The Second Arrival – Review

by Bret W.

This awful sequel to The Arrival (1996), which starred the very able Charlie Sheen, begs to be asked the question, “Why?”  Now, I understand that a small film company like Live Entertainment needs to capitalize on the success, no matter how small, of the first film, but why, oh why, did they make this piece of garbage?  And there are some more whys: Why didn’t they let David Twohy write and direct this one?  Perhaps he wasn’t interested.  After all, he was also busy directing Pitch Black, another surprisingly good film.  Well, then why didn’t they just hop on down to the local grammar school and pick the kid with the Dunce cap to write this one?  He couldn’t have done any worse.

Which brings us to the plot.  Supposedly, Jack Addison, a computer geek, is the brother of Zane Ziminski, who is found dead and has five envelopes sent to his friends after his death detailing the alien invasion that he uncovered in the first film.  Now, I have no idea how two brothers have different last names, and they make no attempt whatsoever to explain this phenomenon.  Nor do they bother to explain any of the other anomalies that occur throughout.  It’s the typical man- (and in this case, also woman-) on-the-run film where at every turn their pursuers seem to be one step ahead and one step behind.

Now, I have to say that the computer effects were above average, although the blue-screen effects were amateurish.  It’s a shame, too, because the computer animation effects were very believable, and matting in the actors and the computer objects into the same scenes was so obvious that it made this already bad movie even worse.

So let’s recap.  The story was weak and an obvious attempt to recreate the success of the first film.  The acting was flat and at times worthy of the Raspberry (the opposite of the Oscar, the Raspberries are given out during Oscar Week, a few days before the awards).  The directing is a gross reflection of the poor quality of acting, and the scenes seemed as though they were shot for TV, not for cinema.  Now, based on the effects, I’d say that the budget was, well, I’d say anemic if it weren’t for the computer animation which, I have to admit, is a soft spot of mine.  But despite fine computer animation, this film falls far short of the mark made by its predecessor.  Die-hard Sci-Fi fans will find it tedious and unimaginative, and anyone else will just find it God-awful.  A worthy Dog of the Week.