Top critical review
8 people found this helpful
A Huge Missed Opportunity
on 31 January 2003
After the excellent first film, expectations were high for this sequel (perhaps a little too high). After the BIG money made by the original, the studio was keen to make another : the problem being that the initial budget would be huge. Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones are both expensive, Barry Sonnenfeld and Steven Spielberg would be looking for a back-end deal, with all that money on the table it would be difficult to make the picture profitable. But they eventually all cut back end deals, and the picture was made.
Or perhaps 'rushed' is a better word. Compared to the tight scripting of the original, the screenplay is messy and hole-ridden, with the old gambit of bit part players brought back from the original on the assumption that they will get bigger laughs this time round (i.e. the talking dog). Will Smith seems uncomfortable in the 'straight' role this time, and the female lead adds very little value (to be fair this is the fault of the script). Tommy Lee Jones does his job well, but seems to be on autopilot (to be fair the tight dialogue of the first film is all but gone here). As the villain of the piece Lara Flynn Boyle is very nice to look at (kudos to Jack Nicholson!) - cf. the completely gratuitous underwear scene at the beginning - but is ultimately forgettable.
Most strangely, the effects could have used more work : - Rick Baker does a great job with the puppets as always, but the CGI is sometimes a little poor compared to todays standards. The two-headed character, the tentacles, and the worm all could have been better.
Given the huge arena in which to play set up by the first film, and the talent attached to the project, this could have been so much more.
Now there are good points to this film (and it is not mediocre by any means), but, compared to the first film, it ultimately rates a disappointment. Lets hope that, in the unlikely event they make another, they recapture the spirit of the first. If it had been a film in it's own right, I might have given it 3 stars, but comparing it to the first is inevitable, and so 2 stars is sadly the ending score.