Tuesday, June 28, 2016
ALIENS, THE CIA AND A GREAT WHITE SHARK
I saw three movies this weekend (rating this week in box office revenues) and (Rotten Tomatoes scores for reviewers/audiences):
(2) Independence Day: Resurgence (33%/39%)
(3) Central Intelligence (67%/71%)
(4) The Shallows (73%/70%)
I thought all three were entertaining, and if there is only one you wish to see, ID features awesome special effects, with a nice touch in bringing back a bunch of actors reprising their roles twenty years later (original Independence Day came out in 1996); CI was mostly very funny, and many enjoy reunion films; and TS was unexpectedly gripping. Finding Dory, an animated film, was #1 for the second week in a row, and if you wish to see a review, go to Rotten Tomatoes, where it earned spectacular 94%/90% ratings.
This sequel was again co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich, and does not include Will Smith. However, many returned, including Robert Loggia, who died during the filming of this movie. If you like iconic buildings, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore were film sites. However, most of the scenes took place in New Mexico, for they provide a 25% movie tax credit. Hawaii, take note. Best escapist fare of the three.
The original aliens returned with a 3,000-mile diameter battleship, and the storyline is about how these characters two decades later, with their sons and daughters, react, respond and, well, prevail. There is an obvious conclusion having to do with The Queen of the Aliens, and I think this is her to the right above.
While ID:R did not do as well as expected, already the film has matched the budget, for two thirds the revenues for this sort of film today come from international markets. China, for example, is now a key money-making site, and for this film, there was Angelababy (yes, that's her actress name, for she is Chinese-German, was called Baby as a child and later Angela, playing a fighter pilot whose father died as a pilot in the first attack). Yes, there will be a Part III.
There is a 20-year theme at play here, too, with Dwayne Johnson as a CIA "rogue" agent, and Kevin Hart as a Mr. Everything in high school. They were classmates, and the script has them involved in saving the world just before their 20th-year class reunion. Here is just another example of ultimate role reversal, as now Johnson, who was in high school a fat and friendless nerd named Robbie Weirdicht, becomes essentially The Rock with a new name, Bob Stone, while Hart, in high school the celebrated Golden Jet, is now a nobody accountant. You will wonder whose ear it was. Want a predictably funny film? Go see this one. In Week 2 it has already made more money than was budgeted, with, again, most of the revenues coming from international theaters.
The flick, originally called The Deep, is slow to start, but becomes a survival horror thriller. Blake Lively, a medical student close to getting her degree has second thoughts about continuing in school, and finds her way to a secluded beach where her mother who had just passed away had surfed when she (mother) was pregnant with her (daughter).
The beach certainly looks like something from Hawaii, but all filming took place in Oceania. So the great white shark (seen about to attack her above) bites her leg, but she manages to escape to a piece of rock sticking above sea level (and disappears at high tide--so there is the time factor of how long she will survive with the shark continuing to circle her). Bleeding and threatened, she uses her wits to survive. In the process, she slips back into place a separated wing of a sea gull who is also trapped on the same rock, and places it on a piece of surfboard that allows the bird to, probably, find a way to shore. Nice soft touch to a mostly stressful experience.