Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: Critters 2: The Main Course (1988)

What's that you say? Easter is over? Well, yeah, of course it is. It was great too. I got to eat some tasty food, watched some MST3K, despaired over my crippling loneliness...you know, general holiday things. Wait...you're saying I should've already covered this movie then because it actually takes place on Easter? An Easter movie on Easter? Now who's being silly here, really?

Probably the guy eating the inverted chocolate cross with listening to the soothing sounds of Dragonforce.

Honestly, yeah, the idea did enter my head that maybe Critters 2 would've been a better choice to review on Easter Sunday. But I didn't because I really wanted to review Critters first so I could talk about my all-consuming lust for the rugged good looks of Don Keith Opper. I won't rest until you people accept his glory into your hearts, minds, and pants. I will sing his praises until my breath gives out, dammit!

Truly, he's better than we deserve.
Setting my adulation for Mr. Opper aside, the first film was a very fun little movie that rolled out of the Gremlins copycat craze, taking on a life of its own. And while some have often spoken badly of the sequels, are they all really that bad? Seeking to answer that question, I decided that rather than waiting until next Easter, I said "fuck it" and set out to bring you folks the answer you deserve. As such, I'm going to be covering all three sequels. What will I cover for Easter next year? Something else.

I'm sure I can think of something appropriately awful to cover.
Jumping into our first sequel, we see Charlie, Ug, and Lee all together as bounty hunters in space, battling a rather ugly practical effect. This tells us immediately what became of Charlie in the aftermath of the previous film: he went to space. As a kid, I have to tell you that I didn't see that coming. Goofy, lovable Charlie went to space and became a bounty hunter? It seems so. That's pretty cool, really. Charlie went off to become this bad-ass hunter of dangerous alien menaces! Yeah! Go Charlie! Quick, ruin it by showing off a dumpy looking alien!

The alien from Without Warning really let himself go.
Said dumpy alien is apparently their boss and informs them that the Crites are apparently still alive on Earth and that maybe they oughta look into doing something about that before a bunch of people die. It is a holiday, after all. But we also find that he feels like he might not belong there, questioning whether he's really cut out for that life, even voicing his concern about Ug and Lee possibly leaving him on Earth. Ug reassures him of his place as a hunter and that he has no intention of abandoning his friend. It's actually kinda touching.

I suddenly have the urge to write Charlie/Ug slash-fiction.
While that happened, on Earth our other hero enters the small town of Grover's Bend, where things got wild and wooly when the Crites last caused a ruckus. And guess who our other hero is? Why, it's the kid from the first film, Brad! Except he's a bit more grown now. He also has a mullet, because it's 1988 and they want us to remember that, dammit! It seems that after everything that happened, the official story is that he made it all up, with him and his family moving away and the sheriff being voted out of office. That's a bummer, but I suppose it's hard to really buy that there are killer alien porcupines rolling around eating people and cattle. Anyway, Brad is back to visit his grandma for Easter, because Scott Grimes is the only one that would come back for this sequel. It's a shame, because I was really hoping his annoying sister would get eaten this time.

One day you'll pay for your crimes against Billy Zane...
Brad also has a girl he grew up with who has a rather subtle crush on him. You know, subtle in the same way that shitting your pants when a T-Rex is about eat you is subtle. But, what about the Crites? Surely they're eating people by now, right? Well, no, as they're still inside eggs, as they've been shut up in a rather cold place. Luckily for them (and no one else) they're found by the local burnout who promptly sells them to the local sleazy shopkeeper for some beer. It's funny, because there are times when I swear this is a little too honest about how young people in the country can actually do incredibly stupid things for alcohol. And, because we have to tie this all together, Brad's grandma buys the eggs to paint for the Easter festivities. Also she's a vegan who gives a little girl and awful bunny made out of carob. That, right there, is far worse than the little spiny bastards that will soon been munching on townspeople.

Even the Crite that hatches won't touch it. A being that eats literally everything. That says it all.
The Crite there does hatch and, without ever even thinking about eating the carob bunny, fails in its attempts to eat the girl's fingers and toes. It promptly then gets accidentally stepped on by her dad. Poor little guy, his short life really sucked. At least he got to hand out with a Madball before he died. But yeah, things start downhill from here. The new sheriff, while playing the Easter bunny, gets eaten by the Crite babies in one of the best scenes ever, and Brad figures out that maybe it's time to try and find out where those eggs came from. It's not much help to go talk to the shopkeeper though, as he's already been eaten by the baby Crites that hatched in his shop. Oh well, his prices were shit anyway.

His dog tasted delicious though, so maybe they'll give his place a good score on Yelp.
Brad tries to seek the help of the former sheriff, but he's getting the fuck out of town because he's smart. But help does arrive in the form of the bounty hunters, resulting in Brad reacting with shock at seeing Charlie's new vocation. Finally, there's hope! And Lee turned into an attractive naked woman, so there's also that! But, Lee still has issues, leading to him turning into lots of other people too. Like the nerdy guy who flips burgers. Some Crites get killed, people start to realize Brad wasn't lying about them, and Lee almost turns into Freddy Krueger. All seems right with the world...until Lee gets brutally killed by Crites in an ambush, causing Ug to recede into himself to the point where he loses all identity and becomes useless. Well, shit. A plan is made though after the sheriff comes back. They'll lead the Crites into a place full of meat, then blow it up with them inside. That should work great, right?

It would've if the Crites didn't discover the ability to pull a fucking Dugtrio on everyone.
Yeah, they all survive by rolling together into a giant ball. If you want a jump the shark moment in this movie, it's probably this. But really, it's a pretty awesome moment too. Seeing them run over people, stripping all the meat off their bones, leaving nothing but a bloody skeleton is easily one of the most entertaining things to behold in this entire series. Next to the Easter bunny getting eaten, it's probably my favourite scene in this movie. How will our heroes stop this rolling ball of death? The truth is nothing seems able to stop it as it rolls towards where most of the people are, as the Crites are eager for a nice buffet. It's a good thing this movie has Charlie, who shows up with the bounty hunter ship, declaring that he's a bounty hunter, as he flies it into the giant mass of Crites, causing a rather large meaty explosion.

The bounty hunter manual refers to this as the "Michael Bay Maneuver".
 Ug regains his sense of self, taking on the form of Charlie to honour his dead friend, but it turns out that Charlie survives too, as he shows up the next morning dragging a parachute behind him. It really does boggle the mind why more heroes don't eject when doing similar self-sacrificing acts. Charlie stays on Earth as sheriff, Ug heads to space wearing his buddy's face, and Brad probably gets him some booty. Grover's Bend, on the other hand, probably takes a rather hostile stance towards all porcupines from that point onwards. The end!

"Boooooo! That ending is shit! We demand a Hulk Hogan cameo!"
As the first sequel to a personal favourite film, it's not bad. True, it doesn't have the same charm as the first movie, but it's still a very fun ride throughout. Seeing people getting eaten is always entertaining and the giant ball of Crites, while silly, really makes it apparent that this movie never wanted to be taken seriously. It's a straight up send up of more serious alien monster movies, giving us aliens who constantly laugh and emotes more than some of the actors in their gleeful rampage across the small country town on display here. It's also nice that the filmmakers were able to get some of the actors from the previous film to return for their roles here.

I suspect someone different may have played Lee though. Call it a hunch.
In the end, while it really is a very silly movie...it's kinda meant to be. The first one had a fair bit of silliness to it and for this to up that ante a bit wasn't all that strange. It's a pure schlockfest, true, but it never set out to be anything more than that. It succeeds at being what it wants to be and I enjoyed every second of it. My only gripe is that we didn't get to see Lee turn into Freddy. Then maybe we could've seen Freddy in space. What a novel concept, right? So, until all the internet critics unite into a massive ball of rage and bile, tearing apart the countryside, I'll be here eating tacos because it's dinner times and I am as hungry as a Crite. Later days, bleeders.

Transform and roll out!

No comments:

Post a Comment