TODAY WE CELEBRATE FORGETTING THIS MOVIE
Independence Day: Resurgence (2016): Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind's new space defenses be enough?
GUYS. GUYS. LOOK AT ALL THE INTRIGUE IN THAT IMDB DESCRIPTION. SO MUCH INTRIGUE RIGHT? Look I'll make it easy for y'all: this movie SUCKS. It is actually terrible, and what's sad is I actually had hope that this movie would be somewhat ok. After all while the first one is EXTREMELY dated now, there are still some great moments in that film. I mean that final battle sequence from start to finish is awesome. I still get an adrenaline rush watching it today, and I still get a little emotional when the man who had been mocked most of the film ultimately is the one who saves the day. Not to mention dat speech, which definitely makes a good argument for best speech in the history of cinema. Buuuuuuuuuuuut the original this film is not.
So let's talk about the good first. Let's see what I can find.....um......oh! Bill Pullman was good reprising his role as President Whitmore. He had some of the best lines of the film and his character definitely had the best moment of the film. Seeing Jeff Goldblum not care about anything is awesome. He is clearly only in this film for the money, and he had a blast with that fact. That's definitely not something that should be awesome, but in this case it is because it's Jeff freaking Goldblum. Aaaaaaaand the comedic relief from Nicolas Wright (comedic relief in Emmerich's surprisingly good White House Down as well) was much needed and excellent, and the interactions between Goldblum and Judd Hirsch were just as funny as they were in the first film. Can we PLEASE get a film where it's just the two of them being themselves for 2 hours? Because that would be hilarious. Finally, I must give the film props for having an emotional death scene with two men in love with each other. I'm glad that that is becoming increasingly ok that it's popping up in a big budget summer blockbuster, but I will say it kind of came out of left field so from a relationship standpoint that romance wasn't earned at all. Whiiiiiiiiiich pretty much sums up the rest of the film.
Soooooooooo the rest of the film. First off, the effects. Holy crap the effects were TERRIBLE. With the exception of the mother alien the effects for this film were absolutely awful. Like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 levels of awful. For example in the picture above, and at several other moments you knew there was not a single organic thing on screen. It was all CGI. And when that happens for me it least it really breaks immersion. From a story standpoint this film is basically the first one done over again, which I'd be ok with if I thought the first film had a good overall story. It does not, and when the moments of the first one that were good (like the President's speech) are replicated here it just doesn't have the same effect. I think one of the big things that this film failed to do that the first one did do was give us a sense of scale. Remember that scene in the first one where the world uses Morse code to communicate a battle plan? Well nothing like that happens here. In fact during the "big speech" of this film we get shots from around the world, but this time around everyone is just sitting around their radios. Hanging out. All the action takes place in one place this time around, and that really hurts the film. Finally, the rest of the acting in this film leaves a LOT to be desired. Liam Hemsworth is not his brother, and Jessie T. Usher left something to be desired. I was definitely disappointed in the young talent of this film, the biggest of which being Maika Monroe. No Maika no! The star of It Follows (anyone who follows this blog knows how much I loved It Follows from last year) was very lackluster I felt as Patricia Whitmore. She just couldn't rise above the mantra of being "the girl" until the end of the final action sequence, and by then the film had long since lost me. I know you can do better!
Ultimately, director Roland Emmerich drops a huge dud here with ID4 2. From bad visuals to lackluster writing to terrible editing OH THE FREAKING EDITING. Can I just say the editing of this film is some of the worst editing I've ever seen? Adam Wolfe has done good work in the past, but that good work definitely does not transfer to here, as this film strived to have the fastest cuts imaginable, resulting in me often times having NO idea where anything was in relation to anything else. I've seen this new style start to creep up in films as an alternative to shaky cam, but to me it's JUST AS BAD as that. STOP IT HOLLYWOOD. STOP HAVING QUICK CUTS IN YOUR ACTION SEQUENCES. THE AUDIENCE WANTS TO BE ABLE TO ACTUALLY SEE WHAT'S GOING ON. Sorry for the rant there but come on guys! You should be able to create enough tension in these action sequences with, you know, the action that's happening you don't need to add shaky cam or quick cuts! LAWD. Ok where was I? Right. This movie sucks. While there are a few good moments in the 129 minute film, the majority of this film is, well, garbage. This will likely find itself on my worst films of 2016 list.
The Critique: Bad visuals, editing, storytelling, and well, pretty much everything else make Independence Day: Resurgence one of the worst films of 2016 to this point.
The Recommendation: Ah. You know what I'm going to say. AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE. I know you want to watch it out of curiosity but wait until it's on Redbox or Netflix or something!
Rewatchability: Moderately Low
The Verdict: 2/10 Garbage.
Pixar Does it Again
Finding Dory (2016): The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
It's hard to put into words just how good the guys at Pixar are at their jobs. Once again the master storytellers at the studio do what they do best: make a wonderful story featuring fantastic animation that the entire family can enjoy. While not perfect and by no means Toy Story 3, Finding Dory kept a smile on my face as we returned to the world of Finding Nemo from start to finish. At the end of the day that's all I can ask for, and that's exactly what Finding Dory delivered.
First off, the good. Now personally I'm not as big into animation as some are, so I don't feel like I can talk about the technical aspects very much, but from an aesthetic perspective? It seems like every year these Pixar films look better and better. This year what really got me was the huge color palette, as the studio did not hold back in making the ocean and the other environments our characters visited as colorful as they could. Of course as they do every year the voice acting here again is outstanding. The cast is huge, featuring legendary actors Eugene Levy and the one and only Diane Keaton in relatively small minor roles, and when that's the case you know you've got a good cast. And of course Ellen DeGeneres delivers yet again, but I guess that's to be expected. Finally, the writing. Long time Pixar big shot Andrew Stanton co-writes this script with total newcomer Victoria Strouse, (what a first film for her!) and it is easily the calling card of this film. I was engrossed from start to finish as this film screeched through its brisk 103 minute run time. But as I said before storytelling is what Pixar does best so this is to be expected. While The Good Dinosaur wasn't the greatest thing on the planet they have delivered between this and 2015's wonderful Inside Out. I would say Pixar has turned the corner and put their cold streak from 2011-2014 behind them, but next up is Cars 3 which is an unnecessary sequel to the most unpopular Pixar film ever made so we'll see if that actually holds up.
You might notice I'm trying to just graze the surface of this film, and that's because I believe Finding Dory really should be discovered on your own. It is a wonderful film, though it's by no means perfect. The final act got a little too ridiculous for me, and I even shook my head a few times. Most of the time what happens in the final act wouldn't bother me, but when it's Pixar I can get a little nit picky. I don't want to spoil anything, but those our age who have seen the film will know what point I'm talking about it's pretty obvious when this movie becomes "too much of a kids movie." I know I know that's what it's supposed to be but again Pixar's specialty is fun for the whole family so that's what I expect! It would be unreasonable of me to have this standards for any other animation studio but when Pixar's record is what it is, I can hold it in high regard. Finally, and again this can be construed as another "Pixar" complaint, I was never on the edge of my seat. The film went right where I expected it to go, which is a bit against the MO of a Pixar film. Again trying to be vague here because while this is a complaint I had it only detracted from the experience in a minor way. Ultimately this is a great Pixar film and just might be the best family film of the summer. Though that one we'll have to wait and see on because there is another big-budget kids movie coming out in a few weeks.....(starts jamming out to heavy metal music)
The Critique: While not perfect and not quite to the level of 2015's Inside Out, Finding Dory is a rush of early 2000's nostalgia featuring dazzling animation and a fantastic story.
The Recommendation: If you have a family and haven't taken them to see this yet.....you're wrong.
The Verdict: 8/10 Great.
Wait what was this movie about again?
Now You See Me: The Second Act (2016): The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.
Ugh. Gotta love corporate-mandated movies. You know, I actually kind of liked the first Now You See Me. Yes it was a mess of a film, but in terms of mindless popcorn flicks it was actually pretty good! Plus any film that brings Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson together again immediately gets points in my book. (Freaking LOVE Zombieland) Really this series as a whole is stacked with some of my favorite actors in the business, and when I heard they added Lizzy Caplan for the sequel I was STOKED. Lizzy Caplan cannot star in enough things nowadays, and she steals the show here. (Even though there is a very unnecessary love story between her and Dave Franco) But despite all the great actors....this film is an absolute dumpster-fire. Why? Because unlike the first film it tries to be more than what it actually is.
Usually I talk about the good first, but I will highlight the bad here because there's a lot of it. First off the overall tone of this film is entirely too heavy. Unlike the first one, which was very playful and fun, The Second Act tries to actually give gravitas to these giant tricks our heroes are doing and it simply just does not work. I could not get past the ridiculousness of this film because the film couldn't help but basically say "Oh look at that! Wasn't that amazing?" right after every trick. Then the film tried to explain everything. Ohhhhhhh boy when this film tries to reveal the curtain and explain everything it completely lost me and everyone else in the theater. Not only that, it even tried to set up a sequel (more so than the original one did at least) because boy did we not see that one coming!
There are so many problems with this film, but I'll highlight a few positive things and wrap up because I have a lot of other things to do. Lizzy Caplan killed it as the "new" Fourth Horseman, as she killed basically every scene she was in. Additionally Daniel Radcliffe had a BLAST in his role, putting in a hilarious and evil performance as he attempts to put his Harry Potter persona in the rear view mirror. If anything this film set up the notion that Radcliff is up for whatever, which he better be because Swiss Army Man is right around the corner. Beyond that.....uhhhhh.....some of the cinematography was good, particularly during the magic sequences, but it was surrounded by shaky cam in the chase sequences and a HORRIBLY choreographed motorbike sequence soooooo that kind of negates that. Annnnnnnnnndddddddd uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I got nothing. Screw it. 3/10.
The Critique: Corporate greed rears its ugly head again in this messy sequel that no one wanted.
The Recommendation: Gotta love it when I say this: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE
Rewatchability: Moderately Low
The Verdict: 3/10 Bad.
Film Credit: http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/now-you-see-me-2-lizzy-caplan-daniel-radcliffe-jesse-eisenberg-woody-harrelson-dave-franco.jpg
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