When people think of Franchise Fred, it may surprise them that Sharknado is one of my favorite franchises. It is actually a franchise that represents my soul writ large on the screen, because as much as I want every movie to continue indefinitely, I even more want every movie to be awesome. So many movies are held back by “realism” which seems counterintuitive to escapist entertainment. The only reason a movie ever needs to exist is “because it’s awesome.” Sharknado 5: Global Swarming continues to prove that “because it’s awesome” is all the reason you need.
Sharknado 5 is the first Sharknado not written by Thunder Levin, but Scotty Mullen gets it. Scotty does know how to riff on famous movie franchises, or strategically repeat them outright. Fin (Ian Ziering)’s line to the Pope made me laugh out loud. It’s also great to have a director like Anthony C. Ferrante who’s such a movie buff, he really gets how every reference needs to be delivered in its own unique way.
Gil (Billy Barratt) is carried away by a Sharknado in London so Fin, April (Tara Reid) and Nova (Cassie Scerbo) travel the world pursuing that Sharknado to get him back. The story has a really strong narrative drive where they keep trying things to rescue Gil. I have to say I was happy every time it didn’t work because that meant more Sharknado fun. Also, consider this kid is swirling around a Sharknado for a minimum of 90 minutes if this movie is in real time. Since it’s not, that kid was probably in there for at least an entire day.
The franchise still follows the same shark physics, which means they basically fling sharks at Ian Ziering willy nilly and he comes up with some new way to impale them. It’s great! The incorporation of winter sports in the mayhem is wonderful. April uses her mechanical parts magnificently. I bet they’re glad they gave her a metal hand in Sharknado 2 and made her a full on superhero in The 4th Awakens.
I gotta admit, the old Buckingham Palace Guards joke has a great new context when they remain stone faced in front of Sharknados. Yet Sharknado 5 may be the one that gives the characters the most dramatic weight. Sure, Fin reconciled with his father (David Hasselhoff) in 3 and there was a huge moment with April in The 4th, but Sharknado 5 really makes the Shepard family the most vulnerable they’ve ever been.
Franchise Fred approves Sharknado 5: Global Swarming. Theatrical movies should have this much fun, and take the absurd this seriously. But if I can only get it on Syfy, I’ll keep tuning in. Sharknado 5: Global Swarming premieres Sunday, August 6 at 8PM on Syfy.