definitely a couple of times where they looked too fake, with sometimes it being really funny, such as the guy being eaten by a shark hanging from a sign thinking it was the fake shark for the Jaws photo op, but a few times the fakeness hurt the scene. Still, everything together added up to a solid entry in the series and is well worth watching and laughing at.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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