Flashback Friday: Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

When the sequel to a highly successful film is released, the expectation is that this second narrative will hold up on its own while giving proper respect to its predecessor.

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) is the follow-up to the blockbuster 90’s movie Independence Day. It takes place a generation after Earth was nearly obliterated by an invading alien army. Humanity has taken thorough advantage of the advancement in technology. When the aliens return with revenge on the mind and a military force that has doubled in size, our heroes must once again save the day.

Two generations combine forces. the newbies Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), Patricia Whitworth (Maika Monroe), and Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher) eagerly join the fight. Backing them up are veterans David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), Julius Levinson (Judd Hirsch), former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman), and Jasmine Hiller (Vivica A. Fox). It will take all of them working together to repel the attackers and keep our world going.

I love the first movie. It is everything a film of this nature should be. I wish I could say the same about Independence Day: Resurgence. While the visuals are fantastic, they cannot make up for the meh storyline and unimpressive character arcs. The emotions that I felt while watching Independence Day are missing. It was as if the screenwriters and creative team lost the spark. Unfortunately, it comes off a soulless easy cash grab based on nostalgia, which doesn’t always work.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Independence Day Explosion GIF by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment - Find & Share on GIPHY

Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen Movie Review

Fiddler on the Roof is one of those movies that we all know. Even if we have never seen the film or the various stage adaptations, the songs and the story are iconic in their own right.

The new documentary film, Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen was recently released in theaters. It tells the story of how the original 1960s stage show became a big-screen sensation a decade later. Based on the stories by Sholem Aleichem, the audience follows Tevye (Topol), a Jewish dairyman living in poverty who is trying to provide for his wife and five daughters in the fiction shtetl of Anatevka in the early 20th century. His three eldest daughters, Tzeitel (Rosalind Harris), Hodel (Michele Marsh), and Chava (Neva Small) are all of marriageable age and test the social boundaries of the period.

In addition to interviews with the actors, the audience also is taken behind the scenes by director Norman Jewison (who despite his surname is not a member of the tribe) and musical director John Williams. Narrated by Jeff Goldblum, this is a love letter to a beloved narrative and characters who transcend time, culture, and religion.

I loved this movie. It was everything I could have wanted and more. The making of the original film was a labor of love for all involved. Told with authenticity, heart, and nothing but love, this documentary is nothing short of perfection.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. I would even go as far as to say that this is one of my favorite movies of the year so far.

Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen is currently playing in theaters.

Fiddler On The Roof Broadway GIF by GREAT PERFORMANCES | PBS - Find & Share on GIPHY

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

*Warning: this review contains mild spoilers. Read at your own risk.

A sequel of a sequel of a superhero movie walks a fine line. It has to be entertaining, but it also has to extend the narrative and the character arc in a way that feels right to both the universe and the characters.

Two weeks ago, Thor: Ragnarok hit theaters.  Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is no longer of this world. His previously unknown first child, Hela (Cate Blanchett), otherwise known as the Goddess of Death has returned from exile to return Asgard to the way it was before her exile. But to do this, she has to make sure that her brothers, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) are out-of-the-way. They find themselves in another world where Thor is a gladiator and fighting against The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). This world is ruled by Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), who might be crazy. With the help of Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Thor, Loki and The Hulk might be able to defeat Hela and save Asgard.

If there was a proper way to do a second sequel, especially for a movie which is based on a comic book, this film is the blueprint. It is funny, entertaining  and takes the narrative and characters in new directions without feeling stale or overproduced. And of course, the two female characters, played by Tessa Thompson and Cate Blanchett are amazing. They contribute to the narrative, both standing on their own two feet and neither relying on the stereotypical female caricatures that exist in the genre.

I absolutely recommend it.

Thor: Ragnarok is presently in theaters. 

 

 

Flashback Friday-It’s The End Of The World As We Know It- Independence Day (1996) & The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Director Roland Emmerich likes to destroy the world, at least on screen.

In Independence Day (1996), it is two days before July 4th. Communication systems around the world are failing for what seems to be no reason. At first, the reason is though to be meteors. Then David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) discovers that Earth is about to destroyed by an alien race. The day before July 4th, many of major cities around the world are destroyed by the aliens. The survivors have one more chance to save Earth. Can David and Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) save the world on July 4th?

For a movie that is more science fiction than fact and more action than plot, it’s not bad. Considering that it was made in 1996, the special effects are also pretty decent.

In The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) is a paleoclimatologist. He discovers that a rather large ice sheet has separated from a glacier and could potentially affect climates around the world. At the same time his son, Sam, (Jake Gyllenhaal) is in New York City for a school trip. When the upper part of the United States is hit by a giant wave and then frozen over, Jack will go on a daring and dangerous mission to rescue his son.

Before I go any further, I will warn that anyone who sees this movie for the first time, must watch on a large screen. Watching this movie on a small television, the impact is lost.  This movie hit’s home for me, especially with the idea of climate change. Now granted, this is a movie and I am sure that some liberties were taken with the plot. After Hurricane Sandy hit two years ago, this movie had elements that were very real. Especially the large wave hitting downtown Manhattan (I see that view nearly every day).

I recommend both.

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