Friday, July 1, 2016

Independence Day Resurgence

I've made it a policy on this blog not to post negative reviews. All creativity should be appreciated whether it is writing, television, music, or movies.

Today I went to see Independence Day Resurgence. Yes, after an absence of several weeks, I went to a movie. I saw the film in 3-D. It's also out in a "regular" version which doesn't require the 3-D glasses, or in my case, a couple of pills for a stubborn headache afterward.

Let's start with the story...It's twenty years after the events in the first film...It's also twenty years after the original movie came out.  Has it been that long? Yes, it has.

Anyway, those pesky aliens come back with newer, better weapons and technology.  All of the characters exposed to their mind control in the first attack, i.e. Dr. Okun (played by an older Brent Spiner with even longer hair), former US President Whitmore (played by Bill Pullman with a white beard), and an African warlord new to this film whose storyline has him fighting in the first attack very successfully (played by Dikembe Umbutu) are affected more and more as the aliens return and get closer. They know the enemy is coming.

It seems we only thought we destroyed the aliens previously. We did destroy the "mother" ship, but there was another, bigger one, hanging a few light years away. That ship contained their Queen, a bigger and uglier creature than we've seen before. (And much harder to stop.)

Jeff Goldblum returns as David Levinson, with Judd Hirsch reprising his role as Julius Levinson, David's father.  He has written a book about the original victory over the aliens and is a popular figure.

Also Vivica A. Fox returns in a small role as Jasmine Hiller, the widow of the character Will Smith played in the original. She has gone from exotic dancer to being a doctor or a P.A. It's never clear what her role is, although we see her in a white lab coat, evacuating patients from a hospital as New York is being attacked.

Jasmine's little son, Dylan, is now a grown man who goes by the name Dylan Hiller (played by Jessie T. Usher.) He is a by-the-book military pilot.

President Whitmore's little girl is all grown up in this film. Patricia Whitmore (played by Maika Monroe) is quite the hotshot pilot herself.

Rounding out the newcomers in major roles is Liam Hemsworth as Jake Morrison.  He is a fighter pilot, an orphan from the original attacks...a fighter jock with a problem following orders.

The film is basically a re-hashing of the first one only with badder aliens with bigger weapons. There is a surprising addition of a benign alien who aids the Earth people and acquaints them to universal realities.

The formula of this film is basically the same as the original. There are scenes reminiscent of the first one. For example, someone makes the same sacrifice as the Randy Quaid character in the original, with sadly different results.

The CGI special effects are bigger, grander, more widespread globally. And, of course, the humans win in the end, with significance loss of life. That mean, ugly queen doesn't know the meaning of the word quit.

If there had been no Independence Day in 1996, I think I would have enjoyed this film more. As a stand-alone movie, this one would be an entertaining diversion for a couple of hours.

But when compared with the first film, it lacks the spark, the energy of its predecessor. This film seems to drag, although the same production team as the first one made this sequel.

Is it worth two hours in a cool theater out of the summer heat? Sure. There are good action scenes and a good cast.

But you know what I really missed? Will Smith...of course he's twenty years older, but he would have brought a spark to this one.

I did see a couple of good previews while I was at the movies.  Tim Burton has a new film coming out called Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Based on a book by an American author, it looks like a charming, though dark, Tim Burton fantasy.

Also I saw previews for Star Trek Beyond, coming out later this month. It was sad to see the late Anton Yelchin in the previews. Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty, co-wrote the script. Surprised? You shouldn't be. He's written a series of films such as Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End. Idris Elba plays the villain and is even more unrecognizable in this one than he is as Heimdall in the Thor movies.

So pick your film and spend some time in a nice cool theater on these hot summer days. Enjoy whatever movie genre you like...they all are meant to entertain us. Appreciate their efforts!

Until next time...

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