Review: 'Sharknado: The 4th Awakens'

By guest writer Zack Walsh

The Sharknado franchise sits in a very special place in the collective hearts of America. In 2013, the SyFy Channel premiered the first film in the Sharknado series, and more than any of their countless other original movies, this one took off. There was something about the simplicity of the concept that really struck a chord with audiences. “A tornado is filled with sharks. It is a Sharknado.” We were sold.

In response to the overwhelmingly positive online response to the first film, SyFy commissioned a steady stream of sequels, one dropping annually each July. So far, each film in the saga has outdone its predecessor in terms of its sheer ridiculousness, and I am happy to say that this summer’s instalment, Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, continues this trend, and is in many ways, the biggest, dumbest, silliest Sharknado of them all, and I loved it!

The new film takes place five years after the events of the last movie. America is sharknado free, thanks to new technological advancements by Astro-X, a brilliant new company that has helped push us ever closer to a Jetsons style future. Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering), our hero through this series, is now retired, having hung up his chainsaw when Astro-X took over the shark-tornado killing game. But when a new kind of sharknado defies our new tech defenses and suddenly appears over Las Vegas, Fin is thrown back into his old life of fighting once more.

I have to say, this movie really surprised me in many ways. The plotline was clever and appropriately big and silly, the effects were of a much higher quality than the previous three films, and the plot had some actually surprising twists sprinkled throughout it. I think I had more fun watching Sharknado 4 than I did any of the previous three.

That being said, the movie is not without its faults. As with all the other films in the Sharknado cannon, it is not very well paced and is a bit longer than it should have been. Additionally, while a lot of the jokes, cameos, and references are really fun, many fall flat or are met with groans. My biggest complaint though, is the way the movie handles its characters. So far, all three sequels in the series have changed characters’ traits and personalities left and right to service the story, sometimes going so far as to recast actors or straight up not include characters in a movie at all. This trend made it actually kind of difficult to keep track of who all the characters are, and what they’re relationships are to one another, which made it hard sometimes to enjoy the crazy scifi nonsense as much as I wanted to.

All things considered though, the latest Sharknado is exactly what it needed to be. This is an absolutely insane movie that must be watched to be believed. If you think a movie titled Sharknado: The 4th Awakens is something you would have fun watching, chances are you’re right. However, if you already weren’t interested in the franchise, this movie is absolutely not for you. Personally, I think the series just keeps getting better, and I can’t wait to see Part 5!

4 out of 5 Guttenbergs