HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Zoolander No. 2
HTS Overall Score:79
I don’t think that anybody ever thought that a sequel to the 2001 hit “Zoolander” would ever make it to market. In fact I don’t think anybody really WANTED one either. Not because the movie was bad, but because it wrapped itself up so neatly and the inane humor striking home was such a seeming stroke of luck and fate that any attempt to duplicate the hit would just result in a complete and total failure. Sadly that’s EXACTLY what happened here, as the film directed and co-written by Ben Still prove that lightning very rarely strikes the same place twice. The trailers gave away the fact that “Zoolander No. 2” was skating on thin ice with the obvious homage to the first movie, but it’s a different time and stupidity can only take you so far, as the box office sadly proved. There are some funny spots to the sequel, but 4 times out of 5 the jokes just fell flat and the movie veers off course to an ending so ridiculous even Ewe Boll winced and turned the other way.
The last we saw Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller”, he was happily living with his wife Matilda (Ben Stiller’s real life wife, Christine Taylor) and their young son, Derek Jr., when his dream center for kids who can’t read good and wanna learn to do other stuff good too collapses and kills Matilda. Being a complete and utter moron, Derek can’t function in society without Matilda’s help and soon the state takes his son away from him, sending the model into retirement as a hermit crab (Zoolander’s own words). After years and years of solitude, Derek is pulled out of retirement by Alexanya Atoz (Kristin Wiig), the world’s greatest fashion Mogul after Mugatu (Will Ferrell) was sent to prison. Thinking that he can get the state to allow him access to Derek Jr. (now played by Cyrus Arnold) if turns his life around, Zoolander meets back up with his old nemesis/friend Hansel (Owen Wilson) and set off on a journey across the world to bring back Zoolander’s son.
Simultaneously, Fashion Interpol agent Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz) tries to get Derek to act as a secret agent and root out a killer who is slaughtering all of the world’s celebrities. Celebrities who are found dead with Zoolander’s famous “Magnum” look on their faces. While the dynamic duo are stumbling across the globe with about as much panache as a bunch of washed up old models can muster, it becomes all too clear that the world is not done with Derek Zoolander, and that same world is not done with Mugato either.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=71409[/img]“Zoolander No. 2” is a ridiculous piece of work that comes about 12 or 13 years too late and about a dollar short. I was worried going into the film, but actually started to really enjoy the movie until the first 25 minutes were gone. Up until that point I was chuckling a good bit and laughing pretty hard at the viciously pointed jokes that Stiller was making about the fashion industry. While “Zoolander” prided itself on making fun of models, “Zoolander No. 2” is even harsher on its take on the entire fashion industry and how it has changed. We have a new fashion mogul by the name of Don Atari whose entire take on fashion is how everything is stupid, blending in poignant jabs at the hipster mentality and expanding on the Derelict joke from the first movie. The highlight of the movie actually stems from Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays a pansexual model by the name of “All” in which he completely stabs and jokes at the ridiculousness of the model and his “all inclusive” lifestyle.
However, after the first 20 to 25 minutes the movie just goes downhill fast. The jokes fizzle and lose steam and you’re just sitting watching the screen feeling bad for the actors. We have crazy children with and adult’s face CGI’d over the top (somehow this is supposed to be a joke) and a crazy story about the fountain of youth and how a descendent of Steve (there was supposedly Adam, Eve and Steve in the garden of Eden) and how Zoolander and his family are descendants of this family. A special gift that allows them the power of beauty, but also the curse of being hunted by the fashion industry so that they can drink his blood and gain youth forever. All of this culminates with a ridiculous fight scene in an underground lava pit that leaves you bashing your head against the floor screaming “why god? Why?!”.
I have to give credit to Stiller. He fought for years to get the movie made and it shows in his effort. He tries so very hard to be as dumb and lovable as he was in the first “Zoolander”, but his efforts in script writing are so bad and so poorly directed that his efforts are wasted. What started out as a decently funny script just fell apart with what seems to be a case of trying too hard, can can’t seem to rise up out of the horrible pit it fell in. There are some funny jokes, but they are few and far between, and the copious cameos don’t do much to help (really, there are like 300 cameos in the movie, including a return of Milla Jovovich and a dozen or so people from the actual fashion industry).
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, a scene of exaggerated violence, and brief strong language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=71425[/img]“Zoolander No. 2” manages to be another stunning Blu-ray encode, following along in the footsteps of other day and date releases. Shot on Arri Alexa cameras, the digital photography looks crisp and clean, with bright cheery colors and a rather warm tone to the image. The outdoor shots look fabulous, with great detailing along the roman architecture and the close in shots carry a stunning amount of clarity with the lines and creases on the aging model’s faces showing up with pinpoint accuracy. Sometimes the contrast looks a bit hot and the whites showed a bit of blooming, especially in the scenes where Zoolander is trying to win his son over with a day trip in Rome. Black levels are deep and silky, with no signs of black crush or any digital imperfections from the shadows and deep blacks. Basically put, “Zoolander No. 2” is a near flawless encode that shines on Blu-ray without any major artifacting or artistic decisions to bring down the “pretty” factor.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=71433[/img]It seems that more and more studios are jumping on the DTS:X bandwagon, as this month as churned out quite a bit of titles that are employing Dolby Atmos’s competing object based format. While the film is technically a comedy, “Zoolander No. 2” is a great example of not conforming to the stereotype of having a front heavy comedy track. In fact, it is one of the more bombastic and dynamic comedy tracks that I’ve heard in quite some time. The movie lets you know within the first few minutes that it isn’t your average track as the rushing snow storm outside of Zoolander’s cabin rages on with a fully immersive sound, and the jump to Rome with the botched fashion show pounds away with heavy club music that lights up all 8 channels (or more if your receiver can decode DTS:X) with a storm of activity. Even when the music isn’t cranking the surrounds get a LOT of activity, ranging from the sounds of Mugato escaping from fashion prison to the chirping of birds in the pristine part where Zoolander and Derek Jr. are trying to have a father/son moment. The LFE is tight and crushing, with a throbbing power that would make many an action track green with enjoy. There are times when the audio is a bit front heavy, but those moment’s don’t last long and certainly aren’t the norm.
• The Zoolander Legacy
• Go Big or Go Rome
• Drake Sather: The Man Who Created Zoolander
• Youth Milk
As much of a “Zoolander” fan as I am, the fact that “Zoolander No. 2” just couldn’t grasp what made the first film funny is a huge disappointment. The jokes fell flat a majority of the time, and while Ben Stiller seemed to really give the role his all the completely inane humor just couldn’t strike the same funny bone that he made famous so many years ago. The audio and video are certainly fantastic, but the extras and the movie itself leave a LOT to be desired, giving me the sad sad duty of having to give this two thumbs down. Just run away from this one if you can help it.
Starring: Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller, Kristin Wiig, Will Ferrell
Directed by: Ben Stiller
Written by: Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS:X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 Core), English DTS Headphone:X, Spanish. French, Portuguese DD 5.1
Runtime: 102 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 24th 2016
Buy Zoolander No. 2 On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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