A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! is the latest installment in a series of films about freak storms that cause bloodthirsty sharks to fall from the sky and feast on humans. Little ones may be scared by the strange premise and by the nonstop, teeth-gnashing violence, but older teens and adults will recognize the fakery of the low-rent special effects and the utter ridiculousness of it all. Best enjoyed by those with strong stomachs (not only for violence but also for groan-worthy jokes) and a high tolerance for camp. There's also a ton of product placement in this film, which at times comes across like a none-too-subtle promotional video for Universal Studios theme parks.
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What's the story?
Even viewers who haven't seen the first two Sharknado films will have zero trouble following the basic premise here: Sharks can somehow survive in tornados and rain down hellish violence wherever they go. It's up to the heroic efforts of Fin Shephard (Ian Ziering) and his now-pregnant wife April (Tara Reid) to save the day by any means necessary -- and those means are usually completely ludicrous and over the top, in true B-movie style. The "plot" of these movies is always the same, and only the locations change: This time it's the entire eastern seaboard that's under attack, with most of the action centered in Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Florida.
Is it any good?
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! fully embraces its so-bad-it's-good status as a camp sensation and wastes no time getting to the action. The first "sharknado" touches down before we even hit the 10-minute mark. The problem is, after three installments of these movies, the schtick is losing some of its bite. The filmmakers were clearly aiming to make a cheesy movie, and in that regard they succeeded brilliantly. The cast is rife with washed-up, Z-list celebs giving stiff line readings, and as with the previous go-rounds, there are cameo appearances from a surreal array of completely random folks including Ray J, Jerry Springer, Ann Coulter, Chris Jericho, and even disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner playing the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- probably the closest he'll get to a government position again.
The special effects in Sharknado 3 are so low-quality that you'll see more realism in almost any modern video game, and they actually appear to use stock footage in several parts -- and even show the same footage more than once. There's also far too much time spent showing off corporate logos and overselling Universal Studios as a terrific theme park, which could have been better spent on more action, laughs, and B-movie shark butchery. And though we all know that most folks choosing to watch a film like this aren't looking for believability or to find a new Emmy contender, the question is whether the schtick still has sea legs now that the novelty's wearing off and we know exactly what to expect.
Talk to your kids about ...
Did the scientific aspects of this movie seem to have any basis in reality? Could flying sharks really happen?
Did the characters in Sharknado 3 always make smart decisions? What could they have done differently?
Was the violence in this movie funny because it was so over-the-top and unrealistic? How would the tone of the movie change if it weren't being played for comedic effect?
- On DVD or streaming: October 6, 2015
- Cast: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, David Hasselhoff, Bo Derek, Frankie Muniz
- Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
- Studio: The Asylum
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Ocean Creatures, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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