I am a huge fan of the original. Huge! I watch it more often than I care to admit, thanks to it’s almost constant availability on Foxtel, so I was keen for this new movie’s release.
As a side note, if you want to know what has happened to this fictional Earth during the previous 20 years, jump over to The War of 1996 website. It’s a nice bonus and fills in some gaps from the movie.
So anyway, the world is preparing to celebrate 20 years of unity and togetherness when the unthinkable happens and the alien ships start moving into our atmosphere. These ships are 3000 miles wide (I think I recall that correctly) and have their own gravitational pull which is not good. 20 years on and they are back. But this time they have bigger spacecraft, bigger guns and badder aliens.
For the first, I don’t know, 45 minutes or so, we are introduced to our new characters. The handsome but troubled young hero Jake (Hemsworth) who is now dating Patricia Whitmore (Monroe). She is the former President Whitmore’s (Pullman) daughter and is still best friends with Dylan (Usher), the son of now fallen hero Steve Hiller (Will Smith’s character from the original). Jake and Dylan have had a major falling out. Yep drama.
More importantly, there are some very welcome return characters and actors. I love that David (Jeff Goldblum) is back as his amazing quirky, sexy, alien hating self. I mean does this guy even age? But I love, love, LOVE that my favourite character from the original, the wild haired, been-out-of-the-sun-too-long scientist Dr Brakish Okum (Spiner) is back. His story line is wildly appropriate and he stole the scene every time he was in front of a camera. I think I have a crush 😉
Now that we have all major and minor characters established, we need to deal with this huge ship that hovers over the United States (of course) and starts to make trouble.
The story line is pretty convoluted because the writer’s have tried to cram as much as they can into 2 hours and the movie suffers. Take David’s father, Julius (Hirsch) for example. A wonderful character who some writer seems intent on making look like some gibbering fool. He laments his lack of grandchildren. then stumbles upon not only a car full of kids who can’t find their parents but then a busload of young baseball players whose driver ran off and left them. Are you serious? Whoever did this needs to be fired.
The special effects are, as you would imagine, over the top and spectacular. Was there ever any doubt? There are some cool new alien/human hybrid weapons and there is enough familiar from the original movie sewn seamlessly into this new movie. All this works wonderfully and is this movie’s saving grace.
Having said all that, I liked this movie. Not as much as the original but it was still good. As I have mentioned, it felt crammed full of superfluous story but I ignored that and focused on what I liked because I wanted to like this movie.
Over all, it’s not a bad way to spend a cold Saturday afternoon. And there is a Hemsworth and Goldblum so ……..
2 1/2 stars
Love Sue-Ellen xx
Director : Roland Emmerich
Starring : Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Jessie T Usher, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Patrick St.Esprit, Vivica A Fox, Angelababy
Running Time : 120 minutes
Release Date : June 23