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Zoolander No. 2: The Magnum Edition Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

Zoolander 2 (2016) movie poster Zoolander

Theatrical Release: February 12, 2016 / Running Time: 102 Minutes (Magnum Edition) / Rating: Unrated (Magnum Edition)

Director: Ben Stiller / Writers: Ben Stiller (story, characters & screenplay); Justin Theroux, John Hamburg, Nicholas Stoller (screenplay); Drake Sather (characters)

Cast: Ben Stiller (Derek Zoolander), Owen Wilson (Hansel), Will Ferrell (Jacobim Mugatu/Jacob Moogberg), Penélope Cruz (Valentina Valencia), Kristen Wiig (Alexanya Atoz), Fred Armisen (Vip), Kyle Mooney (Don Atari), Milla Jovovich (Katinka Ingabogovinanana), Christine Taylor (Matilda Jeffries), Justin Theroux (Evil DJ/Headmaster), Nathan Lee Graham (Todd), Cyrus Arnold (Derek Zoolander Jr.), Billy Zane (Himself), Jon Daly (Agent Filippo), Sting (Himself), Benedict Cumberbatch (All), Alexander Skarsgård (Adam), Jerry Stiller (Maury Ballstein), Christina Hendricks (Seductress), Ariana Grande (Latex BDSM), John Malkovich (Chazz Spencer) / As Themselves: Justin Bieber, Jim Lehrer, Christiane Amanpour, Jane Pauley, Joe Scarborough, Natalie Morales, Soledad O'Brien, Don Lemon, Matt Lauer, Kiefer Sutherland, Joe Jonas, Olivia Munn, Naomi Campbell, Willie Nelson, Katy Perry, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, M.C. Hammer, Anna Wintour, Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, Kate Moss, Valentino, Alex Wagner, Dan Abrams, Mika, A$AP Rocky, Susan Sarandon (uncredited)

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I remember back in the Mid-Noughties when I was trying to catch up on the many recent Ben Stiller movies, seeing Zoolander and finding it to be just okay. It had some amusing moments, but by and large it lacked the wit of the actor's sharper films.
I kind of assumed that I was in the minority and that people really liked the movie because Stiller wrote and directed a sequel. Zoolander 2 arrived fifteen years after its predecessor, an eternity in film and especially in comedy, where wisdom states you strike while the iron is hot.

With a domestic gross of $45 million and worldwide of $60 M, the original Zoolander wasn't exactly hot iron. You could chalk up the performance to timing; the film opened in September of 2001, a month when America wasn't really in a laughing mood. But somewhere along the line, the film must have developed a following, right? Though this was hardly Stiller's first sequel, it was his first time following up something that was not obviously a blockbuster. But he and Paramount Pictures appear to have misjudged the original film's popularity, because Zoolander 2 bombed, grossing just $29 M domestic and $56 M worldwide despite a wider release, years of inflation, and no proximity to any major terrorist events.

Zoolander 2 opens with the murder of Justin Bieber. Bieber is the latest in a line of assassinated pop stars who take a posed selfie while dying. The pose reminds INTERPOL agent Valentina Valencia (Penélope Cruz) of Blue Steel, the signature look of former male model Derek Zoolander (Stiller). The film soon updates us on what Zoolander and others have been up to since we last saw them. Zoolander left the public eye shortly after losing his wife (Stiller's real life wife Christine Taylor, whom limited stardom seems to have relegated to a minor role as a ghost) due to the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good having been built with the same flimsy supplies as the tiny model (e.g. rubber cement). The widower also lost custody of his son Derek Jr., whom he hasn't seen since the kid's earliest years.

Male models Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) are back and covered in prunes in "Zoolander 2."

Billy Zane finds Zoolander in snowy seclusion and delivers him a couple of Netflix DVDs. At another end of the earth, Zane brings a red envelope to Hansel (Owen Wilson), Zoolander's former nemesis turned friend who is freaking out about every member in his orgy group, male and female, suddenly having become pregnant with his seed. Zoolander and Hansel reunite at the airport. Both are headed to Rome, where they are to appear in a fashion show for hipster designer Don Atari (Kyle Mooney, doing a Tom Haverford impression). Believing this to be the start of a comeback, the two has-beens are instead ridiculed and shown up by an andrognyous new star (a more recognizable than perhaps intended Benedict Cumberbatch).

Redemption appears to be right around the corner when Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig), an extreme Donatella Versace parody with surgically preserved features and a near-indiscernible accent, invites the two male models to another shindig called the Incrediball. Meanwhile, Derek finds his son in an Italian orphanage where he discovers Derek Jr. (Cyrus Arnold) -- gasp! -- is fat. (Overweight children and genderqueer people are sure to love parts of this movie.) And Valentina catches up with our dim-witted heroes, arranging for a visit to the high security fashion prison that the first film's villain Mugatu (Will Ferrell) calls home.

While the first Zoolander did not seem especially like a product of its time (it does a little more so now, having aged some), this sequel seems decidedly behind the times. Stiller has done a good job of enduring as a leading man, displaying longevity rivaled by few film comedians. But as the star, the director, a writer and producer, he must take the lion's share of the blame for this follow-up's many failings. Even if we grant that there was demand for this sequel (which the numbers clearly dispute), then you've still got to be perplexed by both when and how this materialized. Zoolander 2 has higher regard for the original than most viewers would or should. Having reviewed that film just two weeks ago, I easily recognized that the sequel clearly lifts a number of its predecessor's beats, always to diminished returns.

After escaping from a high security fashion prison, Mugatu (Will Ferrell) returns to the eccentric colorful fashions for which he is known.

Fashion is still not a very funny world to skewer. The protagonist's unintelligence also doesn't get the mileage that Stiller and his co-writers (returning John Hamburg and new here but proven elsewhere Justin Theroux and Nicholas Stoller) want it to.
Most of the star cameos, like Kiefer Sutherland and Sting, feel stale. Even Katy Perry seems a few years too late. There is nary a good idea here. One of the worst is the secret society of fashion designers who have to be identified by name (and, unsurprisingly, cannot act) clinging to a creation story involving Adam, Eve, and, the original male model, Steve. Is this supposed to evoke The Da Vinci Code? Again, that is a decade late.

Zoolander 2 has that rare but unmistakable bad movie feel. You can easily imagine the film dying in mostly empty theaters. You wouldn't think Stiller capable of such miscalculation after making the very funny Tropic Thunder and the fairly harmless The Secret Life of Walter Mitty not to mention his usually dependable instincts in front of the camera. But this sequel simply stinks. With a production budget of $50 million and a seemingly substantial marketing budget, this is a fairly costly failure for a studio that doesn't release many movies.

On Blu-ray and DVD, Zoolander 2 is titled Zoolander No. 2: The Magnum Edition. (Insert your poop joke here!) Both formats present the film exclusively in an unrated cut, which is an endurance challenge at 102 minutes, though the PG-13 theatrical cut evidently ran just as long. Since that theatrical cut isn't included here and, like most of mankind, I didn't see this in theaters, I have no idea what the differences may be. But I'm relieved I don't have to look for them and endure this film any more than once.

Zoolander No. 2: The Magnum Edition Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
BD: 7.1 DTS-HD MA/DTS-X (English), DTS 2.0/Headphone-X (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Descriptive Service)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish, Descriptive Video Service)
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese; BD movie-only: English SDH
DVD Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50 & DVD-9)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as standalone DVD ($29.99 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video


I wasn't blown away by the original movie's Blu-ray transfer, which means I get to save this for here. Zoolander 2 is really, really, ridiculously good looking on Blu-ray. The 2.40:1 presentation is sharp, vibrant, and spotless. The default soundtrack, DTS X/DTS-HD MA 7.1, also delights with its abundance of life, music, crisp dialogue, and directional effects. There are many things to bemoan about Zoolander 2, but this transfer isn't among them.

"The Zoolander Legacy" largely celebrates the original film, complete with behind-the-scenes clips like this. Footage of the 1990s stand-up comedy of Drake Sather is shown in "The Man Who Created Zoolander."


Though the original movie got a pretty loaded DVD back in 2002, that was a much different time for home video.
Zoolander 2 gets four HD extras on Blu-ray and nothing at all on DVD.

First up, "The Zoolander Legacy" (9:02) devotes its first half to celebrating the original film and its second to painting this sequel as a worthy successor the writers had lots of time to perfect. It's a pretty embarrassing and incriminating featurette given the sequel's failings, but the looks at the original may be the best thing this set has to offer.

"Go Big or Go Rome" (7:38) has the cast and crew explain why it was necessary to shoot in Italy's capital with Italian filmmakers. You already convinced Paramount, guys. Why not just admit paid vacations are fun?

"Drake Sather: The Man Who Created Zoolander" (8:26) celebrates the character's co-creator and one of the film's original screenwriters, who committed suicide back in 2004. There are lots of looks at his stand-up comedy performances and fond recollections from the likes of Judd Apatow (who it should be pointed out had nothing to do with this film).

Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig) touts the miraculous powers of "Youth Milk" with bizarre pronunciations in this faux ad. What's better than a tiny dancing Mugatu? Two tiny dancing Mugatus, or so the "Zoolander 2" end credits and main menu seem to think.

Finally, "Youth Milk" (1:30) is an artsy promo for a miracle age-defying drink that
Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig) swears by, with her bizarre pronunciations.

While the Blu-ray streams (or attempts to) the latest Paramount trailers, the DVD will forever open with ones for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Daddy's Home, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, and Grease Live!. The same four ads repeat from that disc's only non-playback feature, "Previews."

The menu gives us a montage adapted from the end credits that is big on Mugatu (and other characters) dancing. The Blu-ray does not resume playback, but in theory supports bookmarks.

The plain blue and gray discs share a standard eco-friendly blue keepcase, topped by a glossy slipcover featuring the same artwork below. The reverse side of the Digital HD with UltraViolet instructions give you a bonus treat: a digital HD UltraViolet version of the original film, but hurry, as that offer expires in August.

INTERPOL agent Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz) joins Hansel (Owen Wilson) and Zoolander (Ben Stiller) on a globe-trotting mission to uncover and expose a deadly conspiracy.


The unfunny Zoolander 2 is a forced farce that never comes close to justifying its untimely existence. While the original film is far from a masterpiece, it kind of feels like one when judged next to this off-key follow-up, which stops being fun about the time that Billy Zane stops making Netflix deliveries at the 15-minute mark. Having seen most of their work (even the much-maligned Envy), I don't hesitate to call this the worst effort of Stiller, Wilson, Ferrell et al. to date. This sequel might hurt those who really like the original film most of all, seeing those recycled gags and reprised characters fall flat. But it's tough to imagine anyone deriving more than a few chuckles from this ill-conceived comedy.

Paramount's Blu-ray combo pack offers great picture and sound, okay extras, and no theatrical cut. The movie is too bad to recommend for even a single viewing, so it's not even worth thinking about the value of ownership.

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Related Reviews:
Directed by Ben Stiller: Zoolander (The Blue Steelbook) • Tropic ThunderThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Ben Stiller: Night at the Museum: Battle of the SmithsonianThe Heartbreak KidThe Royal TenenbaumsHeavyweights
Owen Wilson: Shanghai Noon & Shanghai KnightsNo EscapeCars 2Midnight in Paris
Penélope Cruz: Vanilla SkyNineThe CounselorTo Rome with Love
Will Ferrell: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyElfA Night at the RoxburyStep BrothersDaddy's Home
Written by John Hamburg: I Love You, Man | Written by Nicholas Stoller: The MuppetsYes ManGulliver's Travels
Comedy Sequels: Horrible Bosses 2Hot Tub Time Machine 2
New to Disc: How to Be SingleThe Player (Criterion Collection) • The Jim Gaffigan Show: Season 1Zapped!The Finest Hours

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Reviewed May 30, 2016.

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