Somehow, someway, the "Tremors" series continues. I've reviewed many a B-movie over the four years that I've been reviewing for this website, but there's been only one series - this one - that has really held up respectably. Although the idea of having a third in the series seemed rather silly, the third film continues the premise well, while still thankfully not taking itself very seriously. The idea of the first picture was simple, but effective. A small desert town is taken over by creatures that burrow underground and suddenly emerge - meaning that simply, you're not really safe anywhere.
The film continues the adventures of Burt Gummer (Michael Gross, playing a character that's a far cry from his portrayal of the father on "Family Ties"). After helping to wipe out the Graboid creatures in the second picture, this third entry has him wiping out the latest evolution of the creatures, called Shriekers, as the movie begins. But, of course, had he actually finished the job in the first sequence of the film, it would be a really short movie.
Burt returns to the town of Perfection, which was the scene of the original picture. The town has become a tourist destination, with tours of the place where the creatures appeared happening daily. Suddenly, the creatures make a return appearance during one of the tours and then start to appear in more frequent numbers and in a new and different way.
I still must say that I'm rather amazed with Michael Gross's performance. I've rarely seen an actor have so much fun with a character as Gross has in this series. In a supporting role, there's Ariana Richards, who played one of the kids in "Jurassic Park". You'd think she'd have been able to take a role in one of the biggest films of all time and work it into something besides "Tremors", but oh well. The rest of the picture carries the goofy sense of humor along nicely, never taking it so silly that it takes away from the film's few scares. As the film is a low-budget, straight-to-video effort, the digital creature effects are just on the edge of looking a little too "digital", but they're effective, looking sort of like they could be cousins of the bugs of "Starship Troopers".
Obviously, "Tremors 3" isn't going to offer anything resembling intelligent fare, but those who in the mood for a wacky monster movie that's actually better than the sequel in this series will likely find it enjoyable.
VIDEO: "Tremors 3" is presented by Universal in a very enjoyable 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. Although the film is a rather low-budget effort, it still looks fairly respectable in terms of visuals and production value. It all translates nicely to this DVD edition, which boasts respectable sharpness and detail, with the exception of a few slightly softer moments.
Some slight flaws were visible, but nothing that proved to be much of a concern. I noticed some very slight edge enhancement, but nothing in the way of pixelation. Print flaws were almost entirely absent from the picture - aside from one or two speckles, there's nothing in the way of wear. Colors appeared rather subdued throughout the movie, but generallly looked accurate and natural. The flesh tones appeared very slightly off on occasion, but overall, this is an enjoyable presentation from Universal.
SOUND: "Tremors 3" boasts a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, but the film's sound presentation really doesn't do a great deal to enhance the film's enjoyment. Where this could have been a fairly surround-heavy picture at times, the surrounds remained fairly quiet for a somewhat suprising amount of the picture. Still, audio quality was decent, as the score came through crisply and dialogue was easily understood. Misses some opportunities for bigger and better sound use, but I suppose one should expect much from a straight-to-video production.
MENUS:: Basic, non-animated menus that essentially use film-themed images and cover art.
EXTRAS:: Nearly 15 minute "Spotlight On Location" documentary, with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage; trailers for all 3 "Tremors" movies, production notes, bios.
Final Thoughts: Silly, but entertaining and fun, "Tremors 3" proves to be an improvement over the sequel. Universal's DVD offers decent audio/video quality, but not a great deal in the way of supplemental features. Those who are fans of the series or fans of somewhat silly monster movies might want to take a look as a rental.
The Film ** 1/2
Video 87/B = (348/400 possible points)
Audio: 86/B = (344/400 possible points)
Extras: 72/C = (216/300 possible points)
Menus: 70/C- = (140/200 possible points)
Value: 81/B = (243/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: ** 1/2
DVD GRADE: B-