Tremors 3: Back to Perfection – 3 out of 5
Unlike the other two Tremors films, I haven’t seen this 2001 Direct-to-Video sequel until recently. For some reason, when the franchise hit number 3, I said to myself, “Another sequel…that’s dumb” and never bothered seeing it despite how much I enjoy the last two. However, to my surprise, the movie, while not as good as the others, is shockingly decent and fun to watch.
|Giving you what the series lacked...crotch shots of Michael Gross.|
Tremors 3 sees a Bacon-less and a Ward-less story and let’s Michael Gross’ character take the reins as Burt finds himself a Graboid hunting machine. The movie opens with Burt after returning home to Perfection, Nevada from Argentina on a successful Shrieker hunt. Perfection is now riding the high and suckling on the teat of the Graboid as a tourist destination--even though the species is all but extinct. Burt discovers that a man named Desert Jack (Shawn Christian) has started a tourist trap that is the Graboid equivalent of the river safari ride at Disney World. However, Burt quickly learns that the Graboids are NOT dead and that the ground still seems to be shaking with their hunger. However, as he tries to eliminate the menaces, the Government steps in and stops them because…the Graboids are a protected species!!! Well, the Government soon learns the nature of Graboids as they evolve to their Shrieker stage and, horrifyingly discover, that the Skriekers aren’t the final stage of the Graboids as they evolve one last time and take to the skies!
|"Where's the elephant that sprays the water at you?"|
Being the film was a Direct-to-Video release and the fact that this is the third in the franchise, I was extremely skeptical of the movie. The third film in a horror franchise (or a comedy/horror franchise or any franchise even) is the awkward movie that requires some major changes or the series will quickly grow stale. However, Back to Perfection doesn’t change much to the formula and, it is in that lack of change that keeps the movie entertaining without getting stale or tired. It’s even cool to see many of the actors from the first film return to the city of Perfection (sadly, not Kevin Bacon or Fred Ward).
|Poor Ariana Richards...first it was the Graboids, then dinosaurs and now Graboids|
again. This girl can't catch a break.
Unfortunately, this film does have some large detractors working against it. Most notably are some really poor computer generated effects. The last film saw a few CG scenes in order to get the Shriekers to move but there was some money behind it and the end result was not bad. However, the CG work on this film is barely passable. The new form the Graboids takes (affectionately called Ass-Blasters--I’ll get to that in a minute) sees these beasts take to the air (why not? They were underground, then above ground and now they're even further above ground now) and it’s hard to show those scenes with puppets and animatronics alone so computers were called in. However, due to a low budget, the end results were not very good but even worse, a single worm Graboid is depicted as a CG figure and it ends up looking more like a giant penis than a monster (but maybe that says something about me that I saw a dick and not a Graboid).
|I'm telling you, that is a cock--NOT a Graboid.|
There’s also some lackluster storytelling go on in this one, like the script wasn’t complete or key scenes were edited out to shorten the running length. This comes in the form of a “white whale” Graboid that comes into the film as Burt’s arch-nemesis. The worm ends up antagonizing Burt after he is informed that he can’t hunt the monsters and, periodically, the Graboid will be mentioned to be in the distance. On the surface, these element of the film’s story seems like it would be a big plot point (especially sine it plays a part in the film’s ending) but it feels thrown in here and there throughout the movie like the director forgot about this plot point and had to put it in there so viewers could, before the credits, go, “ohhh, I see.”
|Desert Jack looks like any generic bass player to any generic pop rock band.|
Finally, the Graboids themselves offer a unique dichotomy for me. The film explains the life cycle of the creatures and how they go from an egg to a worm before ripping open to become Shriekers and then sprout wings to become Ass-Blasters (I’m getting to that) before laying an egg and having the process start all over again. I found that interesting…however, the whole Ass-Blasters thing…
|Now we know why his last name is Gross! Eh? Eh? I'll hang myself for that|
They’re called Ass-Blasters because they gain flight by…farting. While the explanation how these explosive flatulents help them attain flight is actually well thought out and interesting, the fact that they fly from farting seems too bottom of the barrel for the Tremors franchise. I can’t help but wonder if the filmmakers bought that idea from Carolos Mencia or whatever other Nickelback of comedians out there who crave the easy joke rather than well thought out material.
|Sure they take flight by farting but how do they sustain flight with those|
There are many complaints to Tremors 3 but it’s really not entirely horrible. At its core, the spirit of the series is still there. The story, while not as good as the previous two, is still pretty solid, seeing characters from the first film is cool and it’s still pretty fun to watch even though you have to deal with bad CG and fart gags. But all the fart jokes (and there’s actually not many) are quickly washed away when something truly awesome and hilarious befalls Burt. For the sake of saving you spoilers, I won’t tell you but it’s pretty awesome! And that is also my way to get you to see the movie and get a kick-back from the studio. First I need to inform the studio I would like a kick-back and then I should get said kick-back!