You know, franchises are a funny thing. There are the good ones, and there are the bad ones. “Tremors 3: Return to Perfection” is a solid example of what happens when good franchises go bad. While I thought the first Tremors was a great romp in a campy, fun adventure sort of way, “Tremors 2” began a downward spiral and this third film is just sad.
The flick starts off with a bang. Our main character, Burt Gummer, explains the entire history of the Tremors flicks to a news reporter-and the audience-then gets trapped by Screamers, the small, walking Graboids (big worm monsters). Many many (MANY) bullets later, all the screamers are dead and Burt stands alone, victorious. Then it comes to his attention that due to a new law passed, the Grabboids are now protected as an endangered species, and so they take his guns away. This of course will come back later in Act 3, hint hint.
So now Burt is back in Pefection, Nevada, and doesn’t like what he sees. Turns out that Desert Jack, a local country boy with an entrepreneurial mind has taken up Graboid Adventure Tours. With the help of an “assistant” Graboid-aka, a guy with a fire extinguisher full of dust-he leads tourists on an “adventure” of sorts for a fee. Burt isn’t happy about this, and is even more distressed about Chang’s Market, which is now into Phase 3 of its Product Identity, selling Graboid dolls, lunchboxes and hand puppets. This, sadly, is as original as the film gets. Cute gags and semi-clever dialogue fail to bring balance to the uneven pace of the film, as the movie shifts into overdrive then a dead stop time and time again.
This flick also features a new kind of Graboid, the Assblasters. Shooting fire out of their a*s-hence the name-they also have a very plastic-looking beak that opens and shuts, and splatter orange blood (can’t be red for the PG rating of course) when killed. When you can see the lights shimmer off the plastic, you get a real sense of what kind of production value went into the film.
But let’s discuss the PG rating for a moment. I can hardly believe that all of this cussing-I counted at least four “Sons of b*****s” two “God damns” and multiple “Dammits” and “S***s”-would still be viable in PG. Maybe it’s me being conservative, but I always envisioned PG as something you can rent for an eight year old and let him/her view it by themselves without worry. I’m afraid this just isn’t the case. The characters try to cuss as much as possible because…well, I’m not exactly sure why. It serves no real purpose and just draws attention to the horrid writing. It seems they swear simply because they think it will reveal “character” and will translate to “cool” on-screen. I’m not sure, but there’s something really creepy about the Family Ties’ dad saying “Sons of b*****s” every ten minutes.
Anyway, the plot goes through the motions of getting characters in tight, claustrophobic places (such as a Port-O-Potty), getting them out, and then blowing up the monster that was chasing them. Wash, rinse, repeat. It’s direct to video for a reason folks. The shoddy directing, the ugly cinematography, the acting that ranges from decent to just plain uncomfortable, the script that is…well, when the credits list three people-including one of the producers-as story contributors, you can just imagine what you’re in for. Let us pray there isn’t “Tremors 4” anywhere in the future.
VIDEO ^ In 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, Universal delivers a fine transfer. The film was shot very recently, so it’s no surprise the colors hold up well and there is very little edge enhancement to be found. Less than a handful of occurrences of shimmering and grain show up, though don’t expect show-off quality video here.
AUDIO ^ Only a 5.1 English track is available, and to be honest, it sounds like a 2.0 surround track. The bass is weak with everything is coming out of the center channel except in a few very brief occasions when a sound is panned from the left to the right. There for awhile I thought my surrounds had accidentally been cut off. Nope, it was just the shitty soundtrack.
There are subtitles included in English and French.
EXTRAS ^ Spotlight On Location (15:00) ^ Apart from the usual a*s-kissing, this piece does provide some decent insight into making a very tight budget flick-shot in only 22 days-into looking like it was made for much more. The usual interviews are here, praising everyone and assuring that nothing went wrong. What’s most interesting here however is the strange undercurrent of tension that seems to come from all the interviewees. They hint a few times at the uncomfortable shooting schedule, the pressure, and the budget many times. I can just imagine all the dirt that was left out of this fluff-fest.
Theatrical Trailers ^ Theatrical trailers are provided for all three Tremors films. Watch the first one, skip the others. Filmographies and Bios are also included, as well as some Production Notes
Overall a skimpy package for a dull movie. Not much in any department for this flick, it’s recommended for a rental by die-hards only.
Overall: * – 1 Star ^ MOVIE: * – 1 Star ^ VIDEO: * * * ½ – 3.5 Stars ^ AUDIO: *½ – 1.5 Stars ^ EXTRAS: * – 1 Star