Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tremors 4: The Legend Begins

***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 4: The Legend Begins – 3 out of 5

Okay, I wasn’t as big of a fan of Tremors 3: Back to Perfection as I was with the first two.  I didn’t hate the film; it just wasn’t as good as the other installments.  However, it was still fun to watch.  So, can the fourth and final installment (like the 3rd, I never previous saw before I reviewed it for the blog) be a great addition to the series or be an utter failure?

Is that prospector guy checking out Michael Gross' ass?

Like Back to Perfection, Tremors 4: The Legend Begins is a Direct-to-DVD release that came out in 2004 and is a prequel to the entire franchise, taking place in 1889 on the land that would eventually become Perfection, Nevada—then called Rejection Valley (Better name for a town than Intercourse, Pennsylvania or Mianus, Connecticut).  The town is small and completely dependent on the silver mine it has but when an accident hatches the Graboid eggs buried there, they soon find their town on the verge of drying up…and all those there dying.  The owner of the mine, Burt Gummer’s Great Grandfather; Hiram Gummer (Michael Gross), arrives to figure out the problem at the mine and get it back into operation.  Unprepared for the trouble that is the Graboids and being the complete opposite of his future grandson (basically, he’s a man of privilege and is incapable of firing a gun), he hires a gunslinger to help with the issue by the name of Black Hand Kelly (Billy Drago) but Hiram will soon learn that he needs to take responsibility and take on the Graboids himself…

Hanging on for dear life to a telephone pole while a giant underground worm is working
its way to eat me...funny, a psychic once told me that's how I'm going to die.

I have to say it…this one was better than the last one and a great addition to the series.  Making the film a prequel in the Old West and seeing the Graboids in this era of American history already puts many points in the film’s favor.  Also, like the previous films, the movie has a great story going for it, great characters filling up the town of Rejection Valley and, while not as funny as the previous films, it’s still fun to watch.  Finally, the film cleans up one of my biggest complaints of the last film: the use of piss poor computer effects.

"My mustache is sensing trouble..."

One of the things that aggravated me the most about Tremors 3 was it veering away from practical effects and utilizing more computer generated effects.  The problem being is that the film was clearly on a low budget and the effects looked awful.  Plus, it’s hard to replace the near nostalgic feel that comes with seeing the Graboids as puppets and rudimentary animatronics.  And did I mention that the computer generated Graboids in the last one look like giant penises?  Because they did…I’m sure Freud would have something to say about that.

This film also covers the amazing singing voices of the Graboids!

The Legend Begins, because it doesn’t deal with the more evolved portions of the Graboid (the second stage being the Shriekers and the final stage being the fart propelled flyers called Ass-Blasters) and deals solely with the ground dwelling worm variety, the film--smartly--returns to practical effects to sell the monsters and relies on CG effects very seldom.  Seeing the Graboids as physical beings in the scene (with far greater mobility than they’ve had in previous films) helps the film feel a part of the series and less of a low budget Direct-to-DVD release you’ll see in your local Wal-mart’s bargain bin.  Even the times that CG was required, those effects were much more refined than what was seen in the previous film and even the few CG scenes used in Tremors 2.

The look of a man who just caught a glimpse of a giant penis while taking a leak.

Something else I really enjoyed was getting to see a newly hatched Graboid.  If you’ve followed the series, you know we got to see them as giant worms in the first film, then they moved on to their next stage in their life cycle as two legs land walkers called Shriekers in the second before becoming flying beasts in the third film already pregnant with an egg for the whole thing to start all over again. The problem is we never got to see a baby Graboid but this one provided it for us.  Maybe it’s just because I’m a fan of the series but seeing the widdle guys right out of the eggs and eager to bury in the ground and start feeding on anything that moves was pretty cool.  The reason for my single status is never lost on me.

Awwww, look at the little killing machine!

Overall, Tremors 4: The Legend Begins is a fantastic addition to the film series.  The movie doesn’t over-do the whole prequel thing by offering up origin stories for every character that’s been in the series but focusing only on the Gummer family was a nice touch.  The movie also offers up a reminiscent feel for the first film as the situations in the story are similar and, in this process, offers up nice nods and winks to the one that started it all…including a store in Rejection Valley being called “Chang’s.”  While I didn’t find the film to be as laugh out loud funny as other films in the series, I did really enjoy it and found it to be an improvement on the last movie.

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