Biters, it’s time for an aftershock. Quite a few months back, I did a review on the 90’s cult classic Tremors.
*** SPOILER ALERT! ***
It’s All About Burt Gummer
This article will not be a film review on the sequels but more of a tribute to the film’s breakout character Burt Gummer.
If this intro has not tipped my hand already, major spoiler alert for Tremors Shrieker Island.
Last night I queued up Netflix and saw a new tremors film had come out, so naturally, I had to watch it. This film hit all the familiar beats I know and love from this franchise, but it also did something I never expected and shook me to my core. They killed Burt Gummer.
This was something I never saw coming. But, as the film started, I predicted the eighth film since the sixth one put the spotlight on an advanced form of Graboid, which will showcase the advanced shrieker.
Leaving the ass blaster for an eighth. In Bloodlines, we met Burt’s son. In Cold Day In Hell, we got Val’s daughter, and I could have so easily seen Burt pass the baton off to this next generation of Graboid hunters and acting more as the wise old mentor character.
After all, at 73 years old, we can’t put Michael Gross in a wire rig and fling him about for monster attacks for much longer. All that to say, I never saw it coming, and I was left waiting for that fake-out that never came.
Ok, the monster is dead. Where is Burt? They found his hat, the cast starts thinking the worst. I thought he can’t die. He’s Burt any minute, we will hear him say to pull me up, or he’d walk up behind them asking what they’re crying for, then they found his sunglasses.
That’s when it hit me, not only the fact he was gone but an unexpected emptiness I felt hallow. The ending was bitter-sweet.
A Cinematic Departure
As I write this Biters, I’m trying to think why this particular character’s cinematic departure hit harder than others. my answer was found in an old Indiana Jones quote, “We seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away.”
In the past few years, the childhood toy store was turned into a bargain outlet, the bright, colorful mall looks more like a white sterile office building, and as of last night, a childhood hero becomes a legend.
I think the other factor is, unlike say heath ledgers, Joker, or RDJ‘s, Tony Stark‘s heath has passed, but The Joker is still alive and well waiting to break out of Arkham Asylum.
While RDJ is still here, and can find a way to come back if he so wishes. However, with Michael Gross and his defining role, there was an undeniable finality to it.
I Didn’t Want Burt To Go
So I guess we have to do it. But, first, let’s talk about the death itself; I didn’t want Burt to go, but if he’s gotta go, then Tremors Shrieker Island gave us a farewell befitting such a fan-favorite character.
They send Burt off in a blaze of glory after some of the lesser characters got picked off in true monster movie fashion. Finally, both hunter and hunted acknowledge the other’s Alpha status, and it’s time for the final showdown.
The Graboids may have finally got Burt in the end, but Burt got the last laugh. As the beast swallows the great hunter, it falls to its own death onto a bed of spikes laced with explosives.
I honestly could not see him going out any other way, and I find it funny that I called him the original Jack Sparrow, only for him to die like Jack Sparrow.
Rest In Peace My Friend
It’s customary at funerals to share fond memories of the departed, so now biters, I guess I shall share mine. One of the biggest highlights for me was whenever nobody ever listened to him.
Whether it’s US Government Officials, Australian poachers, or thrill-seeking hunters, Burt always warns them they are in over their head. So what happens naturally? They brush him off.
Gummer gives that “well I tried” expression, and wouldn’t you know a few scenes later, there they are, going “Oh shit! Save us, Mr. Gummer.
I am unsure what the future holds for the Tremors franchise. But it will not be the same without Burt wherever it goes.