Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lazy Movie Weekend Double Feature, Part 2: Come for the aliens, stay for the bromances?

I love action movies. Always have. Car chases are fun to watch, explosions are pretty great, and who doesn't love a good fight? The thing about action movies is that there's a spectrum when it comes to quality. Independence Day: Resurgence skirts the line between adequate, not terrible alien movie and super cheesy, terrible alien mess. Did I love it? Not really but I didn't hate it either. Is it the worst movie I've ever seen? Absolutely not and people who are saying this obviously didn't see Rocky & Bullwinkle (seriously Robert DeNiro?) or the Matthew Broderick remake of Godzilla. Those are the types of movies that make me want my money back. Broderick, I'm still waiting on my $7 (unless I charge interest).

Since I don't write reviews I thought instead I'd talk about the movie focusing on three areas: What's Missing, Things I Loved/Need More Of, and WTF Moments. And yes, there will be spoilers. Because I'm terrible. Grab some popcorn because this movie is the very definition of popcorn flick.

What's Missing (Really, Who's Missing)
  • Will Smith: Let's just get this one out of the way. Will Smith didn't return to play Captain Steven Hiller. I'm sure he realized that this was not going to be a great movie and didn't really need him. He's busy being part of the Suicide Squad so there's that. I have zero problems with his absence; I don't think he's a great actor and the original character made me irrationally annoyed. I did enjoy the oil painting of him hanging in the White House - a tribute to a true American hero.
  • Margaret Colin: Who is Margaret Colin? Only the love of David Levinson's (Jeff Goldblum) life in the first movie. Colin's Constance worked for President Whitmore and was a wonderful counter to David throughout the movie. They got back together at the end. I expected Constance to be here but there is no mention of her at any point in the 2 hour movie. Not even David's meddling and lovable father, Julius, mentions her. What happened to Constance? If someone knows what happened to her, please let me know. Maybe I missed it but I really don't think that I did.
  • Adam Baldwin: I love Adam Baldwin. Frankly, the original movie could have benefited from more Adam Baldwin so I'm sad that there's zero Adam Baldwin in the sequel. I'll admit that the addition of William Fitchner in the sequel helps (more on this shortly) but it's not the same.
  • Mae Whitman: Mae Whitman played President Whitmore's daughter in the original movie. She was adorable and everything we could ever want from a little girl in an alien movie. Apparently, her character's name in ID was Patricia but I don't recall her ever being referred to in this way. Everyone calls her "munchkin" and it's perfection. Whitman is a very talented actor, most recently starring in the high school rom-com The DUFF. Anyway, she's been replaced by Maika Monroe. Monroe just isn't Patricia Whitmore and it's sad that Whitman is missing. There have been lots of articles about why she's not here; I hope this isn't true but I'm not naive enough to believe that Hollywood isn't the terrible place we all think it is. 
Things I Loved/Need More Of 
  •  Vivica A. Fox: At least Jasmine is back to make us remember what was good about the first movie. I always considered her the heart of the first movie; she's a good person, a good mom, a good friend, and also happens to be a stripper. In the sequel, she's become a doctor (obviously) and selflessly puts herself in harm's way. I wanted more of her in this movie because frankly, heart is just one of the things missing from Resurgence. Also, the only movie Vivica A. Fox should die in is Kill Bill Vol. 1 because she had it coming.
  • Julius Levinson: If you don't love Judd Hirsch's meddling dad, Julius, you don't like funny things. He's in a significant amount of the movie but it's not as much fun as the first one. He does get saved by some kids and then drives them into the middle of an all out alien war so that's something. 
  • Jeff Goldblum in a tank top: Let's all admit it: Jeff Goldblum is the sexy/nerdy older dude we all love. He's been that way since early movies like Earth Girls Are Easy and The Fly and only got better in the original Jurassic Park and the original ID. There's something missing in this version of David Levinson; maybe it's Constance's absence. Or possibly more tank tops.
  • General Adams: Confession: I watch the only okay Adam Sandler remake of The Longest Yard whenever it's on tv because of William Fitchner. He's not even in that much of the movie but it's worth it. Fitchner is a super talented actor and has one of those faces that's interesting and handsome all at the same time so you just sort of stare at him. Like Adam Baldwin in the first movie, this movie could have used 100% more General Adams and he's already in most of the movie. Honestly, you could get rid of the whole Jake/Dylan story line and just give us more General Adams.
  • Jake's backstory: We get that he almost killed Dylan Hiller in a training exercise and that they "hate" one another. We also get that he's super dreamy and engaged to Patricia Whitmore. But what's the deal with the story of being left at a camp during the War of 1996 (that's a thing)? Was he one of those other children hanging out with Dylan and Munchkin at Area 51? I need to know more even if I don't particularly care for him as a character.
  • President Whitmore channeling Lone Starr: I have loved Bill Pullman since the first time I saw the movie Spaceballs. He was a great leading man president in the first ID and I was glad to see him back in the sequel. At the beginning of the movie, he's the crazy, old man version of himself but by the climatic end, we see the true President Whitmore and he looks the way I imagine Lone Starr would have looked had we ever gotten a Spaceballs sequel.
  • Warlord Umbutu/Floyd the Accountant buddy comedy: These are, by far, two of the weirdest characters added to the mix of this movie. At the beginning, when we meet both, they barely talk to one another and Floyd is intimidated by the warlord. By the end of the movie, they're killing aliens side by side like they were born to do so. I think these guys deserve a spinoff buddy comedy movie. I'd watch that.
  • Brent Spiner as Dr. Brakish Okun: I only add him here because I didn't think he was going to be in the movie...I thought he died in the first one. Always trust the crazy guy in movies like this.
 And finally...

WTF Moments, Or Things I Could Do Without/Don't Understand
  •  Science apparently doesn't exist in this movie: I get that this movie is set in a future time where we have used the technology and knowledge left behind by our alien invaders. I don't believe that all that technology would have been able to solve this issue: the Earth and the moon don't have the same atmosphere. If David and Jake need spacesuits to walk around on the moon, how is it possible for all of them and the fighter pilots to move between Earth and the moon with no visible signs that they were impacted by the change in atmosphere? #sciencedoesntmatterinscifiactionmovies
  • The Bromances: Why are there so many bromances? Is it the mid-2000s and we're watching a movie starring Jason Segel and I don't know, Jonah Hill? We've got Charlie and Jake, Jake and Dylan, Jake and David, Warlord Umbutu and Floyd, Whitmore and Levinson, Dr. Okun and Dr. Isaacs, and even Whitmore and retired General Grey. I like that dudes are being confident in their friendships in movies and pop culture but this seems like way too much bromance for one movie.
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg: I have no problem with her being in this movie EXCEPT that if we're going to not cast Mae Whitman because she's not considered "conventionally beautiful" (bullshit) than how did we get to Charlotte Gainsbourg? She's a talented and beautiful actress as well but doesn't scream "alien popcorn flick actress" even if she's playing a psychologist. There's something really off about her being in this movie. I want to like her but I don't.
  • Sela Ward as President Lanford: You just can't rally behind this President. There's nothing inspiring about her. No rallying speech, no woman of the people vibe; she's just there. I was not sad when the safe location where she was located was destroyed by aliens. I was excited by the person who ended up being sworn in as President. I'll let this one be a surprise.
  • Patricia Whitmore: It's not that Maika Monroe is a bad actor; she's fine but I don't believe her/ It ruins the plots she's involved in. Not a fighter pilot, not the daughter of the President who saved us all, not a member of the current president's staff. She's just boring even in the scenes with the lesser Hemsworth. Patricia gets some terrible dialogue so it's really not her fault. I just wish she was...more. 
  • Smug dudes: The first ID had Will Smith, this one has Liam Hemsworth as Jake Morrison. He's kind of like a combination of Will Smith and Harry Connick, Jr. from the first one; he mugs a lot, is sort of funny, and you don't wish for his death. However, you do hope he'll stop talking and just kill the damn alien queen already.
While the new President (again, I can't tell you who it is) has a rather rousing speech to the world right before the end battle with the aliens (that is of course resolved before the 2 minute countdown runs out), it does not hold a candle to the original. 

 Happy Birthday America! 
Make smart life choices this weekend - don't set things on fire, drive responsibly, and remember to hydrate and wear sunscreen.

Fab Four
Bromance 1

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