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Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back

Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back (2010) Movie Poster
  •  USA  •    •  76m  •    •  Directed by: John H. Williams.  •  Starring: Tom Kenny, Zack Shada, Patrick Warburton, Cheryl Hines, Carlos Alazraqui, Laura Bailey, John DiMaggio, Stanley Tucci, Patrick Breen, Jane Lynch, Omid Abtahi, Noreen Reardon, David Michie.  •  Music by: Ned Douglas, Samuel Stewart.
    Comet is a cool techno chimp who longs to be taken seriously as a full-fledged space chimp. He journeys to the fantastical Planet Malgor and bonds with the adorable alien Kilowatt, living out his ultimate fantasy. However, it's time for Comet to prove himself when the feared alien ruler Zartog takes over Mission Control! Comet must show he has the right stuff, and join fellow chimps Ham, Luna and Titan, to save the day.


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Image from: Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back (2010)
Image from: Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back (2010)
Image from: Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back (2010)
Image from: Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back (2010)
Image from: Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back (2010)
Image from: Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back (2010)
Image from: Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back (2010)
I have to admit to having moderately entertained by the original Space Chimps, which had at least some degree of creativity to it. This one... not so much. The sequel feels like someone threw Space Chimps 1 and a dozen After-School Specials into a blender, hit "frappe", and poured it out into theaters to capture as much parental cash as possible before word of the film's painful glurge stopped ticket sales entirely.

The plot of the film is the same hackneyed, overdone "Little People Are Important Too" dreck that has slopped lazily out of our televisions for ages. Replace "Little" with "Nerdy" and "People" with "Chimps" and you have the formula for Space Chimps 2. The opening montage entirely sets the tone for the film, with the "diamond in the rough" Tech Support Chimp pining for his shot at glory. He is apparently having a long-distance affair with the all-head-but-no-brain alien Kilowatt while yearning to learn to be shot out of a cannon by Ham -- the only point of this second part being to establish that everyone ignores andor takes for granted Nerdy Chimp.

SC2 is director John H. Williams' first, and so far only, stint as a director. Hopefully he learned something from this endeavor, whether that be to do it better next time or not to do it at all. The pacing of the film is worse than most amateur shorts you can find on YouTube, with character speech poorly timed and inexplicable events taking place at inexcusable times. There is, for instance, this Avatar-esque sequence of Kilowatt and Nerdy Chimp (okay, he has a name - "Comet") flying around on giant pink manta-rays. In fact, Comet's entire visit to the alien planet is reminiscent of a trip to a McDonald's Playland, only with flying manta-rays. He does nothing of significance while on the alien world, is there for all of ten minutes, at the most, and then flies back to Earth again. The movie would have lost nothing without it.

The same goes for old jokes rehashed for the sake of rehashing them. The Indian scientist's dance routine was set to music that was thoroughly flat and uninspiring (no comparison to the techno-classic "Axel F") and included way too many pelvic thrusts and booty-shaking for a film that appears to have been targeted at 5-year-olds.

Other reviewers' comments about the CGI in the film are spot-on, as well. The alien landscape is flat and lifeless, with the grass looking exactly like Astroturf. The characters' movements are jerky at times; one sequence reminded me almost of the original "The Sims" computer game. The disparity between this film and its predecessor is especially apparent when sequences from the original are mixed in via montage.

Sadly, the wretched dialogue and bad timing does a real injustice to the talents of Patrick Warburton, Stanley Tucci, and the other voice performers in the cast. Veteran actress Laura Bailey was tapped to replace Kristin Chenoweth as the voice of Kilowatt, and while Kristin Chenoweth would be hard for anyone to replace, it's even worse that the script and director has Ms. Bailey spending half her air-time shrieking or making "motor boat" sounds with her lips. Andy Samberg did not come back to reprise his role as Ham, and the difference is sorely felt.

Ultimately, though, the poor quality of the script is what sinks the film. Stanley Tucci's Senator character meets the three scientists in Mission Control to talk about... a doomsday weapon disguised as a Wii remote he has apparently paid them to develop under the table. Did you see that one coming? No? Probably because it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, as does the Senator talking about disintegrating whole countries or half the US Senate. Is he suddenly the bad guy now? What about Zartog, whose "striking back" appears to consist of sneaking around behind skinny trees (another joke done to death ages ago) and gabbing at people while holding a killer Wii remote? Is it wrong that my 10-year-old and I laughed when he disintegrated the Senator? It probably is, and yet, in this film, nothing is so wrong as the act of having to actually watch it.

In the final insult, Comet manages to turn the Wii remote into an Einsteinian particle-disintegrator-turned-time-travel-device in the space of, oh, five seconds (I'm not kidding -- it literally takes him only five seconds to do this) and un-disintegrates all the people we like in the film.

This is one film that Statler and Waldorf would have walked out of. If you are smart, you would avoid renting or watching it all costs, to include chewing off your own arm in order to escape your significant other's grasp as you wait to check out of your local Blockbuster with this travesty in your possession.

Review by audby from the Internet Movie Database.