Rifftrax Live: Sharknado – Movie Review

SharknadoRifftrax Live: Sharknado – TV-14
Release Date: Thu 11 Jul 2013

The Asylum is infamous for making quick, cheap movies that are knock-off’s of other films. They are where movies like Snakes on a Train and Atlantic Rim come from. In the days of video stores, some people were fooled into getting the wrong movie while others actively enjoyed the goofy-badness of movies like Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.

Sharknado was, pun firmly intended, a perfect storm of Internet marketing. The movie debuted on SyFy last year and became a sensation with people live-tweeting while watching and everyone else joining in on making fun of it. A sequel, Sharknado 2: The Second One debuts July 30th and is said to contain a host of cameos, including Jared Fogle of Subway fame.

While this may sound like the perfect movie to receive the Rifftrax treatment, there was a bit of backlash against Rifftrax for choosing it. The thinking was that it’s one thing to make fun of a movie that was the result of incompetent film making but to devote time to making fun of a movie designed to be ridiculous was missing the mark. It would be like making fun of a spoof like Spaceballs for not being as good of a space opera as Star Wars.

I decided to post this review based on how much fun I had seeing the Rifftrax live show, and to pass on the information that there will be an encore showing on Tuesday, July 15th. Rifftrax has stated that this show will not be made available later as a video-on-demand title, so this may be the only chance to see what Rifftrax’s Sharknado is like.

The Rifftrax Live show itself was pretty barebones this time, with no special guests and a ho-hum re-write of the MST3K classic short A Case of Spring Fever. (It’s one of my favorite shorts from the show, and seeing it with a new script was actually disappointing as it was not an improvement.) The only other presentations were a couple of clips from the upcoming Rifftrax Live of Godzilla (1998) and an exclusive trailer for Sharknado 2.

The movie itself is, unsurprisingly terrible. The editing seems to highlight that every cut changes time of day, location and so forth. Continuity is regularly interrupted. The acting is also terrible and the script has a couple of lazy one-liners and famous references to Jaws. The spectacle of Sharknado is the bad CGI sharks that defy physics and travel from place to place via a hurricane that eventually becomes three tornadoes. Tornadoes full of CGI sharks.

The Rifftrax treatment improves the comedy and entertainment-factor exponentially. The movie has so few developments or twists that it would be hard to sit through the whole thing without the barrage of jokes. While the jury is still out on whether it’s a “good idea” to build a live riff around a movie made to be terrible, the result is certainly entertaining. With only the encore presentation to see, it’s worth catching if you enjoy Rifftrax in general and is probably the closest that watching Sharknado comes to being a consistently worthwhile watch. I’m very excited to see what they can do with Godzilla (1998).

Cal and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car:


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