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Independence Day Resurgence (Review)

id4-gallery2-gallery-imageI am a big fan of the original Independence Day and I saw it four times in the theater and at least 3 times a year ever since. I understand that the sequel was not liked by fans and critics alike. I did enjoy Independence Day Resurgence but my feelings are mixed. I have watched it several times to sort out just how I felt about this movie. First of all, I JUST love alien invasion movies and that on its own will already earn some praise from me.

One point I want to make is that if a person goes into this movie expecting it to be similar or just like the original ID4 then they are bound to be disappointed. If, however, you approach this with an open mind and accept the movie for what it is…a lighthearted science-fiction action and adventure movie…I think there are things in this film to enjoy.

I will review the movie by revealing my pros & cons. Remember, not all pros and cons are of equal value. I will start with the cons first.

1). Too many characters. Its not that I wasn’t able to keep track of them, its just that there were too many to keep track of and that bogged down the story.

2). Not enough tension. I think with the concentration and focus on the many relationships the movie lost a sense of dread and immanent danger annihilation the first movie had. I never had that sense of tension that our characters were in real trouble.

3) Poor pacing. The original was well paced and I think the poor pacing of this movie is due to trying to cram the stories of all the characters within this movie.

Now for the pros.

1). I liked the focus on the original characters and it was good to see them back! I specifically liked the performances of Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner as Dr. Okun. Spiner’s character had much more screen time and did provide comic relief and was just a hoot. For those who think his character died watch the original once again. As the alien is using him to speak through, Okun’s fingers are against the glass and are moving showing he is alive. Plus, when we first see Dr. Okun in IDR he is shown moving his fingers before he awakes. That is a nice subtle touch!

2). Great Special Effects. I am unapologetic about my love of eye candy known as special effects. This movie was a delight on the eyes and senses and for me that was very entertaining.

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3). The Alien Queen. I am also a lover of Kaiju movies (giant monsters) and the Alien Queen was just great as a giant monster…Loved it!

4). More Science-Fiction. i loved how they showed how much the earth has changed due to the incorporation of alien technology on the human race. Although this could also fit under the special effects reasons why I enjoyed the movie, I single this out because it was done so well and it is what made the movie different from the original (in a good way).

5). Action and adventure. This had a lot of action, more aliens, great battles and ton of destruction porn!

6). Decent story. Despite the character overload the story is pretty good. I did care about the characters, I hated to see Jasmine Hiller’s character die, and it was interesting and entertaining how they all got together to save the Earth once more.

Sure, I don’t exactly enjoy it as I did the original but this movie does have a lot going for me. I am very certain this alien invasion movie will have repeated viewings in my house.

 

My Journey to Star Trek: The Next Generation

I am working my way through all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, currently on season three, and decided to talk about my own Trek into enjoying this series after being closed minded to it for a few years. Today’s posting is about overcoming prejudice and being more open minded, a theme regularly addressed in Star Trek.

It was the mid 70s, 74 or 75 when we got Cable TV in our home town, I fell in love with Channel 11, WPIX out of New York City. I was about 12 years old at the time and they had great shows with wonderful cartoons and old movies like Abbott & Costello films, Godzilla movies and TV shows from the 60s and 70s such as The Munsters. Then there was this show called Star Trek. I do not remember watching my first episode but one thing I do remember is that I was instantly hooked to this fascinating show. I couldn’t get enough of it. I lived and breathed Star Trek. This was back in the day prior to the internet so if I wanted Star Trek information I really had to dig for it. I remember one of the many times when I had eye surgery and during my recovery my mother bought me a model kit of the Tricorder from the series. I went through countless model kits of the Enterprise and could never get those damned nacelles to stay upright!

I really enjoyed and was thrilled with the Star Trek movies. Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home were my favorites. Then in the mid 80s I began to hear about a new Star Trek series that Gene Roddenberry was trying to put together. There were so many rumors to sift through but eventually the premise was that it would have completely new characters and none of the originals characters and would be set about 80-100 years after the events of the original Star Trek series. It was to be called Star Trek: The Next Generation. Like a giant pair of wood and steel doors which guard an ancient castle my mind slammed shut with considerable force. Before even seeing one small scene my mind was closed. I just thought this new series would meet with quick failure. In my way of thinking it was impossible to have a successful Star Trek series without Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy. I turned my nose up at this series and didn’t even try to watch it.

However, after a couple of years I had heard that the show was a success. However, I still couldn’t bring myself to watch it. They had an older Captain and a man who was an android trying to be human. Plus a they had a freaking Klingon working on the bridge!!! That’s not Star Trek I would howl! Then in 1992 or 1993 I began hanging out with my friend George Cheatle and his family. He has a son, Mark, who was into the the new series. There were some cold winter days when there was nothing much to do but hang out with Mark and some of his friends and watch Star Trek: the Next Generation. I do not remember the first episode that I watched but one thing I do know is that over the next few months I really began to enjoy the show. The writing was very good and I came to really like all of the characters. I particularly liked Captain Pickard. He was different than James Kirk but still a man to be respected and he carried a persona which commanded respect. I am very interested in those that carry power and authority. Data, an android seeking to become more human, was also a very likable character. People with superior reasoning skills and intellect with a predilection toward logic have always been traits that I admired. The main thing which turned me on to the franchise were the stories. Running for 7 season TNG has even more quality episodes than its predecessor. From alien encounters to time travel the series always covered themes which I had admired from the original series.

Through the years my affection for Star Trek: The Next Generation has grown. I would say my affection for TNG is equal to the original series. For me, that says something considerable. I enjoyed all the movies…well except for Nemesis which was a bit depressing. I was disappointed that the TNG cast would not make anymore movies yet I do think the series had grown a little stale and JJ. Abrams has breathed new life into the franchise. Maybe that is a topic for another entry all of its own?

Some wonder if TNG will be rebooted like the original series? I was very open to different actors playing Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy et al. But when it comes to new actors playing Picard, Data and Riker I can suddenly feel the giant pair of wood and steel doors in my mind starting to slam shut again!

 

 

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July!! What else would I review today?

To some extent this movie reignited my interest in science fiction and fantasy movies. I remember seeing the first trailer for the film during the Superbowl in 1996. I really enjoyed the premise of this movie and it was unique to some extent. Generally, for the most part, alien invasion movies are small in scale. Except for the original War of the Worlds (1953) and Earth vs the Flying Saucers (1956) the majority of the alien invasion films featured a small scale invasion with only one space craft coming to visit earth. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) is a good example of a well told small scale alien invasion movie.

With Independence Day we are treated to something different, an alien invasion on a grand planet wide scale. These aliens are not coming in small flying saucers but in saucers that are over 15 miles in diameter that are in turn backed up by a mother ship a quarter size of the moon! There will be no lead alien wanting to be “taken to earth’s leaders,” in fact, there will be no discussions whatsoever. These aliens have truly come to take over the planet, therefore their mission is one of extermination.

At the time this movie came out I was unfamiliar with the team of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. Emmerich directed the movie and co-wrote the script with Devlin who was the film’s producer. The only movie they had done prior to that was “Stargate” which I had not seen at the time. Since then they have gone on to produce a slew of movies in the same tone and vein of Independence Day. In reality this movie does harken back to the B grade science fiction movies of the 50s. Although in this case they have state of the art special effects and top notch actors such as Bill Pullman, Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Randy Quaid, Robert loggia, Brent Spiner, Judd Hirsch, Mary McDonnell, Vivica A. Fox and Harry Connick, Jr. among many others.

In essence or spirit this is a remake of the War of the Worlds. Both films have similar elements. Both show a large scale invasion by aliens with a brilliant scientist leading the way and the story is resolved via a virus. Independence Day is also an homage to the disaster flicks of the 1970s where we witness various lives that intersect in the final part of the movie to defeat the aliens.

With the advent of the internet and talking with other fanboys I have learned that this film is not universally liked. That surprised me! I thought it was a well liked science fiction movie. I saw this film 4 times in the theater and it is one of my favorite science fiction movies. It has at least one viewing a year in my house. Today will be that day!

It was announced a year or so ago that a sequel is in development. Part of “what’s in the hopper” Thursdays I will see if I can dig up any info on the sequel.