Friday, July 1, 2016

Gale from the Hunger Games is Your Millennial Sky Captain, or Thoughts on Independence Day: Resurgence

Writer and director Roland Emmerlich has been busy since Independence Day (1996), with Godzilla (1998), Eight Legged Freaks (giant spiders, 2002), The Day After Tomorrow (global warming, 2004), 10,000 BC (Mammoths! 2008) and 2012 (Mayan End of The World! 2012, are you sensing a theme) before returning to the long-awaited and never asked for Independence Day: Resurgence (2016). 
Is there such a thing as a sequel to a 20 year-old movie?  Isn’t this technically a reboot?  The first movie is mostly remembered as Will Smith’s transition to action hero, and as a Pre 9/11 disaster movie that was cited in the days after 9/11.  Media coverage compared the scenes in New York and DC to Independence Day (1996), and as a consequence the movie will be forever associated with that date.
20 years later, Will Smith’s portrait is alongside George Washington in the White House.  Jessie Usher stars as his son Dylan.  The earth is now a utopian society with moon bases, flying cars and (hopefully) jet packs.  That seems kind of optimistic considering the state of the planet at the end of the last movie, but OK.
Liam Hemsworth portrays Jake Morrison, one of those maverick space jockeys who never follows orders but gets the job done.  There are other stars, including William Fitchner from Prison Break and Elysium (2013), and a Chinese Kylie Jenner named Angelababy as Lt. Rain Lao of Earth Space Defense, for the Asian market.
There are plenty of scenes of actors reacting to green screens and call-outs to all the original stars (except for Randy Quaid), but the overall feeling of the movie is a two-hour set up for the inevitable next two movies.  There are some nifty CGI explosions and most of China (Asian market!) gets sucked into the sky.  This time the aliens are drilling into the earth’s core, but does it really matter? 
My primary complaint is Independence Day: Reloaded (I mean Resurgence) doesn’t bring anything new from the original movie and digital landscapes and spaceships don’t have the same emotional resonance onscreen as models and miniatures.  This isn’t James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) or Godfather 2 (1974), and while it’s always a pleasure to see Jeff Goldblum, I’m sure he’d rather be running away from dinosaurs or starring in another Wes Anderson film.
But look out for Charlotte Gainsbourg (yes, that Gainsbourg, daughter of Jane Birkin and Serge) as Dr. Catherine Marceaux, another alien expert, and Maika Monroe aka Jay from It Follows (2014), as the president’s daughter and Gale's girlfriend.




my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 volume supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.