Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tremors 2: Aftershocks

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!


Tremors 2: Aftershocks – 4 out of 5


The Graboids are back!!!

No me gusta!


Tremors 2: Aftershocks has a special place in my heart because I use to watch this one A LOT!!!  Back after its release in 1996, this sequel was aired often on HBO and, as a young man about to enter high school with no hopes of ever attracting a female, I took breaks from playing video games and Dungeons & Dragons to watch movies (I know, me watching movies? Unheard of, right?) and Tremors 2 was one of the films I watched quite often.  The first of several sequels to Tremors, this movie is one of the few sequels that holds its own with the original in the entertainment department.  While Tremors set the stage, Tremors 2 did a great job of continuing the story and the mythology of those dastardly Graboids.

Look at those flowing yet slightly refined locks Ward is sporting!


Graboid guts...worst part of the job.
After the events of the first film, Earl Bassett (Fred Ward) has settle for the quite life as…an ostrich farmer (yeah, an ostrich farmer).  He and Valentine ended up becoming celebrities for the Graboid fight in the desert and Earl has decided it’s time to put that life behind him…so, he decided to breed ostriches? (eh, it’s what I would do…I think)  However, the trouble with those ravenous worms is far from over as an oil refinery in Mexico suddenly finds themselves hounded by the creatures.  The refinery’s owner seeks out Earl (with the help of a Graboid fanboy; Grady Hoover, played by Christopher Gartin).  Reluctantly and thanks to lots of dollar signs, Earl agrees to help the man rid them of their Graboid problem with Grady tagging along beside him.  He soon recruits his old hunting buddy Burt (Michael Gross) to help him and Grady.  Along the way, they believe they discover the roots to the Graboids’ origin but discover that the beasts are evolving and are no longer confide to being underground and now can run on top of the soil…Damn you, Darwin and you’re evil evolution!!!

"Are those Graboids doing it?"


It’s rare that I find a sequel on the same level as the first one and even rarer that I find a sequel superior.  While I didn’t find Aftershocks better than the preceding film, I do really enjoy the movie.  While it stinks that Kevin Bacon didn’t come back (and I’m not upset that Reba McEntire didn’t come back), Fred Ward does a great job of carrying the film…granted with the help of the 90s stereotype that is Grady and Michael Gross returning for another film (but, realistically, what else was Gross doing?).

It's like the 90s itself had a baby and it was Grady.


This film also shows the first foray into some computer effects for the Graboids.  After the worms evolved into their new stage--the stage with legs that allows them to run on the surface rather than burrow under the ground--puppet effects could only work for the close up shots (and those puppets on the close ups look good, by the way!).  Even in 1996, computer effects were still a new thing in Hollywood and not the epic spectacle that has become so common place to the point it’s expected to have good CG effects like it’s expected that there will be a montage to bad pop music of girls trying on outfits and/or hats in a romcom.  While the CG effects are few and far between and reserved only for when the new Graboids (called Shriekers due to the fact that they…well…shriek.) are running and leaping, the computer effects, albeit not up to today’s stands, hold up surprisingly well.

Awwww...look at the adorable little death machine!


Dammit, Gross, now is not the time to take a nap.
The evolution that the Graboids take is also a great change for the franchise and one of the aspects that makes this horror/comedy series work as it keeps it fresh and stops any spoilage from forming due to regurgitated storylines.  With the beasts on the land, our heroes have to form new strategies to fight them and things change as the Shriekers are, like their worm-like previous appearance, are blind but, in a change up, are now deaf.  Instead of hunting by sound, these new Shriekers hunt by heat thanks to a new appendage at the crown of their skull-like head and since we humans are walking, talking space-heaters, Earl and the crew quickly find themselves over their heads…then they find out that the Shriekers breed asexually after they’ve consumed enough food.  If they weren’t over their heads before, they now find themselves over-er their heads (yeah, “over-er” is a word I just made up).

Hey, an explosion!  As a man, I'm genetically programmed to like these!


Like the first film, Aftershocks is just a fantastically fun film that takes itself just serious enough where it won’t make you roll your eyes while watching it.  Continuing where the previous one left off, this one is a blast to watch as its story is solid, the characters are quirky (great word I don’t use enough of) and it’s funny.

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