We’re looking at two sequels for this latest Journal, which is also Day 5 in our new series, “31 Days of Spooky Stuff.” Of these two, one isn’t really horror and the other forces me to divorce myself from a long diminishing franchise before it can hurt me again.
The Best – Reserved for the absolute cream of the crop.
Highly Recommended – Very good. Far better than your typical film and one that I will remember for some time.
Recommended – Just what it says. This is a good film and earns a recommendation. Don’t think that because it’s not one of the top two categories that these films aren’t worth your time. The “recommended” tag is a winner and nothing to sneer at.
Barely Recommended – The middle of the road. Those films where I didn’t feel it was a complete waste of time, but it didn’t set my world on fire either. Not bad, but leaves me feeling bored and/or apathetic.
Disappointing – Close but no cigar. Does a few things right but is ultimately a whole lot of wasted potential. Not recommended.
Awful – A bad movie. Pure and simple. Not worth your time.
The Worst – The Britta Perry of ratings, though not as entertaining. The bottom of the barrel.
What was the film trying to accomplish and how well did it meet those goals?
In addition to (or sometimes despite) that, how does the film hold up on sheer entertainment value?
FILM GEEK JOURNAL – ENTRY 69
(31 DAYS OF SPOOKY STUFF – DAY 5 – OCT. 5, 2013)
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 (2013) – I know. It’s not a horror film. It does qualify as spooky stuff though. I’m sorry, but if you say you wouldn’t be scared by an army of pickles coming after you, I’m going to have to call you a liar.
This sequel picks up immediately after the original film, with the island of Swallow Falls having just stopped the food machine (don’t expect me to spell what it’s called). A shifty scientist shows up and promises to help clean up Swallow Falls if Flick (Bill Hader) comes to work for him. But Flick doesn’t get very far trying to impress his childhood idol, until the elder scientist tells him he must return to the island in order to find the food machine, which is still working and is now creating some strange wildlife. Before you can say, “Wow, this is a pretty transparent rip-off of UP,” Flick and his friends return to Swallow Falls to discover an island full of giant living food. What Flick refuses to acknowledge is that the scientist is just using him to advance his own plans.
I was not a big fan of the first CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS. In fact, when I first saw it, I hated it. I grew to sort of like it though over the past couple years, where I wound up watching it again with the niece and nephew. When this second one starts out, the results aren’t much better than my first impressions of the previous installment. It seemed like it was a dumbed down film for kids with very short attention spans, hence all the jumping around. But once they get back to the island, things start looking up. The film gets pretty darn clever with its visual design and subtle gags. The film also has something important to say about not blindly following someone else at the expense of your own common sense. It was a nice touch that the villain of the piece, Chester V, has only really created one invention and has just been re-inventing it over and over again for the last twenty years. All of his other inventions serve only to insulate him and protect his one spark of greatness, contrasting with the overactive imagination of Flint.
Unfortunately, Chester V is also the film’s downfall. For all the subtle touches the writers have put into the character, Will Forte’s voice performance coupled with the predictable storyline makes him a thoroughly uninspired villain. He threatens to bring down the entire film, but fortunately there is still enough here to make for a decent time. Barely Recommended.
TEXAS CHAINSAW (a.k.a. TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D) (2013) – Of the many films to be associated with the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE moniker, we’ve had sequels, remakes, prequels and even a film that seemed to be a bit of both. This time, we have what looks to be a follow-up to the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, pretending that the original batch of sequels never existed I suspect.
After her escape from the Sawyer family residence (Saw-yer, get it?), Sally alerts the police who descend on the house with the family still inside. Of course, it’s a completely different family than the one we’re used to, including women and even a baby. I guess the series has less continuity than a season of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS at this point. Unfortunately, a group of stereotypical rednecks show up to blow the house to bits and burn it to the ground, much to the consternation of the police. Of course, they aren’t prosecuted, though they are expected to help with the cleanup. Wait, what?
Years later, Heather (Alexandra Daddario) finds out that her abusive family aren’t her real parents. She was in fact the baby of the Sawyer family and was saved by a couple rednecks. She goes to Texas to collect an inheritance from her real grandmother who has just passed away (again, what?). She of course ignores all the warnings and goes to Texas with her friends to collect the inheritance. What she doesn’t know is that she’s about to be reunited with another survivor of the fire, Leatherface.
TEXAS CHAINSAW (originally released to theatres as TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D) is easily the worst film to carry the moniker. And when you consider this puts it in the same company as LEATHERFACE and RETURN TO THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, that’s really saying something. It’s a completely illogical, by-the-numbers, horribly scripted and acted entry in the series. It’s a blight on the series and draws comparisons to FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V: A NEW BEGINNING in the field of high-profile slasher disasters.
Tobe Hooper’s original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is the perfect horror film. It’s scary even when nothing overtly scary is happening on screen. It has a feel to it that everyone, including the director himself, has attempted to emulate for nearly forty years without success. A few of the follow-ups were entertaining in their own right (particularly Hooper’s campy epic follow-up). But this latest film is everything that the original was against. It even seems a waste that the filmmakers wasted time and the batteries on their digital cameras making this trash. Avoid it at all costs. The Worst.
Number of films covered in the Journal so far: 298
Miss any of the previous Journal entries? Check them out here!
And tune into my new web series, Moviocrity! New episode now available!!!