Review: Independence Day: Resurgence

Independence Day has never made the list of my all-time favorite movies, though perhaps it should have. That list is usually reserved for films that have had a profound impact on me, or which speak to a very specific and often under-served aspect of who I am. I can’t say that Independence Day fits either of those categories but, in addition to being one of the movies I’ve watched the most, I feel a connection to it in other ways. In my mind, it is the pinnacle of a particular style and era of filmmaking, which rose and fell in the 1990s and was epitomized by a sense of fun, visual effects designed to entertain as much as impress, a “go all in” type of commitment to the movie, and a penchant for the film wearing its heart on its sleeve. And while nostalgia certainly plays a role in reflecting on 12-year-old me seeing Independence Day for the first time 20 years ago, the truth is that my appreciation and devotion the film has only grown through the years through constant exposure. I can honestly say that while Independence Day will probably never make my list of all-time favorites, my emotional bond with it is as strong as any other film I might put at the top of any list. But this article isn’t a love song to Independence Day, but rather a review of Independence Day: Resurgence. I just wanted to make sure you know where I’m coming from when I say that while Resurgence may have its moments and it isn’t as bad as I feared it might be, on the whole it’s a disappointing and occasionally infuriating mess.

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Friday Favorites: Favorite Speech – Independence Day

Welcome to “Friday Favorites” which highlight some of my favorite movie-related things.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love movie speeches.  And as today is the 4th of July, I will once again be reviving Friday Favorites for today in order to feature one of my favorite all-time speeches.  In fact, this was my first ever favorite speech, and my first memory of ever intentionally memorizing film dialogue.  I would rewind this scene again and again just so I could get not only the text of the speech down but also the cadence, timing and delivery.  And considering I make a point to watch Independence Day every July 4th, today seems as good a day as any to post this speech:

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Review: Pacific Rim

I was 12 when Independence Day came out in 1996, and it had so many things that appealed to 12 year old me.  It featured alien monsters, massive cinematic destruction, stunning effects, explosions and lots of action.  I imagine that if I were 12 years old today, Pacific Rim would seem to be right up my alley.  It’s got alien monsters (technically transdimensional monsters), destruction and explosions and stunning effects.  But, I like to think 12 year old me would have left Pacific Rim with the same sense of dissatisfaction that 29 year old me has.

Pacific Rim tells the story of humanity’s fight against Kaiju, giant Godzilla-like creatures that appear from a dimensional portal at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and wreak havoc on the cities that border that body of water.   Continue reading

Why is it so hard to make a good soundtrack album?

The third CD that I ever bought was a film soundtrack (the first two were Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” and Garth Brooks’ “Greatest Hits”).  It was the soundtrack to Independence Day, and I actually bought it in the hopes of it having R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” which for some reason I really wanted on CD.  I was disappointed when the song was missing from the soundtrack album, but after listening to the CD I realized how much I enjoyed the score, composed by David Arnold.  Thus began my obsession with film scores, and my collection of albums showcasing them.

I’ve been listening to the Jurassic Park soundtrack for the past week or so on my commute to work, and I’ve realized that there are several very big problems with the film score album as a whole in the industry.  I don’t know why it’s so damn hard to put together a decent album from a film score, but I’ve come up with a list of several of the problems: Continue reading