There’s an irony to Mimic 2 in that it tries -unsuccessfully- to “mimic” the first film. Those seedy alleyways, donned in amber and bright blues, harness little of the staying power featured in Guillermo Del Toro’s original vision. At least it tries, right?
The sequel is as stock as it comes, a creature feature exploiting the gore for the sake of it and dropping the suspense mystery. Ideas are mere flourishes, government interference a speck on a script more concerned with body counts. Even then, it can’t finish victims in any explosive way, “mimicking” the first movie with a tight fit kill through a sewer grate. If it sounds familiar, that’s exactly how the first victim of the series was munched on.
Broken down to its essentials, Mimic 2 is a dry do over of sorts, recasting Alix Koromzay as as secondary entomologist (not the same character), “mimicking” Mira Sorvino in her obsessions. See a pattern yet? With a flat social life, she attaches herself to the lonesome world of bugs, and an awfully tight lesson plan as a teacher.
Plotting her as a closed off, single social do gooder means the film can close itself down. Instead of broad sewers and lavish environments, this direct-to-video follow-up manages to squander the school. Even public schools have a shred of dignity to them, but this one is run down because the atmosphere isn’t being generated anywhere else. Plus, it’s cheap fodder and easy to contain characters.
With mystery lessened to almost nill, Mimic 2 will preposterously force jump scares, logical or not. One of Koromzay’s kind of/sort of students leaps out at her in a dark room without any motivation to do so. The conversation that follows is completely awkward, as is much of the dialogue. Stunted and free of freshness, the straight-laced police banter would be laughed off the screen in the worst episode of Law & Order. Here, it’s celebrated.
Put up against the flood of theatrical video follow-ups that pushed their way out in the ’90s, early ’00s (say, the Species franchise), Mimic 2 is workmanlike. It’s appealing to what it believes was the main audience and demographic of the first film, without acknowledging what made that piece functional. Mimic 2 is a board room production, wherein producers figured one killer bug flick is the same as the next. Oh how wrong they were.
The shift to video makes an immediate impact visually. Gone are the dominating black levels, the picture brightened to make shadows less striking, and accommodate the general aspects of home video. While not lost in the shuffle, that need to appeal to lesser, VHS-era equipment cannot hide the busy noise that should have been buried in darkness. This remaster, whenever it was completed (it’s doubtful that it’s recent), doesn’t make suitable adjustments.
Also lost is the intense focus, close-ups wandering and jumpy in their definition. The camera regularly slides out of areas of sharpness, faltering when needed most. It leaves Mimic 2 feeling flatter than it already does because of the minimized blacks. Detail is evident, close-ups not a lost cause and the sets revealed more than they were probably intended to be. Some of the bug footage can display the mechanical creations in their glory; Mimic 2 hardly keeps their identity a mystery.
Despite being coupled with the second sequel on the same disc, the AVC encode is proficient. There are fewer flare ups to catch viewer ire, the grain structure mild at best. Instances of noise are more on the shoulders of the blacks than the encode, although a moment or two can be levied on the compression. That’s an improvement over the first film if not much else.
The looser, two tone color scheme isn’t treated with such reverence, the film often likely to drop the concept of saturated amber or bright blues for something falling into a more natural look. Flesh tones are clean when not malformed by the timing, although the idea does remain. Halls can be tinted heavily into blue, and light sources can (and will) balloon with yellowish amber. Even if the idea is familiar, the concept isn’t used for the same reasons. It’s only meant to clone.
Unsurprisingly, many of the same audio cues are shared between these films. The clicking effect scatters the bugs into the surrounds for immersion into the physical world, although the style isn’t as impressive. Positioning isn’t as precise, although now with two added rears, Mimic has an unfair advantage over this locked 5.1 sequel.
Mimic 2’s design just isn’t that bold though, intent on reaching the status quo. A sequence in where a bug gives chase and the characters need to break down a makeshift wall is as precise as it becomes. Scattered desks and chairs are strewn about to the sides, camera shifts leading to altered positioning. The mix doesn’t employ the stereos that often elsewhere, more content with the surrounds to appear showy.
Minimal use of LFE weakens the evolving insects, rarely using “Hulk smash” tactics. Their thuds against doors are marginal, thunder in the opening scene more bulky than their attempts at snacking. It’s not awful, just a drastic deviation from one of the great creature feature mixes.
Slim bonuses include Five Days of Mimic 2 taking a look into production on some of the film’s toughest days. The footage is insightful and interesting while lengthy enough to dig into the complexities (17:30). Behind the Sound takes a rare look at the mixing process, and five deleted scenes are forgettable material.
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