Friday, July 1, 2016

Summer Cinema: Independence Day Resurgence

Last Friday night we checked out Cinemark's Reserve Seating, where you sit in the top of the theater with reclining seats along with food and drink service. Or their version of AMC Dine-In or say Alamo Drafthouse. Unlike those other brands, at Cinemark, they want your orders in and done by the time the film starts which means no in-film refreshment refills. While the idea of eating and dranking during a flick seems like a solid notion, the execution across the board at any establishment has not been perfected. AMC's is awkward as you're paying the check during the film and there's no easy way to have your Stubs membership updated in the dark. But their menu is pretty big and food tasty enough with decent lighting so you can see what you're doing and still be in a movie. Alamo is a little more low tech in the sense of you write down what you want and a person runs by and picks it up. Cinemark was probably the worst of these dine-in experiences because it was so freaking dark it was difficult to eat/drink.

Anyways, 20 years later, Independence Day: Resurgence comes to us from original creators Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. After making their Hollywood splash with Carolco's Universal Soldier starring our guys Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren, the duo would go on to bigger budgets and successes with 1994's Stargate and 96's mammoth hit Independence Day where Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and crew defeated an alien invasion. Two decades on the film drops us into the new world of alien fused technology where man works on the moon and there's flying vehicles galore. With Will Smith not returning we get a trio of new young characters played by the likes of Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T. Usher and Maika Monroe are faced with a new invasion threat, bigger and badder than the last. Alas the writing and their improv skills are no match for Will Smith's original charm or chemistry with Jeff Goldblum.

Visually interesting and a little too fast paced for it's own good, Emmerich and Devlin blend the light disaster flick ensemble with all out sci-fi warfare. While the first relished in practical f/x composited with computer images, Resurgence looks great when it's on set and indoors but horrible when the action moves outside and everything is CGI. I also can't stand the fact that films no longer shoot outside. Whether it's ID4:R or Captain America: Civil War, it's glaringly obvious outdoor scenes are shot on greenscreen. It's nice to see Pullman back in the mix as the scarred former President but Brent Spiner's Dr. Okun, a kooky highlight of the first film, is near annoying comic relief this time out. The end is pretty open and indicates intergalactic war, so hey, sign me up for third. Resurgence isn't a great film but it has it's moments. Less fun than this summer's X-Men: Apocalypse but way more enjoyable and less frustrating than Warcraft. After a ho-hum $41 million opening weekend, the $165 million flick made up ground overseas and is nearing $200 million globally so only time will tell if we get that part 3.

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