Monday, June 27, 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Independence Day: Resurgence

Run!!! It's been twenty years and something scaly is afoot in 3D. "Independence Day"  the sequel has arrived and we are at DEFCON 4 once more with enough crunching crashing and bashing for a thousand disaster films. Roland Emmerich again directs and most of the gang is all here, sans Will Smith as our hero, Stephen Hiller. Now we have Hiller's stepson Dylan (Jessie Usher) who is not as cocky and self assured as his stepdad, but he handles all drama with a smile. The reckless character belongs to actor Liam Hemsworth as Jake. He is a hybrid of Captain Kirk and Han Solo. Usually he does the right thing, but he is known to push the envelope.

Jeff Goldblum reprises his scientist role as Levinson, and he is apropriately spaced out and full of dry observations. The one casting surprise is Charlotte Gainsbourg as a scientist and linguistic scholar. Her nervous face and piercing eyes hits you like a wedge across the chest and gives gravity to the pop melodrama.  One can watch her all day, but it is a cinematic sin that she has little to do except take pictures and collect sketches, her haunted charisma squandered.

Bill Pullman reprises his role as the US president who once saved the day while Brent Spiner (from Star Trek: The Next Generation) appears too, once more as the eccentric Dr. Okun, running around naked, scrawling designs and squiggles.

To suffice, this is war and more of the same. Straightaway, the president and first female (Sela Ward) is rendered powerless in seconds. Really? Shouldn't they have some experience from decades ago? During the initial confrontation, there is some popcorn paranoia and suspense. We don't quite know how the aliens will look and maybe, just maybe, events will be different.

But, to reveal too much on screen is to spoil and sure enough, the fighters come out and the explosions commence with "Star Wars" era dialogue. (Yeehaa, we got em!") Midway through it becomes more like a video game than a film as the pyrotechnics blossom in multiples like violent flowers, oddly lacking in emotion  yet crystal clear.

There is one engaging air combat scene between our heroine Patricia (Maika Monroe) and the alien which contains its tension in a 1950 monster movie kind of way. Other than Charlotte Gainsbourg's face, the close up fight is the best thing in the film.

While it may be possible to get swept up in the film for a little bit, there is one belligerent angry line reminicent of current politics that killed my suspension of disbelief. After all, shouldn't we be less interested in militarily trumping these primal creatures and looking for a fight?  A smidgen of logic and philosophy (as in life) would do wonders for a third film. How many "War of the Worlds" can our eyes absorb?

Time will tell.

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