Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 30-Jul-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Featurette-Spotlight On Location
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Tremors; Tremors 2: Aftershocks
Production Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 99:20
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:21) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Brent Maddock
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Michael Gross
Shawn Christian
Susan Chuang
Ariana Richards
Charlotte Stewart
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Kevin Kiner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    After Tremors 2: Aftershocks, I was somewhat dreading having to review Tremors 3, especially when I discovered that Fred Ward, the most endearing man in the original besides Kevin "I've got a career now" Bacon, was not returning for this sequel. Still, I took heart in the fact that the biggest lunatic of the lot (which is saying a lot for this cast), Michael Gross, would be reprising his role as Burt Gummer. I was also extremely happy to find that, as the secondary title Back To Perfection suggests, numerous cast members of the original would be back. Thankfully, a certain character from Tremors 2, a hyperactive adolescent by the name of Grady Hoover (Christopher Gartin), is nowhere to be found.

    Those who have seen Tremors will recall that it is about a newly-discovered race of giant worm-like creatures which burrow through the ground and eat any poor sod who is unlucky enough to be in an accessible area of the surface when they feel peckish. Numerous questions would doubtlessly have been asked about where the Graboids, as they were eventually named, came into being. In Tremors 2, we found out that Graboids burst open after a certain amount of time and turn into Screamers, which walk on the ground in a similar manner to emus and hunt by body heat. This new sequel introduces us to a new genus which flies in a manner that is similar to a certain kind of beetle, and is given a name that only the residents of Perfection could come up with.

    The story begins with Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) demonstrating his latest toy in the fight against Graboids and Screamers for the benefit of the Argentinian press. Once this is completed, he returns to Perfection, where he has been spending numerous dollars on Graboid-proofing his home, and we are soon introduced to some new faces as well as some familiar ones that have aged by eleven years. The returning faces include Miguel (Tony Genaro), Mindy Sterngood (Ariana Richards), and her mother, Nancy (Charlotte Stewart), as well as a hilarious cameo from Melvin (Robert Jayne), who now wants to buy out Perfection and turn it into a real estate development. Unfortunately, after becoming complacent due to no Graboid attacks for much of the past eleven years, the strange rumblings in the ground begin once again. With the aid of a local tour-group organiser named Jack Sawyer (Shawn Christian), Burt sets off to wipe out the new Graboids by fair means, foul means, and the most completely ludicrous means possible.

    Unfortunately, Nancy made a call to some rather moronic government types who promptly inform Burt and his crew that no Graboid hunting can be done because they are an "endangered species", so the town will be sealed off and the people will be forced to move. With the aid of Walter Chang's niece, Jodi (Susan Chuang), the hunters propose to capture one of the Graboids alive for study, which will satisfy the government types enough so that they won't have to move. Unfortunately, they soon discover a third stage in the creatures' evolution, and one that explains their cycle of life in full detail (a little implausible, but that's the style of the franchise). Of course, with people wanting to develop Perfection or use it as a hunting ground, the race is on to see whether the threat to human life in this sleepy town can be eliminated once more. Suffice to say that the ending will have you laughing at its irony.

    As I have mentioned, I enjoyed this film far more than Tremors 2, and I have little hesitation in recommending the DVD over the original Tremors due to a much better transfer (not that Tremors was bad, just not that good). Shawn Christian is a much more endearing actor than Christoper Gartin, and Melvin is well... Melvin once again, so sit down with a bunch of friends and enjoy the B-grade thrills.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Tremors 3 defies the rule of transfer quality being the reverse of plot quality by having the best transfer in the franchise. It is not quite reference quality, but unless you're as fussy as I like to be, it's close enough.

    The transfer is presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it is 16x9 Enhanced. It is true that this film was shot with video in mind, but the widescreen image shows some meticulous scene compositions, and I am glad they were presented to us as they were obviously intended.

    This transfer is sharp; sharp enough that individual grains of dirt are often visible, and the placement of very small items such as a watch into a lump of dirt make perfect sense visually, so top marks in this area. The shadow detail is a little lacking, with some dark scenes having little detail in them, but they still make sense, so that's good enough. There was no low-level noise on offer.

    The colours in this film, in keeping with the previous two Tremors films, reflect the setting in isolated desert environments where there is an abundance of browns and earth tones. The colours in this film are noticeably more brightly saturated than in the previous two films, and the original especially. Of course, the neon colours of the Graboids' blood are on offer here, too, and all elements of the colour scheme are well represented with no artefacts on display.

    MPEG artefacts were not noticeable in this transfer, which has been allocated a healthy amount of space on this disc. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some very minor and very isolated instances of aliasing. The two most objectionable examples appear on a car at 15:03 and the side of a building at 91:11. These were so minor that they would be pretty much invisible on anything less than an eighty centimetre display, assuming your sharpness is adjusted properly. Film artefacts were found at occasional points in the film, ranging from minor to moderate in size, but these never became a real distraction.

    The subtitles on this disc are marked as being straight English, but they contain numerous audio cues as well as the dialogue (which varies slightly from the spoken lines). Hearing impaired viewers will appreciate them, I'm sure.

    This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change taking place at 65:21, just after Shawn Christian says "lots of choices". This is an acceptably placed layer change that is mildly noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The previous two Tremors films were encoded on DVD with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtracks, but Tremors 3 has a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Unfortunately, apart from the subwoofer being discretely encoded into the soundtrack this time, it does not make a great deal of difference.

    There is the one soundtrack on this DVD: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384 kilobits per second.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at almost all times, with the only mild exception being when the actors shout their dialogue as part of an argument. I don't think anyone will really have a problem with this, however. There were no obvious problems with audio sync.

    The music in this film is credited to Kevin Kiner, and it is a suitably quirky effort that, while not doing anything to distinguish itself from other B-level science fiction films, does an admirable job of supporting the onscreen action.

    The surround channels are mildly used to separate music and the occasional roar from the rest of the soundtrack, but otherwise this is a very frontal mix, with little, if anything, to justify the discrete encoding. This is a pity, but it still makes an improvement over the distinctly monaural sound that I'm sure the VHS version would suffer.

    The subwoofer, on the other hand, was used to support numerous effects in the film, such as the Graboids burrowing underground or various pieces from Burt's arsenal. While it is used in fits and starts, it does an excellent job of supporting effects that need it without becoming conspicuous.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static, silent, and 16x9 enhanced. It is nicely themed around the film, and a breeze to navigate.

Featurette - Spotlight On Location

    A warning first: do not, repeat, do not watch this featurette before seeing the main feature, as it will definitely spoil one of the best surprises (and possibly a few others) in the film. This fourteen minute and forty-four second featurette is presented in the aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with occasional film footage in 1.78:1 and a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

Trailers

    Three trailers are presented under their own menu, one for each episode in the series. All of them are presented in the aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. It is actually wrong to call any but the Tremors trailer a theatrical trailer, as the other two films are straight-to-video efforts. The Tremors trailer runs for one minute and forty-eight seconds, the Tremors 2 trailer runs for one minute and fifty-three seconds, while the Tremors 3 trailer runs for one minute and fourteen seconds. The last of the three trailers makes two distinct references to this film being available to "own" on DVD-Video and VHS, which will certainly embarrass the distributor, considering the current rental status.

Production Notes

    A brief essay about the making of the Tremors series, with some interesting comparisons between the making of episodes one and three. It is worth reading once.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    Biographies for Michael Gross, Shawn Christian, Susan Chuang, Ariana Richards, Charlotte Stewart, Tony Genaro, Robert Jayne, and director Brent Maddock are presented under this sub-menu. They are a little too cursory, but have enough basic information to satisfy mild curiosity.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    It seems that there are two lots of conflicting information about this release. The online retailers have it that the Region 1 version of Tremors 3 is a Full Frame transfer, while Widescreen Review state that the transfer is 1.85:1 with 16x9 Enhancement. Since Widescreen Review are a much more reliable source, it would seem that the two versions are fundamentally identical other than their current sell-through status.

Summary

    Tremors 3: Back To Perfection is everything that Tremors 2 could and should have been, with loveable characters, hilarious dialogue, and some absurd situations that make me wish more films like this one were being made. If you only invest in one of the Tremors films, then this is the one to get, at least until the original is re-released with a 16x9 video transfer and a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix.

    The video transfer is borderline reference quality.

    The audio transfer is very frontal, but very good despite that.

    The extras are light, but still very good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Sunday, March 17, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySamsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer

Other Reviews
region4dvd.net - Darren R (read my bio (fun for the whole family))
The DVD Bits - Damien M
DVD Net - Vincent C

Comments (Add) NONE