A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
In general, you have a better chance of survival on a team than working alone. But the positive message is a flimsy one: Breaking the rules and vigilantism are also rewarded.
Positive Role Models
Although main character Fin demonstrates incredible acts of valor and preaches the importance of being prepared for every kind of emergency, his rejection of the rules (including speeding away from a police car that's trying to pull him over) can also set a bad example. Nova is a capable and brave young woman. In general, characters fall into outdated gender norms: Men are reckless and aggressive, while women, including Nova, need to be saved by them.
Main and supporting characters are all White, which is unrealistic given the film's setting in the diverse city of Los Angeles. The only characters of color are stereotyped as villains who kill sharks for money: a Latino named Captain Carlos Santiago (Spanish actor Israel Sáez de Miguel) and an East Asian man named Palmer (Marcus Choi, who's Korean American), shown eating shark fin soup. Women are mostly helpless and objectified. Even Nova, who's portrayed as strong and capable, needs to be saved by men in the end. Characters in a retirement home are shown as helpless; one woman uses a walker while yelling "I can't run! I can't even walk!"
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Violence & Scariness
Frequent gory shark attacks show characters screaming as they're dismembered and/or eaten alive. Characters are also crushed to death by giant debris. People carry firearms, shoot each other, build and detonate bombs, and use chainsaws against sharks to extremely bloody effect. In terms of sex-related violence, a supporting character gropes a female bartender and it's treated as no big deal. (He's redeemed, shown saving a dog.) The camera also objectifies women in bikinis, lingering on their butts or showing them stretch in slow motion.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters are married and separated; kissing. Beachgoers wear swimsuits (bikinis, swimming trunks, etc.). There's brief sexual harassment -- see details in Violence & Scariness section.
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Characters say "ass," "hell," "bloody hell," and "bastards." In a room flooded with bloody water, a character says that it looks "like it's that time of the month down there."
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Products & Purchases
Banners advertise JCPenney. Cars on the road include Mercedes and Land Rover.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main character Fin owns a bar, where characters drink beer and liquor and occasionally act drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sharknado is a made-for-TV movie that became a cult hit and quickly spawned sequels, a video game, books, and merchandise. It stands out for frequent gory shark attacks that show characters screaming as they're dismembered and/or eaten alive and crushed to death by giant debris. People shoot guns, build and detonate bombs, and use chainsaws against sharks to extremely bloody effect. The main character owns a bar, and characters drink beer and liquor. Language includes "ass," "hell," and "bastards." In a room flooded with bloody water, a character says that it looks "like it's that time of the month down there." In general, women are portrayed as helpless and needing to be saved by men, while characters of color are stereotypical villains. The cast is almost entirely White, which is confusing, given the film's setting in the diverse city of Los Angeles. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
If you go in with the right frame of mind, this film is pure entertainment. True, the special effects, the dialogue, and the very premise of the story are completely ludicrous, but that's all part of the fun. You don't watch Sharknado to bask in a cinematic masterwork; you watch it because it's hilarious and mindless, a deliberately campy romp of a cheesy creature feature.
Does it even make sense within the world it's created for itself? No. It's a fun B movie -- pure and simple -- one that basks in the conventions of the form. Even stereotypical moments, such as Latino and Asian villains and women as damsels in distress, are likely to inspire an eye roll rather than deeper affront because no one is taking any part of the film seriously. Yes, it's bad -- but that certainly doesn't make it unwatchable. Just be ready for blood and gore, making this more appropriate for teens and older. But even people who fear sharks should find this film more laughable than scary.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.