TV Movie: “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens”

The TV movie is a special type of entertainment program. Seldom are they any good, but once one airs, you’re not typically put through more craziness with the same characters. Unless, of course, there’s a whole franchise that’s been built and getting a new movie isn’t only expected once a year, but gleefully awaited by fans. Yes, actual fans. How did you think the franchise came to be?

The Asylum Productions movie “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens”, is everything a fan of these films could want! It’s full of crazy and outlandish situations, bad acting, and overall stupidity!

This comedy movie stars Ian Ziering (“The Hashtaggers”, “The Muppets”), Tara Reid (“Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!”, “Charlie’s Farm”), Tommy Davidson (“Black Dynamite”, “Dance Fu”), Masiela Lusha (“Fatal Instinct”, “Anger Management”), Ryan Newman (upcoming “Alexander IRL”, “The Thundermans”), Cody Linley (“Hoovey”, “My Dog the Champion”), Imani Hakim (“State of Affairs”, “The Gabby Douglas Story”), Cheryl Tiegs (“Childrens Hospital”, “Family Guy”), Gary Busey (“Bikini Model Academy”, “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series”), and David Hasselhoff (“TripTank”, “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life”).

The movie was directed by Anthony C. Ferrante (“Killer Deal (Short 2016)”, “No Sleep TV3”) and written by Thunder Levin (“Sharknado” franchise, “From the Sea”).

It originally premiered on July, 31, 2016 on SyFy.

The crazy is back! After waiting many long months, especially wondering which D List celebrities would make cameo appearances, the movie debuted. It was a wonderful time! I may not have caught the “Sharknado” marathon, which led into this new movie, but I oddly got super excited for this movie anyway. And I don’t think I was let down! For those that don’t know, I’ve already written about the previous films. This year I figured I could skip rewatching and writing about them, as my opinions on them are not going to change.

For those of you who haven’t begun to watch this incredibly amazing, yet incredibly stupid franchise, you’re missing out on something special. This year, like with the past three years, is no exception. The one thing I’m not certain of is whether or not this movie is better than last year’s.

Regardless, it certainly entertained the hell out of me! I never stopped enjoying a single moment of all the absurdity going on. A major plus with this, which may be similar to last year, is that it started pretty quickly. There was a little bit to ease you in, but then, a Sharknado appeared! I mean, a sandstorm, which eventually morphed into whatever the hell this one should be called. Sandsharknado? Sharksandnado? Beats me. That was one of the ongoing gags that Levin decided to drop into this movie, which I’m still debating on whether or not I liked it. For a little bit the alternate ‘nados were fine, funny even, but then they just grew a bit tiresome. I mean, come on, Cownado, Oilnado, Firenado, Nucnado! I guess there are some things that can still be flat out dumb and tiresome. This may have been one of them.

After the amazing 20 minute opening, which SyFy seems to be employing more and more, the rest was just chaos!! I don’t think this movie ever really stopped. There may have been a few moments with Davidson’s character trying to stop these ‘nados, and other “dramatic” moments with our beloved heroes, but largely we just went and went, which was definitely fine with me seeing as that’s why I tuned in.

I’ve been sitting her for some time now, which was also spent conversing with myself on another issue, one I care a lot about, but still I could never come up with a way to talk about or detail the crazy that happened in this movie. Which moments do I cite? Do I even remember all of them? I discovered that with this movie, I think I was watching, loving, and tweeting about it, but I don’t think I really allowed for it to sink deep in my mind. I can’t recall what happened. After the chaos that was the Las Vegas opening sequence, it’s almost like I checked out. The Vegas stuff was cool! Cars surfing on massive win, a giant boat being sailed, which I think was actually a restaurant, and various characters being eaten and fighting the sharks. Who knew Chippendales were so multi-talented? Again, after that, I’m blanking. What I can say is, it was awesome! If that hadn’t already been evident, there it is again. If you love these movies, or any bad SyFy movie, then this will certainly make you happy. I may not have been pleased with all the movies shown during “Sharknado Week”, (which I’ll write about later), but at least this one made up for that big time!

A few things that I did love, besides the characters returning, the carnage done by the sharks, damage done by the storms, and the bad CGI, which I do think was the best of the series thus far, includes the pop culture references. There were so many! Levin really outdid himself this time. He’s pretty good at not taking things seriously, and with nonstop pop culture references coming at you ever few minutes, it was hard to do so. References included the expected “Star Wars”, of which the movie borrow from for its title, “Star Trek”, “Wizard of Oz”, which was super fitting as some time was spent in Kansas, “The Terminator”, and even from “Network”! I’m sure there are many more I missed, but that’s because everything happened so fast it was hard to keep up. I’m half wondering if Aaron Sorkin or Amy Sherman-Palladino didn’t help weave in some of these references.

I also loved seeing D list celebrities that I could recognize! Carrot Top, the Chippendales, Tiegs, Busey, Today Show hosts, Carrie Keagan, Stacey Dash, Steve Guttenberg, (who was actually there as his character from the “Lavalantula” movies, which was also fitting seeing as his new movie “2 Lava 2 Lantula” premiers next month), Gilbert Gottfried, T’Keyah Crystal Keymah (Raven’s mom on “That’s So Raven”!), and Duane “Dog” Chapman, to name a few. There were so many others that I missed and some I’m sure I didn’t even recognize. Last year we saw “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin, which was super exciting, but I don’t think there was anyone that was as fun to see as him. Still, the crop this year was in no way a letdown! Seriously, how do the producers get this many people to cameo or star in these films? Aren’t they afraid that whatever is left of their reputations might be permanently damaged?

One minor thing I didn’t love seeing, as it’s somewhat baffling, even for a movie like this, is that Hakim’s character is killed by a falling shark. Splat! Mind you, this was also after another shark was munching on her arm. Oh, and spoiler alert. Anyway. When we lost characters in the previous movies, there was always someone and some moment taken to be sad, or at least shocked by this. Not so here. She just died and everyone moved on. Granted, there was a lot going to deal with, but still. Not recognizing that your wife of a few hours ago is not even with you anymore, screams a bit of a stretch. In all this SyFyence, none of which ever sounds believable, this is one thing that is skipped over. I can’t ignore that.

While sequels to most films annoy me, even though I know I’ll get around to seeing them, I’ve yet to steer clear of the terrible ones seen on TV. SyFy is my go to network for bad TV movies and the sequels that follow, should they be lucky to get one. Lifetime comes in next. I think it’s because I know there’s no reason to expect something good. Maybe at some point both of these networks put out semi-decent TV movies, but over the last five years, maybe longer, that doesn’t seem to be the goal. Because some TV movies end up, accidentally, being so bad they’re good, I find that more and more, the networks are just shooting for that. Most fail, but occasionally you get ones that are and so much more. This franchise has clearly set some kind of special bar, which I don’t think will ever be reached, which is itself surprising, but I’m okay with that. I don’t need all my bad TV movies to try and be that amazing. They’re TV movies after all. They should just aim for being enjoyable, which is hard at times and then I really just become downright disappointed.

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