Hello, Spongey here.
It’s time to enter DCOM-land again, for a sequel from earlier this year. Wow, I was actually quick to getting to this one. That doesn’t usually happen. The only reason I didn’t do it even sooner is that I was hoping it’d get to Disney+ soon enough and it did, woo hoo.
Zombies was quite the odd movie. It had some fun and weirdly charming stuff at times but it was largely a mess with tons of elements taken from other DCOMs, and weird commentary that seems especially muddled now. But of course Disney was hoping for a new franchise to replace Descendants so it was able to get a sequel.
There didn’t seem too much left open by the end of the first one, aside from just generally seeing more of how they deal with human and zombie stuff. So I was curious about how they’d force a sequel out of it. The results were certainly interesting so we’ll get to go over it.
There’s honestly not much to say going in, I’m saving my actual thoughts and such for the meat of this. It even had the same crew, which I went over before. Honestly, I’m glad Paul Hoen is finally doing a sequel to his own movie for once. He usually does at least okay with sequels so let’s see how this goes. Of course, those who follow me on Twitter and Letterboxd already know but let’s ignore that and see if this sequel was undead on arrival.
This, is Zombies 2
The movie starts with another comic style opening telling us that the humans and zombies get along perfectly now. However, we also get new lore that doesn’t really fit with what we knew before. A long time ago, the first Seabrook settlers fought off a group of hairy monsters and found a powerful energy source just hanging out in the forest. They hid it from the beasts and used it to power the town. That worked well until of course some soda was spilled in a chemical plant powered by that energy, creating the zombies.
Okay, that part makes a certain level of sense, more so than just the soda doing it alone so I can forgive that. Even if the energy source is a very vaguely explained plot device. Now, who were those beasts? Oh, we’ll get into that in a bit. For now, we jump to the present to rejoin Zed the movie, who is happy to finally be accepted And he’s got cheerleader Addison as his girlfriend, so life is good.
We get some bits showing us how things are now, as well as establishing things for later. Zed tells us that they are getting hyped for Prawn, which is Prom but shrimp themed because that’s the mascot. That is a weak reason to be quirky. That power plant is being torn down since it hasn’t worked for years but Eliza is against that since it’s “important to zombie heritage”.
“I dream of a day we ditch our Z bands and let our inner monsters roar!”
You know those things are preventing you from going wild and eating people, right? I thought you wanted to be accepted.
Addison is at cheer camp, where they help start our first song: We Got This. This immediately reminded me of the MLP movie and that song is way better. This is fine for an opener, but honestly My Year from the first one was better. It just had better flow and was catchier. It does it’s job for the story though.
Anyway, Bucky is here too and you may be wondering if he got Aesop Amnesia or not. Well, not quite but also kind of yes. Him being accepting has stuck but he still has some dick tendencies, like straight up admitting “it’s time to make this all about me” and saying he is not Anti-Change, just Pro Keeping Things the Same. It’s a tad more nuanced than just going in either direction so there’s that I guess.
Oh and he announces he’s running for school president, meaning I can make timely political jokes. Be very afraid.
A bit later the cheerleaders go on the bus to go home on the way they see an elaborate thing Zed set up to ask her to Prawn. A setup he did in the middle of the road, because eating brains doesn’t mean you have them yourself. He survives but the bus goes out of control and ends up in the woods.
Addison gets separated and things get creepy as she finds herself surrounded by creatures that are actually just people in weird makeup but let’s call them creatures anyway. The creatures in question…are werewolves. Yes, really.
The supernatural creature in the first one was created by an accident, so there’s nothing about it that left room for other supernatural things to exist. So they’re just kind of adding them for the sake of having a new gimmick to throw in. Always a sign a sequel needs to happen if they have to do this.
Addison tells them she was attacked by werewolves and everyone believes her. Sure it’s because of the existence of zombies but still, I’m impressed. I do have to wonder that if they were that relatively close, how they hadn’t been discovered until now. Back at school, everyone is in a frenzy over all this.
Because one girl mentioned seeing werewolves, the city decides to reinstate all the Anti-Monster laws. Yes, they hear about a few creatures way out in the woods and now they will punish the generally good zombies as a result. This doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense. The werewolves aren’t close to the school or anything like that. This is so contrived it hurts.
Of course, it means no prawn date for Zed and Bucky announces this with a happy face. Okay, now he has reset in a way that makes his redemption pointless, there we go!
“They see one werewolf and we can’t go to Prawn?”
A hard hat worker sees all this werewolf hysteria and he turns out to be a werewolf, and goes to report this to his pack. And by that I mean the furry cosplayers that this movie calls werewolves. The main one Addison saw doesn’t see this as a big deal but the fake worker guy thinks they could find “The Great Alpha”, a legendary figure that will lead them to the “moonstone”, that they want to charge these necklaces they have that I guess are keeping them alive?
I don’t know, the lore in this series is weird. They think Addison could be the Great Alpha due to her white hair. I assumed that we’d find out that Addison is actually a werewolf or something and that would finally explain the white hair. We’ll see how that panned out. Addison dropped something with the words Seabrook High on it so now they know where to look for her.
They head out that night which leads to song 2, We Own The Night. I rather like this one, it’s catchy and there’s something about the style I quite like. You’ll discover soon that the werewolves get the best songs in this one. Although I must question why they expect to find Addison at school during the night.
The next day, Addison calls Eliza “zom-bae”. I just thought you had to know that. Also, I ship it. Bucky seems to be really gung-ho about being school president so Zed decides to run himself in order to help make changes around here. Zombies can still run in spite of the anti monster thing, that’s convenient.
“A Zombie president? Ew”
I tried too long to come up with a joke that is both not obvious and not cringey, but I couldn’t.
The werewolves are still lurking around and they decide to just stroll in while Zed is speech-ing,and at first try to take Addison. But that guy who was the fake worker (I’m so good with names) tells the leader Willa that being so aggressive is a bad idea so instead they tell the people that the werewolves just want to join the school. And after someone says that forest is in the school district (despite being fairly far away), Addison is like “welcome!”
I know she’s accepting of people but I feel like welcoming the people that were just about to pounce on you isn’t a good idea. Then after a quick scene with Zed and Addison, the werewolves are let in and do a slow-mo walk.
“These sheep just let us in? Baaad idea”
Agreed. They set up these anti monster laws because they heard one of you was out there and they just accept you like that? They are clearing up to something, how are they this stupid? But werewolves are important to Zed as with the school so split, they are the swing vote. It’s a whole clan of Kevin Costners.
No one’s gonna get that one.
So Zed and Eliza talk to them in the hopes of getting their vote. They actually get a nice chat going and tell the werewolves they would be better off if they acted more like the zombies. There’s also Z band talk that I’ll get to talk about later but more importantly, there’s a whole song called Like the Zombies Do, where …it kind of explains itself, really.
I like it, it’s another pretty catchy one and honestly it’s a bit too short compared to the other songs. Otherwise, not much to really say about it. Although seeing a movie theater background makes me wonder if they think Night of the Living Dead is offensive propaganda.
A bit later, the wolves appear during cheer practice and Addison invites them to try out. They do, with the help of the instrumental for Fired Up, and it actually goes well. Zed walks in just as Wyatt, that fake worker guy, seems to be getting along with Addison. Don’t worry, I give it a couple scenes before this is pretty much dropped.
Zed is of course the jealous type but also is catching onto their not so nice dealings. He tells Addison about his worries to which she thinks there’s nothing to be worried about that. She also says in his posters, he’s hiding his true self.
“Says the girl who wore a wig her whole life”
Wow, what a douche. I mean for one she eventually took it off.
“So excuse me for respecting a pack of werewolves who are proud of what they are”
See, I generally get both sides but Zed just pulled a jerk move for no reason and Addison is too accepting because otherwise, Zed has a point. So you’re close, but not quite. Then we basically get the 3rd act breakup song a mere 40 minutes in. Yes, really. Addison and Zed have a sad song about their feelings, which is fairly typical and kind of forgettable stuff.
But really it’s the placement that baffles me. It is way too early for this kind of thing, and the conflict has really just begun. For my problems with HSM 2, at least Gotta Go My Own Way happens at the point where it should. At least can the worst of the breakup stuff out of the way early.
That night, the werewolves approach Addison and ask her to come with them to their wolf hideout, and explain to her how they need those necklaces to live but the power is running out. I could question some of this but I do kinda like the high stakes, it’s a bit dark for something like this.
Also, I love the part where Addison attempts to use their howling language.
“Whoa language, there are were-pups around”
They tell her about the prophecy that tells them about The Great Alpha and they think Addison could be it. This leads into a song called Call to the Wild, which isn’t as good as their first song since it doesn’t quite have the same unique sound as that one. I do like it okay though, mostly for the chorus.
Zed and some others then storm in, having tracked Addison down during some other scene. She explains what is going on, and also says she thinks her white hair means something now. So now the movie itself teasing that they’ll finally explain what is up with that, so don’t let me down.
(Spoilers, they let me down)
They are about to give her a spare moonstone thing that will turn her into a full werewolf so she can lead them to the main moonstone they want, but get interrupted by the sound of an explosion at the power plant, as they are getting ready for the demolition. This makes Addison recall the whole “mysterious energy source” and assumes that is what they’re looking for.
I got nothing to add to that, it adds up I suppose but I feel like they’d know if there was any spare mysterious energy around there…although even so, they associate it with creating the zombies so it’s not like they’d care if it get lost when they destroyed the building so never-mind, it’s all fine.
They’ll look into this some other time, until now we cut to the next day as Addison decides to keep her wolf-y look, much to the shock of others. It’s a good look for her, they’re all just wrong. Anyway, it’s time for the debates because that election thing is still going on. We also have the demolition going on so either way, we’re gonna see someone get decimated.
Addison hits up the werewolves as they are about to storm in, but she lost that moonstone that was gonna turn her into a werewolf, so they reject her. Turns out, Zed stole out just because he wanted to himself even more unlikable. I know he’s a politician now but come on!
Bucky shows up and we get the debate…in the form of a rap battle. Because of course it’s a rap battle, why not. When it comes to rap battle scenes that only exist because Hamilton is a thing, it’s not as good when the SpongeBob Musical or Elena did it, just saying. I do enjoy it ironically though.
Frankly I wish more debates were like this.
Zed basically wins the battle but whoops, the moonstone makes his Z band freak out. He’s able to get the moonstone off before he hurts anyone. But he’s realized how he’s lost his way or whatever. The werewolves are stopped by some guys, which inspires them to break into a song called Flesh and Bone.
As random as it is, I quite like it, it’s grown on me. It’s back to the sound of We Own the Night but bigger with more people involved, even Addison, Zed, and the zombies once they show up. So yeah it’s cool…but the Big City Greens version is better: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WPADzTDgho&t=8s
Since they’re song was such a compelling argument, the demolition is called off. Another thing I wish was this easy in real life. They celebrate but Zed has to admit to Addison that he stole the moonstone, meaning she gets upset and we get two breakups in one movie. So that first one was pointless!
Oh and puts it on only for her to not turn into a werewolf, whoops. To make matters worse, the remote to control the detonator shorts out and the timer starts running again. They all run out just as CGI explosions destroy the building, and the moonstone along with it.
That’s like 3 dramatic turns in the span of a minute and that breakup gets swept aside pretty quickly. So yeah, it’s pointless. They go home and the werewolves are now getting really sick. Zed approaches them and apologizes for everything but who cares, it’s time for Prawn!
The werewolves and zombies decide to stroll up to Prawn to protest these dumb anti monster laws that really only exist because of the Prawn thing. Seriously, Zombies are still allowed at school so really this is the worst thing, aside from a curfew being put in. They use their fearsome aspects to get Bucky to let them in and Zed apologizes to Addison for what he did.
Then they kiss and make up. Well, that was easy. The dramatic conflicts are not that strong, but I’m glad this wasn’t drawn out a ton. There’s even a reprise of their love song from the first one.
Then some sort of big earthquake hits, creating this big fault line, which they assume was created by the moonstone, so they just gotta follow it. It’s hard to explain but it’s weird and I don’t quite get the logic but we’re almost done. That was a horribly made sentence but I don’t care.
Side note, perhaps they really should have checked the rubble to make sure the moonstone was destroyed so they should be glad it happened to do all this. Anyway, they go underground and get to the big moonstone, which is able to recharge them, yee haw.
They gotta carry the giant moonstone out of here but there’s a big regular rock in their way, so Zed has to turn off his Z band to use his hulk strength to take care of it. Then he does so which is considered good as he can somehow now control himself and not hurt anyone.
I’ll complain about this at the end. So with that taken care off, they are all free to enjoy Prawn and everyone is happy together, doing a forgettable finale song. It’s called One for All, so they just put the title of the HSM 2 finale song in reverse. Why does this keep reminding of what was frankly a better DCOM sequel?
After the song, it abruptly cuts to that night as some light falls from the sky. When whatever it is hits the ground, the power gets all wonky for a second. Then Addison’s hair glows. Nice try, we all know you’ve never going to explain that. They never did explain where the power source came from and this thing seems to come from space. That means….aliens.
….Sure, why not, if you’re gonna jump the shark, go all the way. And yeah, that’s the end. Abrupt even for a DCOM, because it really feels like it rushes all the resolutions. The sequel hook is fine compared to Descendants 2’s at least but the actual ending was pretty rushed.
It’s fitting that I mentioned Descendants 2 because much like that one, it does manage to be an improvement over the first one. However, also like Descendants 2, it’s still not that good and has its own problems. The main failings are as a sequel, as a lot of it feels very forced.
They have to re-write a bit of the lore to fit these werewolves since they don’t quite fit, and that’s the most forgivable thing. Some of the stuff that comes from this ends up being forced, most notably the Anti Monster Laws. It doesn’t make any sense and it’s only effect is the Prawn thing, which just feels weird. It’s easy to forget these laws were put back in otherwise.
Then we have the whole Z band thing. There’s this whole thing about how they’re holding them back and they have to accept that they’re monsters or whatever. Even though these bands are kind of needed so that they don’t hulk out. They try to work around that by saying they can control it now but there’s no thing with them learning how to do it. They just can without much work.
The first one established that these are good but now they force something about them holding them back. Maybe this could have worked in the first one but here it just feels weird. It just highlights how broken this concept really is in some ways.
The weird commentary is toned down here, as it feels closer to the natural story this time with not as many wonky moments. That could just be lowered expectations since it is still there but still. I also can’t overstate how stupid it is the apply this commentary the creatures that were naturally vicious and people at least some good reason to be afraid of.
Anyway, despite how odd the idea was, I did kind of like the werewolves and their culture. The idea of Addison wanting to fit in and finding friends in them is interesting and I sort of like it until it doesn’t really add to them. I get her not being the great alpha but her being a werewolf would easily explain her hair and despite teasing it, it’s just dropped. It’s good that I like Addison here since Zed is unfortunately kind of a dick for a lot of it. I get some of it but some stuff like taking the moonstone wasn’t needed.
I’d say the songs are better, or at least more consistent. The werewolves get the best songs though, as the rest aren’t quite as good.
Overall, for a sequel that forces itself so much, it does end up being a little better due to having less of the commentary and some decent stuff with Addison, along with a few good songs with the werewolves. It still does feel forced, with wonky plot elements. It’s better, but it’s not saying a whole lot.
But by this point I knew what to expect so I’m not too upset. It also has some of that ironic enjoyment that the first had, so it was fun to re-watch through this at least. These do represent the aspects of DCOM’s I don’t like as I went into before but there’s still some things to like.
And…that’s about it, not much to add and I just wanna finish this.
By the way, as of now I’m only like 4 movies away from having seen all the DCOMs. Follow me on Letterboxd to follow that journey. You might see a wrap-up to that on here…anyway, can’t wait for this to get a Best Picture nomination because it’s one of the few movies that came out this year.
Next time it’ll be September so yeah, time for the brother birthday stuff.