Mark Dinning bemoans the falling standards of modern shark movies
I love a shark movie. And by that I mean I really love a shark movie. And I don’t just mean the classic ones, like Jaws and… Okay, so that’ll just be Jaws then.
Truthfully, I can find things to love in pretty much any shark movie. Even the one where LL Cool J explodes one in an oven. And the one with Simon MacCorkindale in it that people have generally forgotten about so much that Jurassic World just shamelessly ripped it off and no-one even bothered to notice.
And the sort-of-shark one where Bo Derek gets her leg bitten off. And I especially like the one where the shark is out for revenge (tagline: This Time It’s Personal), chasing an old lady across oceans to pay her back for all the times her family have blown up, electrocuted and grenaded its predecessors in previous movies.
I even like Shark In Venice. Although that’s maybe because I just like Venice.
Even I, however, am struggling with this new, ahem, wave of shark movies. You know the ones. The ones that seem determined to pair sharks with other things. Like giant octopuses. Or weather systems.
This came to a head last night, as I was watching a live blog from America – where else? – that was taking place simultaneously with the TV premiere of Sharknado 3. (It’s out in Dubai cinemas now.)
Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that this is a series of movies that has never taken itself seriously. They made that instantly apparent when they cast Tara Reid. Even so, as I watched US citizens react to the plot on social media I was gobsmacked. Here are some excerpts from a genuine conversation on Twitter: ‘Baby in a shark!!!!!!!!!!!!! (There aren’t enough exclamation points for this.) Also – how did she get undressed to have the baby and get re-dressed again, all while in a shark?!’
‘How can the sharks survive in space?’ ‘DID I REALLY JUST SEE THAT!?!?’ ‘My friend just made $2,865 working from home…’ ‘What just happened?!?!?’
‘Most unrealistic thing about this movie? Her lack of pain and what happened to the umbilical cord?’
‘She used a shark tooth to cut the umbilical cord, STUPID!!!’
That’s right. From what I can ascertain – and if for some reason you’re ever going to watch this movie then please stop reading now – Sharknado 3 climaxes in space, with a pregnant Tara Reid getting swallowed by one and then delivering her baby inside it, before they both make good their escape thanks to her laser-chainsaw hand (because apparently she has one of those).
Who is to blame for all this? The people who make these movies, or the people who pay to see them? I’m not sure. But I’m working on it. And, in the meantime, I’m off to watch Jaws 2 again. They sure don’t make ‘em like that anymore. Mark Dinning is our editor, and the only person we know who enjoyed Jaws: The Revenge.