Monday, March 24, 2014

The Arrival II


I'm all atwitter about one last product line that I’ll be making available for Virtually Vicki , my new late-night cable infomercial. Now all of my many fans that cherish my exciting life can purchase products, which will allow them to replicate some of my unique style in the privacy of their own homes. My new glamour photos, courtesy of that photographic genius, Sadie Mae Glutz, crossed the desk of the Executive Vice President of GAC cosmetics. Several phone calls later and I have become the spokesmodel for a fabulous new line of beauty products for the mature woman.

In order to fully equate their products with my famous face and complexion, the chosen brand name is Lesterene . Lesterene make-up will deliver luxurious lashes, liquid lips and lovely liner, keeping the woman over forty feeling younger than springtime. I realize I am a bit young for this assignment as I am, of course, only thirty-nine; but I do sympathize with my slightly older sisters and will do my best to give them all a healthy glow without having to resort to Roman Candles and Mrs. Tuttle's Tapping Tots. Joseph and Madame Rose are working out the contractual details even as I type. I really will have to up their commissions from the current 2.7%, as they've been so helpful the last few weeks.

In between making lists of products to sell and working out appropriate tap routines to show them off to the best advantage, I did manage to slip off to the home theater for just a few minutes. My DVD of The Arrival , which I had viewed earlier, turned out to be a double feature with its sequel, The Arrival II located on the B-side. I flipped that little silver disc over and sat down to be again enchanted with mysterious aliens and bad hair.

Unfortunately, the makers of The Arrival II , previously responsible for such cinematic gems as Witchboard and The Night of the Demons appear to have only purchased the title and a couple of the dehydrated kangaroo costumes from the original, jettisoning anything and everything that made the first film work. I'm not sure who writer Mark David Perry and director Kevin Tenney are, but they should not be let anywhere near film making equipment in the future as further collaborations are likely to have grave public health consequences as audiences scramble for the closest theater exit.

The first film was a bit of a mystery. As this film starts with the premise that aliens are already among us, mystery was thrown out in favor of an inept chase/thriller plot. Charlie Sheen very wisely chose not to participate in this film and his character, Zane, has died before the film begins (supposedly assassinated by evil aliens but this is a little unclear). His family tree has sprouted a stepbrother, Jack (Patrick Muldoon) who is a computer programmer in Montreal. All hope of logic is squashed in the opening exposition. Jack talks fondly about his past life in Arizona (the first movie was clearly set in California) and no logical reason is given for his migration north and across an international border except for the budgetary concerns of the production.

Jack receives a package from the dead Zane one day, and doesn't bother to open it until hours later when he gets it home (more idiot logic). It's filled with sketches of the aliens and an outline of their nefarious plot. It tells him to meet others whom Zane trusts in a Montreal deep freeze. Jack, who is upset over Zane's death, gets drunk and has sex with his neighbor before keeping the appointment. (I'm not making this up. I swear!) In the meat locker, he teams up with Bridget (Jane Sibbett), a New York based reporter who's a bit like Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie in Sex and the City but with none of the charm and humor. Also present are a couple of disposable scientist types and an old mentor, Dr. Zarcoff (Michael Sarrazin). About a billion years ago, Sarrazin had a promising career, appearing in major roles in They Shoot Horses, Don't They and Sometimes a Great Notion amongst other films. I have no idea what happened but he looks thoroughly embarrassed in his few scenes to be appearing in such dreck.

An ambush, and one of those whirling super dustbuster vacuums familiar from the first film, interrupt the board meeting in the freezer. This one, however, while creating a vortex strong enough to pull bolts out of cement walls, only causes fly-away hair on the major characters, all of whom escape with no explanation as to how. Jack and Bridget are now on the lam, running from evil aliens and trying to stop their evil alien plans before the earth can be turned into a planetary desert retirement community. Jack and Bridget and the aliens must have some sort of unexplained telepathic abilities as they are able to chase each other all over Montreal and show up at just the right time, despite no knowledge or clues to each other’s movements.

The leaps in logic in the script are so preposterous that rather than sitting there and going 'How?' 'Why?', I was simply tempted to collapse into nervous giggles. The aliens supposedly have their own language (which sounds a lot like pig grunts) so, of course, every time they're alone they speak English to each other. The aliens have infiltrated all human institutions but are unable to intercept mail before it's delivered. Jack can figure out alien computers by twiddling a few dials, even though Zane 'got all the brains in the family'. The list of bloopers is endless.

Of course, films like this can be forgiven a lot if they have peachy keen special effects. This one, however, must have had its visuals processed at ILM (Irving's Light and Magic). I've never seen such cheesy blue screen and CGI. When we get to the grand finale and a power plant is destroyed, it looks just as though invisible fingers are disassembling a five hundred-piece jigsaw in slow motion. It's silly. Not to mention the fact that we’re supposed to be in the presence of forces strong enough to suck in concrete and our heroes stand there blithely watching, completely unscathed this time. There isn’t even flyaway hair.

As for the performances, let's just say that Patrick Muldoon didn't get the role due to his thespian abilities. He delivers his lines with all the depth of the husband in a Kal-Kan commercial. He does have a nice chest, however, and the filmmakers take several opportunities to get him out of his shirt. Jane Sibbett tries to give a performance but she's completely done in by the idiotic things she has to say. Michael Sarrazin phoned in his role from somewhere else. I'm fairly convinced that the producers couldn’t actually afford Michael Sarrazin and we were treated instead to a Michael Sarrazin hologram. The rest of the cast is non-entities who are likely to remain that way.

I cannot recommend this film to anyone, even adolescent girls who are fans of Muldoon from his soap opera days. Sitting through it is a lot like giving yourself a facial with a cheese grater, only more painful.

Alien artifact. Interspecies sex. Gratuitous naked lady. No gratuitous naked man. Train chase. Car chase. Foot chase. Alien hypodermic beetle. Gratuitous defenestration. Multiple broken windows. Alien space station corridors. Gratuitous flying stunt people. Engagement ring pawning.

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