With brand new film The Duel, starring Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth being released on DVD, Blu-Ray and VOD in Australia Subculture Entertainment’s Dave Griffiths caught up with director Kieran Darcy-Smith to get the lowdown on the film. Kieran chats to Dave about how he ended up directing a film from a Black List screenplay and how the films cast changed massively before it started to shoot.
You can listen to or download our Kieran Darcy-Smith interview right here.
Has there ever been a film that you loved when you were younger that you have revisited as an adult and been bitterly disappointed? It happened to me recently with ‘Independence Day.’ As a kid this movie blew me away, the special effects, the idea that aliens could blow up the White House… and yes even Will Smith (I was addicted to the ‘Fresh Prince Of Air’). Going back to watch it last week though I realised that the film was not as great as I remembered, aside from the special effects it was actually a bit of a cheesy film and probably shouldn’t be considered a classic.
Still I didn’t let me truth defining moment about the original dampen my hopes for ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’, after all I kept telling myself it’s twenty years later, Roland Emmerich has grown as a director and I guiltily kind of enjoyed ‘White House Down.’ Well as it turns out I was horribly wrong, yes it may be twenty years on but Emmerich hasn’t learnt anything new and he is still making the same mistakes that made ‘Godzilla’ and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ films that might have impressed the masses but had serious film lovers shaking their heads over what they have just seen.
Emmerich’s new storyline has been put together by a team of screenwriters that sees the world as a very different place to what it was 20 years earlier. Humans have embraced the alien technology that was used against them in the previous war giving a very new look to things even as basic as a helicopter. Our old heroes are also very different people as well. Former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman – ‘While You Were Sleeping’) is a depressed mess, his daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe – ‘It Follows’) works at the White House, Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner – Star Trek: Generations) has been a coma for 20 years, while David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum – ‘Jurassic Park’) travels the world and is considered an ‘alien expert.’ He now answers to the likes of President Lanford (Sela Ward – ‘Gone Girl’) and General Adams (William Fichtner – ‘The Dark Knight’) who have developed a pretty impressive defence system for Earth.
Then there are the newcomers – the likes of bored fighter pilot Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth – ‘The Hunger Games’) forced to live in the shadows of the likes of the famous Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher – ‘Teeange’),Charlie Miler (Tarvis Tope – ‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’) and Dr. Catherine Marceaux (Charlotte Gainsbourg – ‘Antchrist’) a former rival of Levinson’s who now wants to help him. Somehow this mixture of people all have to bring it together and help fight when the aliens return, once again hellbent on destroying Earth.
Perhaps the scariest thing about ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ (is certainly not the aliens) is the fact that it becomes painfully obvious early on that despite it being twenty years later Emmerich seems to have learnt nothing as a filmmaker. Still there are the bad attempts of humor throughout the film, the awful over-writing of characters that makes them so clichéd and these repetitive tropes that keep turning up in Emmerich films (like a computer telling the characters of the impending danger).
Even worse this time around though are the facts though that Emmerich seems to have borrowed so much from other films, especially the ‘Star Wars’ franchise for this film, and just how unbelievable this film is to its audience. Yes, of course, a story about aliens attacking Earth is supposed to be a believable drama but can anyone buy the fact that two characters that are emotional and physical wrecks after the events of the first film are suddenly able to swing around and be battle ready this time around… one was even in a coma for 20 years but is suddenly able to do his work like nothing has happened.
The other area in which Emmerich manages to lose his audience with this film is the over saturation of characters and the even worse habit of introducing characters well into the film, far too late for you to ever care what happens to them. The result is a film where it is virtually impossible to connect with any of the characters, which in turn means the suspense that should be there in a movie like this is just non-existant. Add that to the fact that you find yourselves laughing at a lot of the dialogue littered throughout the film, or groan at ‘you have the heart of the warrior’ and this soon becomes a film that should be referred to as a let-down of a blockbuster.
The poor screenplay also lets down its cast badly. The likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lima Hemsworth are sadly given nothing to work with and it’s likely people will quickly forget that they even made this film pretty quickly. Likewise if Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman thought this was the film that would resurrect their careers then they are very sadly mistaken. And as for the newcomers… well they barely even create a blip on the screen.
With a dreadful screenplay and nothing new when it comes to special effects ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ ends up being one of the biggest disappointments of 2016. Even worse is the fact that we know another one is on the way… it’s like looking forward to a dentist’s appointment. One to avoid.
There’s a lot of reliance on nostalgia in making sequels or follow ups ten or twenty after the previous film in a franchise. Recent memory brings up hits like Star Wars episode 7 and Creed but also not so successful films like Zoolander 2. As always with sequels it can be difficult catching lightning in a bottle twice but with a decade or two in between films that can only make it more of a challenge.
Independence Day: Resurgence is a sequel to the 1996 science fiction alien invasion film Independence Day. It’s been 20 years since earthlings with the aid of 90s computer viruses and nuclear weapons fought back and defeated the hostile creatures intent on total genocide of the human race and harvesting of all our planet’s resources. In the aftermath the world’s superpowers have entered a time of general world peace (Adrian Veidt would be so proud) and great advances have been made in space flight with secrets learned from alien technology. Unknown to everyone however is that the aliens sent a distress signal all those years ago and reinforcements are about to arrive.
I look at the original Independence Day as being the Avatar of the mid 90s. It showed us things we had never before seen on such a grand scale in movies, showcased amazing miniature special effects, cemented Roland Emmerich as the king of disaster movies and along with the successes of Bad Boys the previous year and Men in Black the following spring boarded Will Smith to be one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
So even if the 96 original wasn’t the biggest of critical successes it definitely had a massive impact. Independence Day Resurgence simply doesn’t live up to its predecessor. The film attempts to weave so many threads together in only 2 hours that not enough time is spent on any of them and you wonder why they bothered with half of them.
Even as a 10 year old something that bothered me in the original was how quickly Will Smith’s character got over the death of his wingman during a battle with alien spacecraft. However the gravity of a massive alien invasion, the destruction and devastation of several major cities worldwide was still expressed to the audience. When the use of a nuclear weapon on US soil to destroy an attacking space craft turns out to be fruitless David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) has a breakdown of sorts because it WAS a big deal. In this film the same character is watching London being destroyed and millions upon millions of people being massacred in front of his eyes yet he and the characters around him are making quips and generally playing for comedic relief. When David afterwards is consoling his new former girlfriend Catherine (Charlotte Gainsborough) as her parents are almost definitely dead it just feels forced.
This is a problem that comes up several times. It seems in an attempt to make the film fun they drove a steamroller through any possible drama the film has. Someone’s loved one is killed, they rage then in no time they’re back to making quips. If a film’s characters aren’t going to care about the end of the world then why should the audience?
After 20 years of disaster movies (seemingly half of which directed by Emmerich himself) audiences may not automatically find anything amazing about seeing the world destroyed anymore. This is made worse by the way in which the bland characters in the film itself don’t seem to care either. Ultimately what it means is a film about a fight for survival of the human race ends up being unreasonably boring.
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Adam, Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘Independence Day: Resurgence,’ ‘Everybody Wants Some,’ ‘Mustang,’ and ‘Ice Age: Collision Course’. This episode also contains interviews with Liam Hemsworth, Richard Linklater, Ray Ramano, Queen Latifah, John Leguizamo, Keke Palmer, Nick Barkla (‘Inside Fighter’), Margaret Pomeranz (‘Proof’ Restoration Project)and Paul Anthony Nelson (‘Trench’).
You can listen to The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show or download it for free from our Podcast Channel – Listen/Download here.
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Adam, Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘Spectre,’ ‘The Crow’s Egg,’ ‘5 To 7,’ 99 Homes,’ ‘Secret In Their Eyes,’ ‘Now Add Honey’ and ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2’. This episode also contains interviews with Daniel Craig, Monica Bellucci, Lea Seydoux, Andrew Garfield, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Josh Hutcherson, Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth Dave Jackson (Cat Sick Blues), Dee Wallace (Monster Fest), Ivan Malekin (Made In Melbourne Film Festival), Cameron Cairnes (Scare Campaign), Colin Cairnes (Scare Campaign), Ursula Dabrowsky (Inner Demon), Joe Bauer (Australiens) and Rita Artmann (Australiens).
Also take a listen as the boys launch a brand new giveaway thanks to Ursula Dabrowsky. Take a listen to our interview with Ursula to see how you could win a signed copy of her new film Inner Demon.