Review: Independence Day: Resurgence

independence_day_resurgence_xlgWe really didn’t need a sequel to Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day, but one got made anyway. The first film was a big, loud and (at the time) expensive chunk of mindless summer fun that grossed over $800 million at the box office and paved the way for even more mindless blockbusters that featured cardboard characters, paper-thin plots, and more (and questionably “better”) computer generated effects. I liked it enough to see it four times (hey, those visual effects were pretty stunning back then) and later bought it on VHS, lenticular insert card and all.

The 20 years too late sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence ups the ante considerably by making everything bigger, dumber, faster and louder to the point that it’s a mind-numbing, confusing mess from start to finish. Hey, if you like your popcorn movies quite popcorn-y and don’t mind two solid hours of a simplistic yet convoluted plot, by the numbers acting and countless millions (or billions, it’s hard to tell) killed before the end credits, I’m not here to poop on your parade at all.

On the other hand, I want some actual science back in my science fiction. And physics. And something resembling a comprehensible plot that doesn’t insult what little intelligence I have left. None of those are here and the film’s way too cheery ending promising an even bigger and more bombastic third entry ends up dooming this “franchise” to maybe network TV movie or limited series status at best (that is, if someone at Fox has the brains to even think of going that safer route).

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(Not So) Random Film of the Week: GOG

gogWhile the three films in Ivan Tors Productions’ “Office of Scientific Investigation” (OSI) trilogy haven’t gotten the name recognition or massive fan bases of certain other more well-known franchises, each stands out as a fine example of Tors’ commitment to bringing a more scientific and human touch to the genre. While not going for camp or cheap thrills, the films make for a look into Tors’ heavy interest in pure science fiction with independent films he got made on his own terms.

Beginning with 1953’s The Magnetic Monster, 1954’s Riders to the Stars, and GOG, also released in 1954, the three films trade in the era’s familiar “B” movie antics for drier, more “realistic” hard science mixed with speculative elements. While some action scenes take place in all three films, outside these sequences things are done with a more sedate, almost documentary-like presentation of their assorted plots.

Additionally, all three films can be watched and enjoyed fully in any order, as they tell stories that are connected by a few threads, but don’t contain the same characters. Chief among these threads is men (and women) of science trying to make advances in the field for the future with dramatic (and sometimes unfortunate) results. Or: you can’t make a science-flavored omelette without breaking a few scientist-shaped eggs…
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Comin’ At Ya! is Well, Comin’ At Ya! in 2016 Thanks to MVD Entertainment

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Hoo boy. If you’re old enough to recall the 80’s revival of 3D movies, like me, you paid your five bucks to see this one. Finally after years of fans clamoring for the cheesy classic Comin’ At Ya!, it’s back and much better looking thanks to distributor MVD Entertainment Group, writer/actor Tony Anthony (or Roger Pettito) and Sternco 3D. The 1981 R-rated spaghetti western helped set off the short-lived but somewhat successful venture by major and minor film studios into making 3D movies using newer polarized lenses that were light years ahead of the old red/blue (or red/green) anaglyph 3D from the 1950’s.

Set for a January 26, 2016 release on separate 3D Blu-Ray ($24.95) and DVD ($19.95) discs, both will also contain a flat 2D version of the film. A digital donload of the film is also in the works with a price point to be announced.

The new home video version of Comin’ At Ya! was supervised and produced by Tony Anthony himself and Tom Stern (In God’s Hands), through his company Sternco 3D. Sourced from a new 4K master, Comin’ At Ya! boasts a frame by frame digital conversion of the polarized over-and-under format of the original print, sourced from a brand new internegative into the MVC 3D format and new 5.1 surround sound.

While it may not spike another 3D revival on home video, it would be awesome to see the spectacularly goofball Raiders of the Lost Ark pastiche, Treasure of the Four Crowns also get this treatment. As usual, we shall see. But for now, expect your TV to get an eye-popping slice of nostalgia next month.

GetGeeked: Matter and Form Brings Affordable 3D Scanning to the Masses…

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With 3D scanning and printing being one of the latest new big tech things anyone who wants to do can do if they’ve the money, time, and patience, it’s still a somewhat expensive hobby to leap into for novices. Poke around online and you’ll see some scanners still run well over a thousand dollars and that’s out of the range of potential casual users or those who just want to experiment with 3D modeling techniques or maybe make a small amount of crafty goods as gifts or whatever using any number of 3D printers or printing services cropping up all over the place. Enter the folks at Matter and Form with a cool and affordable solution that does what the more expensive models do at a faction of the cost.

Matter and Form Educational Video from Mike Erskine-Kellie on Vimeo.

The company had a booth at the getgeeked tech show last week and I accidentally picked up the cute alien figure being scanned (oops) because I saw it and immediately thought up an ad for the company I think they should use with that cute little greenish guy. Of course, I put the figure back onto the turntable (heh, sorry!) and picked up some info about the scanner instead to peruse when I returned home… Continue reading

Things I Know Exist But Am Baffled By: Prescription 3D Glasses!

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I recall being at a trade show back around 2006 or 2007 and overheard some people talking about the prescription 3D glasses or lenses for moviegoers. I laughed at that because 3D has always been a few year fad that fades away as interest wanes and money goes down the drain, but it seems I was off a bit. Yes, Virginia, you CAN get a pair of actual prescription glasses like these Oakleys from a few places for your movie and TV watching pleasure. Wow. Granted, like actual modern 3D glasses, they’re one hundred percent useless for walking down the street, so if you spring for the super cool Hobbit or Transformers frames, no one will see them in a dark theater unless you buy your ticket beforehand, whip out your shades, make a clever joke and put them on like you’re on an episode of CSI. (Yeaaaaaaaaahhhh!).

 
Of course, the oh, so painful downside of looking so cool at a price is the other price of falling down that long escalator up to the theater as you’re trying to impress people with your specs but can’t see a few steps in front of you. Just remember, when you DO fall, try to tuck and roll – being curled up in the fetal position at the bottom of that escalator makes it easier for the paramedics to do their thing. And if you DO fall, and don’t get a scratch on you?

Well, I guess you can just call it a case of… blind luck! (Yeaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!)

Dracula 3D Trailer: If This One Sucks, The Punsters Won’t Have Far to Look For Work…

(thanks, CineFix!) 

Hmmm… has adding the term “3D” to ANY film actually made it better? I can say a hearty “nope” and be smugly satisfied with that, but I know some of you will note that animated films get away with this all the time. OK, you may win on that technicality, so let’s narrow it down a wee bit: Has adding the term “3D” to any HORROR film actually made it better? Or are you just sitting there watching stuff fly at your face while wearing silly glasses and not really being scared? I thought so. Okay, maybe that gimmick DOES work in a few flicks, but Dracula shouldn’t be one of them. Oh well, I still think Asia Argento probably deserves much better work these days that being stuck in the upteenth reworking of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire tale, but I’ll hold off putting a stake through this one until I see it for myself… on cable.

DARK “3D Features” Trailer: Riding The Double Gimmick Wave…

This latest trailer for RealmForge’s upcoming Xbox 360 and PC game DARK shows off both modern and “vintage” 3D visual options. I’m still one of those skeptics about that Oculus Rift being anything but a developer’s dream more than a gamer’s go-to peripheral, but that’s because I haven’t tried those damned fancy eyeball curtains and am getting tired as hell of hearing people claim that it’s such a hot deal. I’m sure I’ll get to give the Rift a go one day and be a-mazed out of my skull, but I don’t trust a product without a release date nor a price point that claims to be affordable and the best thing since sliced bread with bacon baked into it. I guess the best thing to do is dig up my ancient cardboard anaglyph 3D glasses and see how that mode hold up as I look into snapping up the more expensive version of that old tech in the future to see if it’s worth what it’ll cost (which probably won’t be as cheap as I’d like). Eh, whatever – if the game is good without the extra distraction of something on my face, it’s a better thing at the end of the day…

Toy Fair 2013: Despicable Me 2 Toy Lineup: Gru’s Grunts & Girls Get Great Gear!

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DM2ToysDespicable Me was quite a surprise for me, as I wasn’t expecting much before I saw it and ended up charmed by the animation and characters. Of course, so were a few many million other moviegoers, which means, yes indeed – it’s time for a sequel. If the teaser and trailers are any indication, you can expect Despicable Me 2 to be even funnier than the original, as Gru’s Minions seem to be the focus this time out. This also means in terms of licensed products, toy companies such as Hasbro, Thinkway Toys, Basic Fun and others are going all out to get fans of the film into stores and online shops to snap up some really cool new items. I got to see most of the upcoming lineup during Toy Fair off-site at a more relaxed downtown location and everything looks (and sounds, where applicable) great and is coming soon to a retailer near you.

Gallery below the jump along with some more scribblings on the collection from yours truly…

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Silent Hill Revelation 3D TV Spot: There Goes The Neighborhood (Again)…

 

Well-made though it was, I actually didn’t care much at all for the first Silent Hill movie. Replacing the game’s Harry Mason character with a female lead and reworking some plot points made me think that the film’s writers and director had zero confidence in what Konami’s team came up with originally. Even though Rahda Mitchell’s performance was superb and the film had a few nice scares, to me, it didn’t have the impact the first two games did. That said, this “sequel” definitely piles on the game-related elements to such an extreme that the home video versions should do spectacularly well with those who want special features or some sort of extended cut, as it looks like we’re getting everything, the kitchen sink AND Pyramid Head. The good thing is, Silent Hill 3 is still such a great game that even if the film tanks (and it won’t, I’d bet), the original work will be a great backup plan for the disappointed.

3D Isn’t Dead After All – Gene Dolgoff Has An Awesome, Affordable Solution On The Way

OK, you guys and gals all know by now that I’m not the biggest fan of 3D television. That’s because it’s not an inexpensive upgrade (for a good setup), I don’t like goggles over my glasses, and when I think about it, there’s probably nothing I want to see in 3D that I can’t see on my regular old TV (insert generic Skinemax joke here). That said, with 2000+ games here in the library (hey, I’m a historian and it’s research!), I actually wouldn’t mind seeing and playing some of my old stuff in 3D.  Yes, I’m really curious to see how things would be if we were a bit more forward thinking (and a lot less expensive) in our gaming tech.

 

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