Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much of the original cast. (The record may go to the 32 years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.) But clearly filmmakers Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin have long wanted to follow up their 1996 blockbuster hit Independence Day. The result is a big, fast sci-fi action thriller that lacks both the original movie's enjoyably raucous tone and its break-out star Will Smith.
After the events of 20 years ago, America has taken alien technology to heart, improving transportation and military defence, including creating a base on the moon to keep an eye out for returning tentacled baddies. Then an orb-shape ship appears, followed by a new mothership so large that it spans the entire Atlantic Ocean. President Lanford (Sela Ward) turns to the surviving heroes of the previous invasion for help: scientific expert David (Jeff Goldblum), former president Whitmore (Bill Pullman) and mad genius Brakish (Brent Spiner). Meanwhile, a young team of next-generation pilots dives into the fray, including Dylan (Jesse T. Usher playing Will Smith's now-grown son), Jake (Liam Hemsworth), Patricia (Maika Monroe as Whitmore's daughter and Jake's fiancee) and Charlie (Travis Tope).
The film is assembled in standard disaster movie style, quickly introducing characters and their personal little melodramas before throwing them into the mad chaos of this new invasion. Emmerich is an expert at this structure, using it to hugely entertaining effect from Independence Day to Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 2014 and White House Down. So it's odd that this film feels so lifeless by comparison. The story rushes past at a breathless pace that never allows the characters or events to gain any real traction with the audience. The only sharp wit on hand this time comes from throwaway one-liners apparently improvised by Goldblum. And the action feels eerily derivative, rehashed from Emmerich's filmography with added elements from Star Wars and Apocalypse Now.
Continue reading: Independence Day: Resurgence Review
Everyone knows the tale of David Levinson and Captain Steven Hiller, the two men at the forefront of the last Alien invasion. Since that last fateful day, Levinson has worked tirelessly to protect the world and strengthen it from alien attacks, even using the technology they discovered on board the alien spaceship to counter their possible attack methods.
When the people of Earth learn that Aliens are on their way back to our planet, there's automatic hysteria and a hope that the newly installed space defences will help counter the attack. Whatever stringent plans David develops he, more than anyone, realises that it will probably not be enough to protect us.
Independence Day: Resurgence takes place twenty years after the original movie and sees many of the cast taking up the same role again. The film is directed by Roland Emmerich (known for The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla and the first Independence Day movie.)
Brent Spiner is back for 'Independence Day 2'
Independence Day 2 has added to its roster this week, welcoming back Brent Spiner as the eccentric Dr Brackish Okun - a key character in Roland Emmerich's 1996 sci-fi spectacular.
Brent Spineris reprising his Dr Okun character for Independence Day 2
Spiner was already an established TV actor when he appeared in the original movie, having spent five years in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Continue reading: Hurray: Brent Spiner Is Returning As Dr Okun In 'Independence Day 2'
That kind of relativism -- hoping for the best possible Hilary Duff movie -- is what got me to see Material Girls in a theater (it wasn't screened for critics). It's a Duff movie through and through: Hilary's mom produced it, and her sister Haylie gets second billing. (Casting her less famous real-life sister as her movie sidekick is sweetly misguided, and therefore vintage Duff.) Hil-Hil and Hay-Hay play Tanzie and Ava Marchetta, spoiled heiresses whose cosmetics empire is threatened, landing them in the poorhouse. The opportunity for cheap culture-clash humor (see entitled rich girls adjust to poverty!) and cheap shots at Paris and Nicky Hilton (or even a fictional rehash of The Simple Life), combined with the participation of director Martha Coolidge (an expert in blonde bubbliness by virtue of having made Valley Girl years ago) makes Material Girls a candidate for a teenybopping good time. The peculiar, slapdash movie they made instead nonetheless eclipses most of the star's previous pre-teen pictures, because it finally drives a Duff vehicle into the land of beguilingly awful.
Continue reading: Material Girls Review
"The funny voices? The silly faces? They were funny for about one second," says a woman breaking the heart of Pistachio Disguisey (Dana Carvey) in the nitwit kiddie spy flick "Master of Disguise."
She couldn't be more right. In a transparently desperate attempt at a career comeback, Carvey hams like a bad Christmas dinner as Pistachio, a clumsy twit of an Italian waiter who learns that he comes from a long line of disguise experts who have been "protecting the world from evil over the centuries."
For no explained reason, his father (James Brolin) has kept the family history a secret from Pistachio. But when Pistachio's mom and dad are kidnapped by their old arch-enemy -- a black-market art collector named Devlin Bowman (Brent Spiner) -- Grandpa (Harold Gould) shows up to train Pistachio for a rescue mission designed to showcase Carvey's ability to affect an endless array of annoying personas.
Continue reading: Master Of Disguise Review
Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...
Everyone knows the tale of David Levinson and Captain Steven Hiller, the two men at...
I confess a fascination -- perhaps unhealthy by definition -- with the actress/singer/empire Hilary Duff....
"The funny voices? The silly faces? They were funny for about one second," says a...