Blog Archives

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.


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.



Independence Day Sequels

This information is from Nuke  the…

Director Roland Emmerich is gearing up for two more rounds with the aliens that wreaked havoc on Earth in 1996′s “Independence Day.”  After his action film “White House Down” is released on June 28th, Emmerich will focus his attention on making “ID Forever Part 1,” and “ID Forever Part 2.”

The films will take place 20 years after the events in “Independence Day.” Apparently, the original alien invasion force was able to send a distress signal to reinforcements before they were defeated by Earth’s military.  Here is what Emmerich had to say about the sequels.

”The humans knew that one day the aliens would come back,” explains the director, who completed two scripts with ”Independence Day” co-writer Dean Devlin and has given them to ”White House Down“ writer-producer James Vanderbilt for a rewrite. ”And they know that the only way you can really travel in space is through wormholes. So for the aliens, it could take two or three weeks, but for us that’s 20 or 25 years.”

Emmerich has been working with art department staff to see how the world will look in the aftermath of “Independence Day.”  This is what he explained.

“It’s a changed world. It’s like parallel history. [Humans] have harnessed all this alien technology. We don’t know how to duplicate it because it’s organically-grown technology, but we know how to take an antigravity device and put it in a human airplane.”

As far as the characters are concerned, actor Bill Pullman, who played President Thomas J. Whitmore, will return; Will Smith (Captain Steven Hiller) has not.  The scripts will focus on a new generation of characters, including Hiller’s stepson Dylan.

“It’s still some of the same characters, but also new younger characters; it’s a little bit like the sons take over,” says Emmerich, who promises that the first sequel will have a cliffhanger ending to keep audiences coming back for more. “The first one ends on a little success, but only enough to give the humans hope. And then in the second one they free themselves again [from the aliens].”

After the mass destruction of the original “Independence Day,” what’s left for new aliens to destroy?

“We’ve rebuilt,” Emmerich answers, with a smile. “But [the aliens] also do different things.”

Here are my thoughts: I love alien invasion movies! I also love the movie Independence Day! When it came out in 1996 I saw it in the theater 4 times! That was how much I enjoyed the movie. Yes, on Independence Day each year I take out the DVD and watch this film. It is fun, action packed and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I have been waiting for a sequel ever since the movie came out. I think today film makers are more eager to cash in on a succesful franchise so it amazes me we have had to wait this long for a sequel. We are getting two more movies to make it a trilogy. I am keeping my fingers crossed that all of this happens!

What’s in the Hopper?

Yesterday I promised that I would update the status of the sequels to Independence Day. Last I heard, November of 2011, two back to back sequels were in production but Will Smith has yet to sign on with the project.

Although the Star Trek sequel is in post production, I am sure there is someone at Industrial Light & magic is working on effects shots as I type this, here is a nice article from ACIN where Co-writer Alex Kurtzman talks about making bold and risky decisions for these movies.

Although some decisions made in Star Trek XI were apt to upset fans, Star Trek 2 Co-writer Alex Kurtzman believes that bold moves are what make for a great movie.

For Chris Pine though, it’s the people, not the major action sequences, that make for a good movie.

“[Star Trek 2] … is relentless,” said Pine, when asked about the Abrams’ sequel. “The movie is relentless, and for the visually inclined people who want to see major sequences, there are a couple specifically that I think…I’m not a huge 3-D fan, but I think will be incredible.”

Star Trek 2 may be relentless and chock-full of action, but Pine is more interested in the characters and their journey from strangers thrown together to cohesive crew. “But what I’m more excited about and what I think they did so well is that really the story is that much better,” said Pine, “and the journey that these guys go on is that much more, and what they always talked about is that even though they’re a crew from what we know about the original team, the fun of getting there is following that journey to where they become that tight-knit crew. It’s no fun if they’re already a tight-knit crew. So suffice it to say, they’re still learning how to get along.”

Kurtzman agreed with Pine on the importance of seeing the crew come together as one team. “One-hundred percent,” said Kurtzman. “They only really came together as a team at the end of the first movie as a function of story. But the bridge crew from the original series, they aren’t those people yet, neither in age nor in experience. So I think the worst mistake that we could have made was to assume that they were there already at the top of the movie and skip that stuff.”

In addition to the crew story, Kurtzman believed that choices made in Star Trek XI, controversial as some may have been, made for a better movie and fans can expect more bold moves in Star Trek 2. “And the other thing I’ll say without revealing too much,” he said, “is that in the first Trek, we made choices–in our invention of the story–that were extremely controversial. Blowing up Vulcan, hugely controversial choice, and we knew that die-hard Trekkers were either going to skewer us or accept it based on the emotional architecture around that choice. I think for us, Trek is at its best when it is making hugely bold moves like that, and there will be hugely bold moves in this one.”

Comic-Con starts on July 14 and I am expecting news on two movies I eagerly anticipate. There is going to be a teaser trailer for the next Superman movie, The Man of Steel, and Legendary Pictures (currently promoting the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises) is going to give some news on the Godzilla movie currently in production. I am hoping for a look at some conceptual art for that one! 

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.

Top 25 Favorite Science Fiction Movies

For the next 4 weeks on Wednesday I am going to list my top favorite movies from Science Fiction, Monster Movies, Superheroes and Fantasy genres. These are my personal subjective favorites.

It may surprise some readers not to see such well loved and respected movies as 2001: A Space Odyssey or Blade Runner on my list, but I really do not care too much for the dystopian style of science fiction movies (with exceptions) and instead prefer a more fun and lighthearted version of science fiction. So here are the movies I like to frequently watch.

25. Demolition Man (1993)

This is a movie that knows when to be serious and when to lighten up. Set in the near future Demolition Man is a fun science fiction action movie starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. Both are put in a state of suspended animation in the 80s and thawed out decades later. This Rip Van Winkle story has action, adventure, drama and humor. 

24. Earth vs the Flying Saucers (1956)

Alien Invasion movies are my favorite from the Science Fiction genre. This is one of the better ones from the 50s when these movies were a symbol of the Cold War.

23. Forbidden Planet (1956)

A classic from the 50s and one that inspired Star Trek. This film deals with psychological themes of power.

22. Starship Troopers (1997)

Many fans of the book complained that the movie wasn’t true to the book. Some say it was better. Either way this movie is roller coaster ride and a heck of a lot of fun. Co-ed showers and a war in space with giant bugs, what more could you want?

21. Total Recall (1990)

“Get your Ass to Mars.” The remake is coming out soon but it doesn’t have the Mars scenario. The remake looks good but the original is a thriller and I love ambiguous nature of the film..

20. I Robot (2004)

Another movie based on a series of books. This movie is based off of books written by the late great Issac Assimov. An enjoyable special effects extravaganza about robots run amok in the future.

19. The Terminator (1984)

The movie that made Arnold a star. This is one of the few movies with a dystopian view of the future that I enjoy. Mainly because at its heart it is more of an action-adventure film.

18. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

I think this movie has a lot of charm. Not a lot of action or special effects, this is s story that is carried by the relationships of the people. Still holds up well today.

17. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Steven Spielberg brings a sense of wonder to many of his movies. This movie has a sense of suspension and mystery too. A great first time visit for aliens.

16. Terminator 2. Judgment Day (1991)

Not as dark as the first movie but just as engaging. Great special effects and Arnold in classic form.

15. Avatar (2009)

This movie is pure Eye Candy. Giant Blue people living on a strange planet with strange creatures. While the story is not ground breaking the special effects are.

14. Contact (1997)

I miss the great mind of Carl Sagan. This is a good movie based on Sagan’s book, which touches on religious themes and the question “are we alone in the universe?” The fact that the alien Jodie Foster’s character encounters on her journey to Vega appears to her as her father is sentimentally appealing, given the nature of the father-daughter relationship depicted in the film; but in the end disappointing (I wanted a real alien) and the only negative in another wise engaging film.

13. Time Machine (1960)

Other than alien invasion movies, time travel is a fascinating subject in science fiction for me. This movie is a great adaptation of the HG Wells original classic. 

12. War of the Worlds (1953, 2005)

I must admit I like both the original and the sequel equally. Both tell the tale of alien invasions from different points of view and both have great special effects. The special effects of the original still are pretty good today while the special effects in the remake bring a sense of gritty realism. I like the design of the aliens in the newer version.

11. Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

An action adventure time travel movie from the TNG crew. The best of their movies. Resistance is Futile!

10.  Independence Day (1996)

In some ways this is a remake or re-imagining of War of the Worlds…or any 50s alien invasion movies. I cannot count the times I have watched this movie. I love the fact that the flying saucers are now 15 miles wide and hell bent on destruction. Also the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously so it is a fun and enjoyable ride.

9. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. (1980)

I am a Star Wars fan, but I like Trek better. 🙂 This was a very good sequel to the original and Darth Vader proclaiming he is Luke’s father is ingrained in our cultural consciousness.

8. Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

I saw this in the theater in 1977 when I was 13. It still is amazing to this day. It tells a great story and has excellent characters, an Evil Dark lord, a farm boy turned warrior adventurer, a princess, a rouge hero and a wise mentor, all with great eye popping special effects. A true classic. 

7. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

I love time travel stories and the Voyage Home delivers and enjoyable lighthearted time travel adventure.

6. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

This is a movie Trek fans either love or hate. I love it. Sure it is saggy in the middle but the first part when the crew comes together, the reveal of the refitted Enterprise, Spock walking onto the bridge as if Superman had swooped in to save the day, still gives me goosebumps. The fact that V’ger was a Voyager probe is a nice twist to the story.

5. Jurassic Park 3 (2001)

This one is ..and I know I use the word often…FUN! It doesn’t have the grandiose wonder of the first movie but it does have a lot of great dino action.

4. Jurassic Park (1993)

This movie still awes and wows nearly 20years later. The scene where we see the giant Brachiosaurus for this first time still fills me with wonder. The T-Rex crashing through the fence is still pretty amazing. 

3. ET-The Extraterrestrial (1982)

As Dorthy said in the Wizard of Oz, “there’s no place like home.” ET proves that adage. As I view ET as a symbol of our lost inner child this movie brings me to tears every time.

2. Star Trek (2009)

I just love this movie. I grew up watching the original Trek in the early 70s as a kid and this movie really captures the wonder and magic I felt back then as I was discovering the Star Trek TV series for the first time. The new actors have captured the essence of the original characters and Leonard Nimoy playing his iconic character Spock once more brought great emotion to the movie. 

1. Planet of the Apes (1968)

An all time science fiction classic. Still good nearly 50 years later. I was never into the sequels like the original. The originals stands on its own. There are many themes dealt with in the movie. It is a time travel movie, it is a movie that looks at prejudice and fearing those that are different. It also examines the conflicts between religion and science. 

What’s in the Hopper?

I have posted about movies that are coming out this year and next so today I want to mention some movies that are still in development phase. Being in development does not mean the film will see the light of day. There is a place called Development Hell where film ideas can languish for years and even decades before they get made. Sadly, some films never leave Development Hell.

One movie that is in development now and was supposed to have been released this year was a new American made Godzilla movie. There was an American Godzilla movie produced by Sony Pictures and directed by  Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin  (Independence Day) which did not do as well as expected at the box office. Although I enjoyed the 1998 American Godzilla movie many did not and the rights reverted back to Toho Studios and no sequels were ever made.

In  2010 Legendary Pictures acquired the rights from Toho Studio to make another American made Godzilla film, with a release date of 2012. The project was to be co-produced with Warner Bros., and Legendary has stressed that their film would have no association with the 1998 Godzilla that their film would be a complete reboot to the franchise.

Legendary Pictures has stated that conceptual artwork for Godzilla that would be consistent with the Japanese design of the monster is being pursued. In January of 2011 it was announced that Gareth Edwards, who directed Monsters, was hired to direct the new Godzilla film. Edwards, who is a Godzilla fan himself, has mentioned he will give this movie a new feel consistent with the character and would not share the tone and feel of the 1998 fiasco.  What has transpired thus far is that David Callaham’s first draft of a script was rejected and in November of last year (2011) Max Borenstein was hired to adapt a story outline by David Goyer to be turned into a script.

From the sources I have this new Godzilla movie is being pushed back until 2014. I have heard nothing else about this movie and hope it is not languishing and suffering eternally in Development Hell.

Another movie that is in Development Hell is a sequel to Cloverfield. Director Matt Reeves, Producer JJ. Abrams, and writer Drew Goddard have been saying they want to do a sequel but nothing has really happened in this direction. The reasons given by the three is a lack of a coherent direction for the sequel and the inability to have the time to get together to work on this project. I really would love to see a sequel to Cloverfield but I am certainly not holding my breath waiting. 


This is a large topic and I think I will dedicate Thursdays to examining science fiction and fantasy movies that are in development.