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The Tremors series seemed to run out of ideas on the second
installment, so the idea that we are sitting around discussing a fourth
is quite absurd, to say the least. Nonetheless, the fourth in the
series may well be the best aside from the original, which is one of
the most surprising things I've ever seen myself type. Perhaps the big
secret here is that the series has never taken itself too seriously,
which is certainly a plus in comparison to other series, where the
sequels never seem to realise how bereft of ideas they are.
Tremors 4 takes a completely different tack to its three predecessors
and sets itself a couple of hundred years in the past. Before the town
of Perfection became Perfection, it was known as Rejection (ha ha).
Burt Gummer's great-granddaddy, Hiram, was a wimp who held guns in much
the same manner that many of us hold dead fish. Contrary to the
impressions of the other films, Rejection was a silver town with a mine
owned by the aforementioned Hiram. It seems that when the miners stop
work due to fear of being eaten, it eats into profits, and Hiram comes
out to see what is scaring away the workers.
As with the last three films, the cast is strictly low-rent, with
Michael Gross and Billy Drago forming the most recognisable portion of
the cast. Indeed, Gross seems to be so comfortable in the role of the
Gummers that he barely seems able to portray anything else. Or rather,
he doesn't seem to just portray the character. For all intents and
purposes, he is the character. Which is certainly a great change from
his days in Family Ties as the head of one of those saccharine families
that only seem to exist on daytime or early afternoon television. It is
just as well they placed the burden of the acting upon the shoulders of
a veteran like Gross, as the rest of the cast seems lost.
Tremors 4 also seems to return to the style of the original when it
comes to revealing the worms. Instead of having them constantly
attacking the populace through CGI simulation, much of their
interaction with the human cast returns to the practical effects and
trick photography of the original. The one shot in the film I noticed
that was obviously CGI only helps to demonstrate that simple off-screen
levers or cables still have a lot of usefulness left in them. The one
problem I have with the films to date is that none of the DVD-Videos
have been offered with a featurette that explains how these practical
effect shots were achieved.
Tremors 4 also marks the first time we get to see anything of the
oft-referenced Carson City. The city doesn't appear at all special, but
that's fine. Just inserting a view of the place is enough. Among
Tremors 4's weaknesses, on the other hand, are attempts to build up
suspense with danger to Hiram Gummer. As if the existence of Burt
didn't already make the resolution of such scenes clear. Another
problem is the constant debates about the next step in the residents'
plans against the worms. The recitations of homilies start to get
rather stilted after a while. There is also a bit too much repetition
of the noisemaking technique. To the credit of the writers, they do
manage to insert a few of the guerrilla-style battle moves that made
the first and third episodes so amusing. Thankfully, the idea that
Hiram Gummer could fight these creatures and Burt not have any idea
what they were is sort of half-explained towards the end.
In all, I gave Tremors 4 an eight out of ten. It isn't nearly as good
as the original, but it is a massive improvement upon the other two.
Here's to hoping that they manage to keep as many good ideas in a fifth
or sixth, although I personally would pay good money to see a film set
a hundred years from now with Perfection as a thriving city that is hit
by the worms. Yes, that was a hint.
Tags for Tremors 4: The Legend Begins Full Movie
, Brent Roam
, Michael Gross
, Sara Botsford
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