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: The 4th Awakens is a 2016 movie and, like most fourth movies in any film franchise, really has no justifiable reason to exist. While the cheesy dialogue and over-the-top shark attacks are to be expected, what might not be expected for families is the frequent product placement. Xfinity, NBC, Uber, and Chippendales are referenced for no real reason except as advertisement. While older kids and teens will see the ludicrous unreality of both the story and the obvious CGI blood and gore from each sharknado attack on humanity, some of the scenes of sharks eating people will be too much for younger and more sensitive viewers. Sensitive kids might also be disturbed by scenes in which (spoiler alert) the wife of the lead character, thought to be dead in the last Sharknado movie, is reanimated as a half-human, half-android sharknado killing machine.
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What's the story?
SHARKNADO: THE 4TH AWAKENS begins five years since the last Sharknado attacks, and Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) wants to have a peaceful life on his ranch in Kansas. But when he goes to Las Vegas with his cousin Gemini for a family reunion, things go terribly wrong. Aston Reynolds (Tommy Davidson), the CEO of Astro-X, whose technology helped stop the previous sharknados, opens a Vegas hotel that's surrounded by a moat with shark-infested waters that interacts with a sandstorm, creating another sharknado filled with ravenous sharks in pursuit of humanity, including Shapard's son Matt. As Fin and his family try to escape Vegas, the sharknado seems to pursue them eastward, wreaking havoc on everything in its path (and even throws a house in the direction of Chicago, where it lands on and kills the mayor and evolves into everything from an "oilnado" to a "firenado" to a "cownado").These manifestations of the sharknado are scary enough for Shepard and his family and Astro-X, but as it moves ever closer to a nuclear power plant, it's up to Fin -- with the help of a surprise special someone from his pas t-- to put a stop to the sharknados once and for all.
Is it any good?
The self-awareness of the Sharknado franchise has grown beyond tiresome and played-out, and this sequel should inspire a resounding "Enough!" from the general public. While the premise and the story is as cheesy and ludicrous as ever, what was once entertaining for its own sake has become as annoying as all the celebrity cameos and obnoxious product placement throughout Sharknado: The Fourth Awakens. It offers no new entertainment value that hasn't already been delivered by the previous three, and there's never been enough depth to any of the characters to make anyone care one way or the other about how they beat the sharknados this time.
The groan-worthy dialogue, the terrible CGI special effects, the scenes of the sharks in the sharknado killing humans in a variety of stupidly entertaining ways -- these elements are all still in abundance. But the cynical self-awareness of making a "so bad it's good" movie such as this, and to do it for the fourth time, cheapens not only the entertainment value of the movie itself, but also of the entire franchise. Like most fourth movies in any franchise, the Sharknado series has, well, jumped the shark.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sequels like Sharknado: The 4th Awakens. Why are they made? Why are they almost always so much worse than the original movie that started the series?
Why do some movies and television programs contain what amounts to commercials for products within the action of the movie or show? Should this be allowed to happen? Should product placement be off-limits to movies marketed to kids?
How does the violence play into the absurdity and deliberate comedy of the overall story? How does the violence compare to other "monster" or "disaster" movies?
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