Plot: What’s it about?
I’ll confess that I was never the biggest fan of the original Zoolander. I realize the film has its fans, but I was simply never one of them. I like both Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, but I found the experience of watching that film more than a little painful. The title character irritated me beyond belief, and I simply couldn’t get behind him. The original film opened in the fall of 2001, shortly after the 9/11 tragedy. And here we are almost fifteen years later with a sequel that I suppose someone deemed necessary. Stiller and Wilson return to their respective roles as does Will Ferrell. New to the sequel this time is Penelope Cruz in a supporting role, but you’re either going to be on board with this sequel (assuming you were a fan of the original) or not. Unfortunately, I fall into the latter character. Since this is basically a carbon copy of the original, sitting through this sequel felt like a chore.
The film begins with the murder of pop singer Justin Bieber (not kidding), and he sends off one last selfie before his death. The look he makes is nearly identical to the “Blue Steel” trademark set by Derek Zoolander (Stiller). This attracts the attention of Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz). We get a recap of what happened to Derek and Hansel in the years since. Eventually, Valencia enlists the help of Derek and Hansel (Wilson) who initially refuse, but agree to help in order to reconnect Derek with his Son. There’s a sinister plot to exterminate Derek and Hansel. We also get more of Jacobim Mugatu (Ferrell) and his escape from prison. Don’t think too much on the plot as it’s merely an excuse for mindless antics between Derek and Hansel. While this is mostly a laugh free affair, there are occasional moments of wit. I enjoyed some of the asides with Derek and Hansel and with Derek’s son, but they’re few and far between. Very little of this sequel works. Pacing is also an issue as the film takes a good bit of time getting us up to speed on the characters and their history. Let’s hope this is the last we see of Derek Zoolander and his pals.
Video: How does it look?
The film isn’t quite as colorful as its predecessor, but the transfer is still top notch. Details are strong and colors nice and bold. Background shots display strong details as well. The print shows no flaws. Fans will be pleased with the results here. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.40:1 ratio.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is one of the few titles that sports a DTS X track, though I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not equipped to handle a “next gen” audio format. That said, we get a DTS HD track as well and it delivers the goods – as expected. Dialogue is fine and crisp with moments where the rears kick in. There’s nothing particularly demo worthy here, but it presents the film as it should. The bass kicks in during some of the action moments as well. Fans will be pleased.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- The Zoolander Legacy – Various members of the cast reflect back on the first movie and the thoughts to make another. They talk of the first one being released so close after 9/11, the lack of a big box office and some of the casting that held this sequel back nearly 15 years.
- Go Big or Go Rome – Stiller regales us with his thoughts on shooting in Rome, how they’d already “been there, done that” with New York and his warm reception in Italy.
- Drake Sather: The Man Who Created Zoolander – Various talents (Judd Apatow) discuss this early 90’s dark comic who was the inspiration for the character of Derek Zoolander? How, you might ask? He was one of the co-writers for the 1996 VH-1 Fashion show and wrote the script for what would become one of Ben Stiller’s more memorable characters.
- Youth Milk Beauty Ad – Ok, I have to admit that this one had me laughing my ass off. This is a 90 second faux commercial promoting some sort of beauty cream. Kristen Wiig is the star/narrator who tells us of the rich, natural ingredients all the while looking about 80 years old. Her accent is so thick, even the subtext can’t pick it all up. I watched this about 4 times. You can view this on YouTube.
The Bottom Line
A pretty lifeless affair, Zoolander 2 simply feels like too little, too late. The film goes through the motions with hardly a genuine laugh in sight. Stiller and Wilson are far too talented for this nonsense. I think even the diehard fans of the original will be letdown here. Skip it.