If there’s one pop culture buzzword that can sum up the Summer of 2013, it’s…Sharknado. I need not describe the cultural impact the SyFy channel movie has had on the entertainment world and social media.
However, since I don’t have cable TV, I hadn’t even seen the film.
Fortunately, it was screened midnight on Friday night at 200 Regal Cinema Theatres across the country. And having already participated in the snark-nado on Twitter and Facebook, it was only appropo that I experience the film itself, so yes, I was crayzay enough to plop down $12.50 to watch this in a movie theatre.
And I didn’t regret it.
Some friends of mine on Facebook were planning to watch it as a group, and I was looking forward to loading myself up at The Yard House or Trader Vic’s beforehand, and staring some loud chants with the people in line (“When I say ‘shark,’ you say ‘nado!'”) but having already had a full agenda that night co-emceeing a Thai CDC vigil/event in East Hollywood and hopping on the Red Line to catch the last few minutes of the Songs In The Key of Los Angeles concert at California Plaza, hurriedly rode the Metro to L.A. Live (even tripped while running up the stairs at 7th St/Metro Center to get on the Blue Line, but I was too amped up with Stevie Wonder and Sharknado-anticipation to feel any pain). My friend Justin told me he got a ticket with another friend, but the main theatre had sold out already. I was hoping the second screen didn’t sell out, and was able to buy one at the automated ticket kiosk. It was also my first time at the Regal, such a tall theatre but a vital part of DTLA nightlife and its recent renaissance.
Just a few minutes before midnight, they let the 50 or so of us into Cinema 8, where we were greeted to “Sharknado” trivia (Did you know there were 400+ special effect shots in the movie?) and a music video of the movie’s closing theme song.
So here’s what I got out of watching “Sharknado” in a movie theatre (WARNING: Skip this if you don’t like spoilers):
– The movie unabashedly has tons of plot holes, continuity errors, bad acting scenes and ridiculously over-the-top plot devices. That said, it was still suspenseful enough to be entertaining. It wasn’t boring at all, and in fact, I’d never say that it “sucks.”
– Emphasized again, unlike truly awful movies like The Room, (which has been presented via screenings in a similar way), it’s still thrilling and fun enough to not be a letdown. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s everything you’d expect it to be.
– The film had a few scenes that looked like they were going to drag on, but when you realize they’re dragging, they soon redeem themselves (the school bus rescue scene, for example).
– The actual “Sharknado” wasn’t really as damaging or destructive as the shark flood.
– Yes, the film features spliced-in footage of typhoon storms hitting the Philippines (I could tell by the architecture of the houses), passing for Los Angeles. Heheheh.
– This movie is extremely selachophobic.
– No one actually says the word, “Sharknado” in the film.
– I’ve pretty much accepted with this movie that any film set in Los Angeles will always be geographically inconsistent (The end scenes feature the main characters near Van Nuys Airport witness a tornado spinning close to Downtown L.A.).
– Hey, it was filmed locally! Up yours, runaway productions!
– Cassie Scerbo = hawt.
– Even though the movie had Asian and Latino actors in speaking roles, there wasn’t a single black person in the film. Wassup with that? (Incidentally, the last film I saw, Chinatown, also set in Los Angeles, was the same way).
– When the actors recited the key lines (“I hate sharks…”) The crowd just screamed and cheered in the theatre. Yeah, it might have been sarcastic cheering, but still, it was fun.
– Some audience members even cracked comments in between lines and were responded by laughter in the audience…love that.
– Despite it’s shlock value, watching it in a theatre with several other people reminded us the fun and value of watching a movie on the big screen, as opposed to a TV or computer screen, or mobile device.
– The success of the midnight showings prove that one-off big screen events can be the wave of the near future in terms of entertainment. They’re natural money-makers (social media covers what marketing is usually spent on) and they bring a fun, live-performance-like environment. This could be a game-changer folks.
– I really would like to see this become the next Rocky Horror Picture Show. Thing is, will the world be all Sharknado’ed out by next year (Unless the sequel is just as good)?
– If it does, I only ask but one thing: Sharknado cosplay.
After the film, the audience was treated to a “Behind The Scenes” mini-documentary and a gag reel (which wasn’t as funny as the actual movie). It was kind of like watching a Sharknado DVD, except it was on a big screen, with a number of people present (everyone seemed to stay for the BTS and gag reel features though).
So there you go. Big props to SyFy (even though I can’t watch your network), The Asylum and Regal Cinemas for making this event happen.