Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vc-JlFpXLn8 

Thoughts Before I Hit Play: I was expecting to find out that April was either dead or alive. Either she’s dead and they have to move on, dealing with a sharknado wherever they end up for vacation, or she would have survived and become a whole ass cyborg and maybe be a bit more useful. Also, I thought Nova might use the knowledge and research she had been doing the entire time she wasn’t in the second movie to figure out what was causing the sharknadoes and maybe even stop them entirely.

I had also hoped that because of our encounter with space sharks from the last film, the tie-in with “The 4th Awakens” might mean the movie had something to do with the Star Wars series.

Synopsis: Anthony C. Ferrante let his too-much gene do the work in this film. five years after the last sharknado came crashing down on the “Feast Coast,” another kicks up in Vegas. This time, they have the tech to stop it, but the sharknadoes are smarter than that. There are cyborgs, barrels, sci-fi, and everyone everywhere adds “-nado” to whatever they can.


Main Meat:

If you’re familiar with YouTube legend Jenna Marbles, you know she has something called a too-much gene. I firmly believe Anthony C. Ferrante has one as well and, until now, has stifled it. Space sharks wasn’t enough, neither was flooding the ocean or sharks on a plane. This movie topped them all. In true Vegas fashion, this movie had too much, too fast, too hard and so far, is my least favorite of the series.

Now, this is something I’ve been able to keep a relative secret, but these movies are so confusing, I often have to resort to reading the wikipedia plot summary to recount the main meat portion of these reviews. This one is no different. As a matter of fact, I had to read it a few times over because it still didn’t make sense when I read it the first time. I even had to back up what the Wikipedia page said by checking it against the fan-made wiki over at fandom.com.

I think what this movie was trying to do was take a sharknado and have it tear through the mid west. I say “I think” because the only way we were told what state we were in was thanks to a few seconds of text at the bottom of the screen. To be honest, I was too preoccupied with the movie to pay attention to where we were and the text was there for such a short amount of time, by the time I realized it was important, it was gone.

To further evidence the too much-ness of this film, we’re thrown reference after reference to iconic movies such as The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, and Terminator. There’s even a nearly three minute scene dedicated to making fun of Baywatch.

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So, this movie happens 5 years after the events of the third movie. As far as Fin, his mom and his son Gil know, April is dead. Fin has essentially retired from…I guess being a bartender? We have no idea what his job was besides mooching off the success of April’s sharknado survival guide after he leaves L.A. But that doesn’t really matter because now he lives on a farm in Kansas with his mom and Gil. He’s named his farm April’s Acres and apparently random relative, Gemini is in town and/or has been living with them this whole time. It’s literally never explained. Neither is her relation to Fin. At one point he calls her “cousin Gemini” but we’re unsure if that mean’s she’s his cousin or Gil’s.

Gemini has dark, curly hair, a curvy figure, wears all black, a tight crop top, and isn’t afraid to kick sharks in the face. Sound familiar? Probably because it sounds exactly like Nova, but for some reason she’s in Paris during the events of this film. I’m thankful the writer gave us a new member of Fin’s family rather than a re-cast of Nova entirely, BUT it’s so clear that they were trying to replace Nova in this film and she just wasn’t available. I would have much rather seen a new character that fights off sharks in her own way and has an actual personality. Gemini’s few lines of dialogue paint her as a confident young woman that prioritizes family and is always looking for ways to be helpful. There’s no depth to her character and the scenes she’s in are often devoid of importance to the main plot.

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In the last five years, some guy named Aston Reynolds. This tech mogul, based on Elon Musk, according to the Wikipedia page, is played by Tommy Davidson, also known for his work on In Living Color, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and The Proud Family. Aston founded something called Astro-X that is connected, in this film, to something along the lines of space travel and also the dissolution of water-based sharknadoes. Aston was able to travel to space with his new program and rescue the Colonel who, apparently, had enough oxygen and resources to survive on the moon for several years after the space sharks I guess…nudged him over there? Whatever. The Colonel didn’t die at the end of the last movie and I forgot to mention that. I think I said he was eaten, but he wasn’t. Whatever. Moving on.

The other half of Astro-X is this technology that uses radio waves to disperse sharknadoes. Apparently this has caused the complete eradication of sharknadoes for the last five years.

The movie itself as well as the fan-made wiki and the wikipedia plot summary are all fairly vague about what happens next. I think the gist of things is that Fin and Gemini head to Las Vegas to celebrate the wedding/return from Iraq of Matt and his new wife, Gabrielle.

I’m going to mention here that I really love the fact that Matt doesn’t marry Nova. Yes, the movie touts her as some un-achievable man-eater, BUT she’s also a strong, independent woman who has yet to actually settle down with anyone and all the evidence we have that she’s after Fin or any other dude in the franchise is from other women like April and Claudia that see her as a threat because she’s confident and knows what she wants out of life.

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So, Matt (who, by the way, is now played by hunk-of-my-childhood Cody Linely) is on a plane with his new bride. They’re tying the knot and about to skydive because they were both pilots in the military and it’s cute or whatever.

They’re all staying at this hotel that Aston opened that features a huge tank on the front filled with sharks. Don’t worry, I’m not going to take the time to lecture you about why sharks can’t be kept in aquariums, let alone a giant glass tank on the front of a gigantic hotel…but they can’t. The reason it’s there is because it makes the story 100% more interesting since, what happens next is that a massive sand storm kicks up and turns into…you guessed it, a tornado.

The sharks from the hotel tank, of course end up in the vortex and spin wildly through the air as the newlyweds drop from their plane, not at all risking their lives because they’re both shepherds now. Of course, because this wouldn’t be a sharknado movie without it, a bunch of stuff is destroyed and the sharknado continues to ravage the rest of the city.

Because the sharknado is made up of more sand than water, the zap Astro-X delivers to it doesn’t do shit. So the thing keeps on rollin’ right through the midwest.

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Here, the film switches gears a bit. We learn that April isn’t dead and is in fact, 3/4 more cyborg like I joked about in my last review. I honestly was prepared to be wrong and there would be some ridiculous sharknado at a funeral to start this film off with. But no, apparently, though the interim between this and the third movie should have had it’s own film because it seems a hell of a lot more interesting than the drivel they served us here, some shit went down in the last five years.

When April was smushed by the wreckage of that space ship, she was declared brain dead and what was left of her body was sent to the hospital, sat in a bed, and kept alive while she was in a coma for, what I think I picked up was 4 years.

After the Colonel was rescued from the moon, he was hired by Astro-X to work on a weaponized mech suit in San-Francisco. We have no idea why anyone needs this suit considering they already assumed they had fixed the sharknado problem entirely, but that’s neither here nor there. Thankfully, we have one for this movie so Fin in his Bionicle robot suit can use mega-chainsaw arms to kill the flying rock/fire/oil/sand sharknado…yeah, I know…we’ll get to that, don’t worry. Claudia, still seeking to be a relevant character in this franchise, spends the film carrying around a manila folder and wearing a very classy business woman outfit. Apparently she has something to do with the mech suit as well and keeps urging the Colonel to get it to Aston ASAP once the sand-nado hits Vegas. We never find out what her role in the film is other than to loo drop dead gorgeous and professional.

Wilford, one of the head scientists helping the Colonel with his mech suit,  happens to be a never-before-mentioned character. He’s April’s father. Through an odd montage in which they speed up Tara Reid doing normal workout things and show a stunt double with a bad wig running for her, we learn that April is now a whole ass cyborg. Wilford took her from the hospital, told her family she was dead, and used his tech-savvy brain to bring her back to life as a bionic woman that keeps making Terminator references. For the last five years, both Fin’s family and April thought she was dead, to the point where, somehow, some communication wires were crossed and little Gil lived the first few years of his childhood thinking his mother was a shark.

After the weird wedding of Matt and Gabrielle, the family heads back to Kansas to try and live their weird lives in peace. Because this is Sharknado we’re talking about, the team watches as the sand-nado follows them down the tracks, hitting oil mines and destroying the Hoover Dam on it’s way turning the thing into not only a sharknado, but also a boulder-nado, and later on, an oil-nado that then becomes a fucking fire-nado. And let me tell you, Fin had nothing to do with naming these abominations. This time, it was all Al Roker’s fault. 

Once the dam is destroyed, Aston, trying to become the hero of an already established franchise, decides to use his technology to force the water from the dam to flow into the Grand Canyon. Once the train is safely at a station in Arizona, Fin and Aston meet for the first time. Aston kinda sorta regrets what he did, but not really, and wants Fin to be the one to tell the press that he’s sorry and it was all an accident. Fin basically says “fuck you dude” and peaces out to Texas to get some chainsaws.

The way I just wrote that isn’t because I want to skimp on details to keep this review shorter, that’s literally how the next few minutes of the movie happen. Here is also where Fin meets Dog the Bounty Hunter and two characters from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise that I didn’t recognize because I’m a bis wuss, is sold a chainsaw that looks like it was made by Nerf, and the sand-nado becomes an oil/fire-nado. He quickly realizes the wimpy chainsaw won’t work, so he picks up some kind of giant piece of construction equipment that looks like a giant chainsaw. He uses that to deal with a few of the sharks, but because chainsaws, no matter their size, can’t help you when sharks covered in rocks fire, and oil are falling from the sky.

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A few other “-nados” pick up in San Fransisco to keep things interesting and we get to see the full extent of April’s abilities. She’s kinda sorta useful now and at one point, even saves her daughter and father-in-law from what’s deemed a “hail-nado.” The small team then go back to confront Wilford about keepin April’s existence a secret for so long.

Here there are a couple of weird things that happened.

  1. The mayor of Chicago takes on the persona of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. She wears ruby shoes and black and white stockings. I understand that they wanted to make a Wizard of Oz reference, but I feel like they could have done it in either a better way, where the movie mirrors that film, or in a way that pays homage to the series without making it look stupid.
  2. Remember in the trivia section of the first movie where I mentioned that some guy named Steve Gutenberg was originally picked for the role of Fin Shepherd, turned it down, and then regretted it so much he took on a role in another SyFy original called Lavalantula? Well, I guess the directors wanted to throw him a bone because in this movie he appears with a self-driving car called Christine that helps Fin and the rest of his Scooby gang get back to April’s Acres in Kansas to save Fin’s mom and Gil. I just thought it was a weird way to rub salt in the wound of this poor guy that made a huge mistake. Maybe it was his idea, but I don’t know. I’ll look into it for the wrap-up episode.

Once the team makes it back to April’s Acres, the tornado picks up some cows, becomes a cow-nado, and the sharks start attacking them mid-air causing not only devastation outside of the storm, but inside it as well. There was a lot of missed opportunity here to include gore, but no one did it. You could have had cow bits flying here and there, made a full on blood-nado, but no. There was little to no gore in this movie.

In the maelstrom, Gabrielle dies, which makes her the first Shepherd to perish in the entire series so far. Normally I wouldn’t mention it, but she was a woman of color and is the only exception we’ve seen to the immortal rules the Shepherds seem to have so far. Yes, she was related by marriage, but still…if April’s mother can make it through what just happened in Orlando, Gabrielle could have easily survived this.

Whatever the case, it’s an intense storm that somehow picks up their house and lands them, on top of the wicked witch mayor, in Chicago.

The entire team eventually meets up, April gets to meet her kid for the first time, and for some reason they’re all on a plane for like 5 scenes. I don’t even remember how they got on the plane, why the plane was necessary, or why they crammed all of the emotional baggage that should have had it’s own movie into these plane scenes.

The tornado rips through even more shit, adding lightning and radioactivity the things we can slap “-nado” onto. So, in case you’ve lost track, this is a sand/shark/boulder/oil/fire/lava/hail/cow/lightning/nuclear-nado. Did you get all of that? Not to mention the fact that the sharks are all radioactive now and still covered in boulders.

Eventually, we find out that Astro-X does, in fact, have a way to dismantle the sharknado….to use the technology they already have, but suck some water up into the sharknado so that the sensors will read that and dismantle the monstrosity. You know, like they probably could have done at any point, but decided not to. Because the sharknado is so large by now, Niagara Falls is the only body of water large enough to work for what they need in the path of the storm.

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At the same time this is all being revealed, the mech suit is revealed and of course, after his father is swallowed by a radioactive shark, Fin jumps right in and kills as many sharks as he can with it’s giant chainsaw arms at the edge of Niagara Falls. Now, that is a sentence I never thought I would write.

Apparently the mech suit can also remove all of the radioactivity from the sharknado, so it does that too…yeah I have no idea. Wikipedia is my only hope at this point and even their description is incredibly vague.

At this point, April is actually helpful now that she can fly, shoot lasers out of her hands, and has a fucking light saber attachment where that shitty mini chainsaw hand used to be. So she’s doing what she can while the storm is ripping through Niagara Falls and whatnot.

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As everything comes to a point, the sharknado disappears, the radiation is absorbed my the mech suit, and April saves her son from a barrel which is a horrible reference to the multiple people that jumped over Niagara in a barrel and fucking DIED. In the stretch of about a minute, each member of the family is eaten by a shark which is then eaten by a larger shark, then eventually a fucking whale, because why not!?

Gil, the only surviving member at this point, runs to his family’s rescue by grabbing a tiny chainsaw from a stone and slaughtering the whale and sharks within it’s guts, rescuing his family members one by one.

By the time they reach Fin, who is inexplicably free from the mech suit, he doesn’t have a pulse. Thankfully, two tiny sharks are nearby and April is a cyborg. She plugs some jumper cables into her and then the tiny sharks, rubs them together, defibrillates his chest, and revives him with the help of the Colonel.

As the group breathes their sigh of relief that the whole thing is over, the fucking Eiffel Tower flies towards them out of literally no where and lands in the wreckage that once was Niagara Falls.

Atop the fallen tower is none other than Nova.

I didn’t realize this until I read the Wikipedia page, but apparently this was meant to represent that the sharknado issue is far from over and has now gone international, so I can’t wait to see where this goes. All I know is they better not replace Nova for the next one.


Year Released/Director: 2016, Anthony C. Ferrante

Rating: Nope

Horror Ratings png

Favorite Death: There both was and wasn’t a lot of death in this movie. You have your regular, run of the mill, someone gets eaten by a flying shark death, but overall, no one important really dies besides Gabrielle and we’ve already talked about how that’s not even close to being a favorite. I guess it made me laugh when all those cows got sucked up into the vortex and were eaten by sharks almost immediately, but otherwise, I don’t really have a favorite.

Funniest Part: hands down, it has to be the part where April uses two tiny sharks and her own mini jumper cables to bring Fin back to life at the end of the movie. It’s such an absurd thing to include that, of course, would be in this movie.

What they did right: There wasn’t much I liked about this movie, but I did appreciate the fact that they changed up the main sharknado threat a little bit from water based sharknadoes to literally every other viscous thing that could be made into one. I also liked the futuristic aspect of the story. It was cool that Astro-X was a huge company that made sharknadoes basically obsolete. I would have appreciated some integration with Nova, Lucas, and their awesome van, but I’ll take what I can get.

Thoughts from Interviews:

Apparently the fans were asked to determine the fate of Tara Reid’s character at the end of Sharknado 4. I had no idea! The first helpful interview I found stated that they pitted the hashtag #AprilLives and #April Dies against each other and let the fans decide.

Tara, herself, spoke about the event on the Today show.

She said she was terrified that everyone would want her to die. It was and interesting interview as well because Kathy Lee Gifford was a guest cameo in the movie as well. They then played a very weird game and it was over. I’m telling you, these interviews are absolutely the worst ever.

In another interview, I was personally called out by Ian Ziering when he told a reporter “You think too much about these movies, and if you do that, you’re really going to get lost. You just gotta experience it and let it go.” Clearly I never should have started reviewing this series because all I do is overthing them. Good thing my overanalizing skills come off as satire!

I love at the end of this one in particular we get to see the diva side of Ian. The reporter starts off with saying he doesn’t want to introduce him because he’ll get his name wrong, tells the dude he overthinks the series too much, then begrudgingly answers a question he obviously hates and leaves by dropping the mic. He’s truly a professional and I sincerely hope he lands more roles after the Sharknado wave passes…see…see what I did there?

Trivia:

I found out Ian Ziering is a daddy blogger and has two super cute kiddos. I found an interview where he chatted with someone about parenting and simultaneously did a plug for GoodNites diapers. We learned that he was a bed-wetter, that his youngest daughter’s first three-syllable word was “sharknado” and that he has the forced smile of a politician. 

So, Kim told me about this before I watched the series, but didn’t tell me what movie it’d be in, so I just have to include it here because it’s awesome. When Fin and Gemini arrive in Las Vegas, they see a Chippendale’s dancer, who asks Fin if he’d like to be a guest host at the club. This is a nod to Ziering’s real-life guest stint at Chippendale’s in Las Vegas.

First movie in the franchise where Ian Ziering is also billed as co-Executive Producer in the opening credits. Fun fact they didn’t mention here, but Tara Reid was also billed as a co-executive producer.

Petunia Watch: We see Petunia in this movie in the very apt Texas country store where Fin buys, then discards a brightly colored chainsaw to try and defeat the mega-nado with.


Last Post: Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

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