Zoolander No. 2 Blu-ray Review
Waiting for Mugatu
Trying too hard to make its characters relevant for a modern generation, Zoolander 2 forgets its longstanding fans and coasts on lazy jokes until it's far too late.In many respects it would have been better to just leave the first movie alone, as this tries so hard to appeal to a new audience that it forgets the fans who, after a whopping 15 years, have returned to see whether there really is any magic left in Blue Steel or Magnum. Barely generating more than a couple of laughs in its first hour, Zoolander 2 makes poking fun at 'high' fashion look like a hard task when it really shouldn't be. Indeed, despite the return of Ben Stiller's Derek Zoolander - who wears the decade and a half very well - and Owen Wilson's Hansel, and the introduction of a number of game players along the runtime (including an unrecognisable, barely comprehensible Kristen Wiig, who provokes at least a few chuckles) it takes until the appearance of the first movie's antagonist, Mugatu, for any genuine humour to finally hit the catwalk. Perhaps they couldn't get Will Ferrell for the full affair but it's a shame they didn't, because he's undoubtedly the funniest thing about the movie, and actually the most on-point.He immediately launches into a series of shouty rants at all the insane stupidity around him and it makes you wonder why they couldn't have started with this kind of humour (his Battle of Minds with Derek is also a high point). You can see from Ferrell's tirades that there is plenty of amusement to be garnered from taking down modern fashion, and that the film's failure stems largely from the fact that they spend too long re-introducing the two leads (for new generations) and forget to actually let them launch into what they were good at first time around. A still gorgeous Penelope Cruz falls by the wayside (with some surprisingly lazy lowbrow humour inflicted upon her - see the poster), a few last-minute cameos try desperately to draw this closer to the first film's wacky wit, and the surprisingly violent (think: Robocop) death of Justin Bieber attempts to give the inescapably stupid plot some modern relevance, but ultimately this is a lacklustre, disappointing sequel which may even rob its predecessor of some of its own magic.
Picture QualityParamount's release of Zoolander 2 sports excellent video and audio.
The digitally shot sequel looks largely superb in 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition, with a video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen. Detail is outstanding, picking up fine skin textures, background flourishes and clothing weaves, and retaining clarity on the longer shots as well as the impressive close-ups. The colour scheme is strong and vibrant, replete with all the vivid primaries that you'd expect from a Zoolander sequel, whilst black levels remain strong and display no overt signs of crush. It's not a perfect picture - with some slightly softer shots that appear inherent to digitally shot features - but it's largely demo nonetheless.
Sound QualityZoolander 2 is just as impressive on the aural front with a DTS:X soundtrack.
Cas Harlow reviewed the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on a 5.1-channel setup – Zoolander 2 delivers an exciting audio mix, with dialogue promoted clearly and coherently across the frontal array, whilst effects are immersive, bringing the colourful, globetrotting jaunt to life with punch and pizzazz as planes scream across the screen, and bike and car engines roar. The accompanying score is probably the most engaging element, never letting up throughout the piece, and giving the surrounds almost non-stop fuel for the runtime, whilst drafting in the LFE channel for plenty of backup. It's a boisterous, wild ride, and suitably over the top for this world, making for great demo material.
Steve Withers reviewed the DTS:X soundtrack on a 7.2.4-channel setup – Whilst Zoolander 2 might not seem the most obvious choice for an immersive audio remix on Blu-ray, the results are impressive. The sound designers have taken advantage of the added freedom that DTS:X allows them to really enhance the often over-the-top visuals with an equally amped up audio mix. The effects move seamlessly around the room and the overhead speakers are often used to give environments a greater sense of atmosphere. The trains, cars and motorbikes that zoom around the sound field are all rendered with an enjoyable sense of hyper-reality, whilst the fashion shows burst into life. The score is effectively mixed across the front soundstage and even moves to the sides and above at times, whilst the dialogue is always centred and clear, even if Penelope Cruz clearly has trouble saying the word 'zoolander'. Overall the DTS:X soundtrack is a great piece of audio design that compliments the excellent visuals, it's just a shame about the film itself.
ExtrasA trio of small featurettes – The Zoolander Legacy, Go Big Or Go Rome, and Drake Sather: The Man Who Created Zoolander – look behind elements of the production, whilst Youth Milk further highlights one of the best gags of the film.
VerdictZoolander 2 takes too long to get going, by which point even devout fans will struggle to retain interest.
At least Paramount's Blu-ray release impresses, with excellent video and audio and a smattering of extras that leave it far from bare-bones. If you're a die-hard fan, it's definitely worth picking up, and if you love the first film, you'll at least want to see the sequel, even if you may want to test the waters before deciding whether or not to add it to your collection.
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