MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Before I begin my review of A Quiet Place Part II, let’s join in a prayer of thanksgiving for effective Covid-19 vaccinations and the return of folks to the movies. Because return they did for this film, with $57 million in ticket sales over the four-day Memorial Day weekend.
And what says “post pandemic crowd pleaser” more than a dystopian future alien invasion? Sometimes I just scratch my head and wonder. And buy a ticket.
Spoiler Alert: Don’t read on if you haven’t seen 2018’s A Quiet Place.
When A Quiet Place ended, the Abbott family had just made it through a rough ordeal evading and sometimes battling monsters with super-sensitive hearing and incredible speed. The family was isolated and living on their farm but the creatures were coming into their territory, picking off family members one-by-one; Beau, the youngest son, dies just a few minutes from the start of the movie and Lee, the father (John Krasinski) dies just a few minutes before the ending (sacrificing himself for his wife and children). But Evelyn (Blunt) and her two children Regan (Simmons) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) are determined to not go quietly – or rather, to go quietly and kick some alien butt.
Part II picks up the story right where the first film ends, but begins with a flashback scene depicting the day the aliens arrive. (This is ruined by the trailers, so we are linking this review to a spoiler-free teaser.) During this brief sequence we are introduced to Emmett (Cillian Murphy), another neighborhood father who we will meet again later in this storyline.
The plucky Abbott family also has a new addition – a baby – that must be cared for and muffled whenever it decides to cry. Since they are forced to leave the farm behind, their journey will lead them to parts unknown and to the discovery of other survivors.
Evelyn continues to be a strong force of maternal protection, but her two children are allowed to shine in this sequel. Regan is deaf but fitted with a cochlear implant that can be jerry-rigged to drive the bug-eyed monsters...buggy. She is also determined to seek signs of hope and recovery when others are tempted to despair. Marcus proves himself to be a reliable baby sitter and summons more courage along the way.
At just 90 minutes, A Quiet Place Part II is another brisk outing from writer-director Krasinski (who is not only a fine filmmaker but a genuinely nice person) but it just doesn’t do very much to advance the story; it moves the ball a few yards short of a first down. I still admire the moral values of this series and the great acting from everyone involved.
And I am really happy to be double-vaxxed, masked and back in the movie theater. Stay safe and keep streaming at home until you feel secure enough to head to the movies. A Quiet Place II streams on the Paramount + service on July 11th, with digital download and DVD releases bound to follow shortly thereafter.
Halo and Pitchfork Rating:
Three halos: Love of family and community are affirmed, continuing the themes of the first film.
One pitchfork: Occasional extreme violence; mild gore.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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