INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE Review: Nostalgia Gets You Nowhere

Independence Day: Resurgence proves that delayed sequels can’t rely on Nostalgia alone. It’s as if the filmmakers watched Jurassic World and drew the conclusion that its success was a result of pure repetition. Sure, Jurassic World shared a lot in common with it’s over twenty year old predecessor, 1993’s Jurassic Park, but it also brought something new to the table; upping the ante with a fully active park with the dinosaurs you already loved like velociraptors, as well as a bigger, scarier monster (Familiar, but New!). Most importantly, Jurassic World gave us new endearing characters you fell in love with, upping the stakes and making for some great interactions. Independence Day: Resurgence, another sequel following a full twenty  years after the original, goes bigger, if more destruction really qualifies, but lacks any new interesting characters or any twists that keep it from being an unnecessary, disjointed rehash of what we saw in 1996. If Jurassic World is a study in how to make a rewarding, delayed sequel, then Independence Day: Resurgence is a lesson in what not to do.

Minor SPOILERS ahead. Basically everything I will reference is already in the trailers.Independence Day Resurgence Review DestructionYes, director Roland Emmerich (ID4, Godzilla (1998), The Day After Tomorrow, 2012), attempts to go bigger, with an alien ship the size of the Atlantic Ocean, and we get one scene of London buildings and vehicles being lifted into the air (the ship has its own gravity… or gravity guns… or something) as well as some “Moon Base Destruction” (I’m stealing that for my band’s name), but the stakes somehow feel… lower than the 1st film? There was something mystifying about all the ships parked over landmarks across the globe in the original, while this one feels almost, more local? This extends to the finale where there is no world-wide effort to fight back like in the 1st Independence Day; all the action is limited to the desert wasteland around Area 51.

Everything about this sequel just feels less clever and more-or-less simplified. Instead of using technology to give the Mothership a Computer Virus like in the original Independence Day, this sequel uses a more direct, “Just Blow It to Hell” approach. No strategy… just alien tech on alien tech warfare. Sure, there is the idea of the Alien Queen, but it just feels like an Aliens rip-off crossed with one of the monsters from Gareth Edwards’ (NOT Roland Emmerich’s) Godzilla (2014). The aforementioned Alien Queen is the most original part of the film, making for the best action sequence, which really isn’t saying much because it’s still not a very worthwhile scene. The biggest twist in the plot (which I WILL NOT SPOIL) seems misguided and sets up a sequel I really don’t want to see.Independence Day Resurgence Review - Liam HemsworthThe lackluster destruction, action, and plot aren’t the films biggest shortcomings, the characters in this movie just suck, especially the new ones. The new young cast of heroes, Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), the late Captain Steven Hiller’s (Will Smith in the 1st film) son Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher), and the still living President Whitmore’s (Bill Pullman) daughter Patricia Whitmore (Maiki Monroe) all share a backstory that seems like it was rejected from Top Gun, with no chemistry between the characters. William Fichtner plays the criminally underdeveloped General Adams, a character who could have been this film’s President Whitmore, had he any motivation or personality. Finally, including an African Warlord and a “Government Pencil Pusher” as supporting characters just seems like a questionable choice at best.

The returning characters don’t fare any better. David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) has become the one note scientist who is the resident expert; a watered down version of his cynical return as Ian Malcolm in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) seems to just be here to deliver the worst inspirational speech ever (seriously, did the Aliens kill the member of his staff that wrote his rousing speech in the 1st film?) and look worried. And I don’t know why the bothered bringing back David’s father Julius Levinson (Judd Hirsch), Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner), or Jasmine Hiller (Vivica A. Fox) at all, except in an attempt to fill the void left by Will Smith.Independence Day Resurgence Review - Jeff Golblum William FitcherIndependence Day: Resurgence is an uninspired retread, recalling other lazy sequels like The Hangover Part II, Jurassic Park III, and Dumb and Dumber To. It tries to repeat what made 1996’s Independence Day such a summer smash, forgetting what actually made that film great (note to director Roland Emmerich… it wasn’t just the destruction!). Dumb plot and dumber characters make for… you guessed it… a dumb sequel.5_Star_Rating_System_2_stars


Observations of a sad little man who has seen Jurassic World six times… so far (Me!).

As always, SPOILERS Abound!

First, catch up with the 1st three parts of this glorious expedition.

Part 1: Everything You Missed (Or Didn’t)

Part 2: InGen, Please! 

Part 3: Universal Studios Hollywood & Product Placement.

This Issue: All (Or Most) the references to Jurassic Park Explored!

Jake Johnson Lowery Jurassic WorldAs Lowery (Jake Johnson) reminds us while wearing his Jurassic Park shirt he purchased on eBay for $150, “That first Park was legit!” So it’s no wonder that Jurassic World tries to recreate/update images and throw “Easter Eggs” our way straight from the original 1993 movie.

The 1st trailer was so rich with Jurassic Park imagery that it caused Nostalgia to be an even more important part of the film’s draw than even superstar Chris Pratt.

(By the way, Lowey’s Jurassic Park shirt is the 1st reference on this list! Booyah!)

The Sickly Hatchling and Her Sister In The Lab

Jurassic World opens with two eggs and two lil’ baby Indominus Rexs. As one struggles to breath and break the shell, our main Monster Antagonist is quick to break the shell and will later go on to eat said sibling.

This scene is very reminiscent of Hammond helping the hatching baby Raptor in Jurassic Park. So is the set itself; the egg chambers/laboratory all look like the room Dr. Wu (BD Wong) introduced us to 22 years ago.Jurassic Park Raptor Hatchling

Said laboratory is also still a visible attraction to guests with no animatronics (sorry, Mr. Donald Gennaro [Martin Ferrero] the lawyer); just real scientists going about their “Mad Science.”

Dinos Evolved Into Birds

Never verbally stated in this film, we are reminded of Dr. Alan Grant’s (Sam Neill) words from Jurassic Park about Dinos sharing a lot in common with birds with the film’s second image: a T-Rex looking foot striking the ground, only reveled to be a bird as the (CGI) camera pulls out. And that’s all we need.

“That 1st Park Was Legit!”

The new Park itself pays homage to the original in many ways, from the sweeping shots of Isla Nublar splashed together with John William’s original theme as Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) arrive via ferry and even pass through the giant Jurassic World gate that was made from wood salvaged from the original gate in the old Park (so Brad Bird as the monorail guide tells us).Jurassic World Ferry to Isla Nublar

Though ferries are more piratical for a Park of 20,000 guests, we still get our Helicopter over Isla Nublar experience thanks to “pilot” & InGen CEO Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan). Pure nostalgia.

I could talk about obvious scenes like this for post after post, but let’s get deeper into the nitty-gritty references that are less obvious.


How can you miss Mr. DNA from Jurassic Park in the scene where Gray first excitingly enters the Samsung Innovation Center (which is not product placement) and plays with a child’s interactive display?Jurassic Park Mr. DNA

Fun note: Dr. DNA may sound the same, but writer/director Colin Trevorrow actually voices him in Jurassic World.

Jurassic Tennis & River Cruise

In Jurassic Park, while our protagonists are having an argument about whether or not Hammond should have created Dinosaurs over lunch, various displays projected on the walls behind them advertise future Jurassic Park attractions like ‘Jurassic Tennis’ and a water attraction similar to the kayaking among dinosaur ride we see briefly in Jurassic World. ‘Jurassic Tennis’ appears as an attraction on the hotel room screen when Gray and Zach arrive.

God Creates Dinosaur by Dr. Ian MalcolmJurassic World God Creates Dinosaur Dr Ian Malcolm

Either Dr. Malcolm’s (Jeff Goldblum) book God Creates Dinosaur just hit shelves or it’s still topping the New York Times best-seller list, because we see two different people in possession of the book; one actively reading it. Lowery has a copy on his desk, and Claire’s (Bryce Dallas Howard) assitant Zara (Katie McGrath) reads it throughout the film.

The OG Visitor Center & Jeep #29

I was hoping going into Jurassic World for the 1st time that we would see some of the old park; more specifically the Visitor Center. Guess what? I did!

It’s magic seeing this center of Jurassic Park, with the very scaffolding Grant, Ellie (Laura Dern), and the kids climbed down to escape the Velociraptors. We see part of the “When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth” banner that T-Rex knocked down. We see the painted Velociraptor in the dining room that was covered in shadow to alert Lex and Tim to hide in the kitchen. We see night vision goggles identical to the one Tim used to watch T-Rex eat the goat. There is so much nostalgia here it is maddening to try to remember it all!

But on to Jeep #29. The jeep that Zach and Gray fix up is the very jeep Muldoon (Bob Peck) and Ellie took to rescue Ian Malcolm (“Must go faster! Must go faster!”).

We even get to see Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) jump the T-Rex skull when Indominus attacks (but not any sharks thankfully).

“Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear”

Remember when the T-Rex chased Jeep #29 and Muldoon looked in the rear-view mirror only to see a T-Rex and the typical “Objects In the Mirror are Closer Than They Appear” warning. Jurassic Park T Rex Mirror

In Jurassic World Claire watches a Raptor in the rear view mirror as it rushes toward her vehicle. Coincidence? Not in this kind of movie.

Mosquitos In Amber

An obvious image straight from the original film. We see an actual specimen on Dr. Wu’s desk when Mr. Masrani confronts him about Indominus Rex, even though Gray told his brother (and the audience) that now scientists can extract DNA directly from Dinosaur bones.

You don’t just see this image in the lab, there are decorations of giant (fake) amber stones with giant mosquito on Main Street. Owen actually hides behind one while his Raptors took on Indominus.

The Queen of Isla Nublar

It was with a cheer and a shout that I welcomed T-Rex back to the playing field in the finale of Jurassic World. Though Raptors are always the scariest Dinos in any Jurassic Park film, T-Rex is the most iconic.Jurassic-world-tyrannosaurus-rex-end-scene-1

Did you notice that the T-Rex in Jurassic World was the very same one as Jurassic Park? Even had her two decade old scars from his Velociraptor battle that saved Alan Grant & Co.

Likewise, it’s no coincidence that flares get the Queen of Isla Nublar’s attention. Ian Malcolm taught her that flares mean “Lawyer Food” in 1993.

And like the spectacular finale to Jurassic Park, Jurassic World ends with T-Rex roaring over Isla Nublar, reminding everyone that now that the monster Indominus Rex is dead, she is the Queen of Jurassic World.

One Jurassic Park III Reference

When T-Rex shows up to save the day in Jurassic World, he bursts though the skeleton of a Spinosaurous (see picture above). Proving, that, even though that wretched dinosaur killed a Rex on Isla Sorna, T-Rex is back to being the superior Dinosaur of the Jurassic Park franchise.

I’m sure there is more I am forgetting, as the movie is so layered and rich with numerous references to Jurassic Park. But, this post is long and my brain is running out of references, so let’s call it a day!

Next (and final time) on Jurassic World Explored Part 5

Speilbergian Themes & Imagery

The Aliens Homage.

Are All The Dinos In Jurassic World Still Female?

They Are Breeding Raptors On Isla Nublar!

Jurassic Park vs. Jurassic World Character Comparisons

Coming Soon To This Website Near You!!

‘Lego Jurassic World’ Video Game Explores All 4 Films… Complete With Official Dialog!

Thus far, we have only seen a theatrical teaser trailer and a much more revealing Superbowl spot for June 12’s ‘Jurassic World’ starring Chris Pratt.

Now… we have a trailer for ‘Lego Jurassic Park: The Video Game;’ a game that like ‘Lego Indiana Jones’ and ‘Lego Star Wars’ covers all four films in the ‘Jurassic Park’ franchise.Lego Jurassic World PaddockThough the idea seemed silly at first (like a Lego movie…), the Lego games have become the standard for excellent movie adaptations with great control schemes, smart level design, and loads of humor (like ‘The Lego Movie!’).

Lego has cornered the market on Video Game Movie Adaptations, with ‘Lego Indiana Jones’ being the best ‘Indiana Jones’ game ever made and ‘Lego Star Wars’ among the creme of the crop of ‘Star Wars’ video games. These games put Lego on the map and there have been plenty of Lego games since. In fact, the Lego games gave been getting better; giving each hero a unique control scheme in ‘Lego Marvel Heroes’ and making the movie to game adaptation seamless in the form of ‘The Lego Movie: The Video Game.’Lego Jurassic World Sick Dino

Like past Lego games, humor is at the heart of the “Jurassic Wolrd’ game, but unlike ‘Lego Star Wars’ and ‘Lego Indiana Jones,’ ‘Lego Jurassic World’ uses more than visual gags to tell the story. In fact, having  already added dialog to ‘Lego Marvel Heroes’ and ‘Lego Movie: The Video Game,’ ‘Lego Jurassic World’ actually takes dialog directly from all four ‘Jurassic Park’ films. That means you get to hear the voice talents of Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum without the nearly impossible feat of getting the original cast into a recording studio (of course all the actors will get a chunk of the profit).Lego Jurassic World T-RexWhat we have here is the only real ‘Jurassic Park’ game made in years; the only one for current and next-gen titles. TellTale Games, who made their classic “Chapter” style of video games, including past ‘Jurassic Park’ adventures, is making the game with Lego and Warner Bros Games.

With no other ‘Jurassic World’ game in production (maybe there will be an update to the Park Builder games), it looks like Lego has again cornered the market, surely producing the best ‘Jurassic Park’ related game to date… if you can put up with Legos.Lego Jurassic World Jeep Chase

Jeep chases, battling Velociraptors, and John Williams’ score abound, I cannot wait to return to (Lego) Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna (“Site B”)!

Watch the trailer now!

Time to start saving money… between this and ‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ I have two games I need to get this June.

Happy gaming, geeks!

Since When Was Jeff Goldblum So Cool? (Since 4-Ever! Yo!)

I’ve enjoyed the comedic/acting stylings of Jeff Goldblum since I was a child.

What would JURASSIC PARK be without Ian Malcolm? (He was my most favorite character!… “When you gotta go, you gotta go.”)

Ian Malcolm was always a pimp, even when he was nearly crippled by a fucking T-Rex, yo!
Ian Malcolm was always a pimp, even when he was nearly crippled by a fucking T-Rex, yo!

Would JURASSIC PARK: THE LOST WORLD be entertaining at all without Jeff Goldblum? (Again as Ian Malcolm.)?

Answer: No, because gymnast girls can’t beat velociraptors. And Vince Vaughn is horribly miscast.

Jeff Goldblum was as big as Will Smith! Before Will Smith was the biggest actor ever...
Jeff Goldblum was as big as Will Smith! Before Will Smith was the biggest actor ever…

Who would have helped Will Smith and Bill Pullman save the entire planet in INDEPENDENCE DAY? After all, Will Smith can’t save the Earth without a partner, like Agent K… or Jeff Goldblum!

I even like HOLY MAN because of Jeff Goldblum. Eddie Murphy was okay… (Sorry, Eddie!)

But these were all from my childhood years. Great performances yes, with lasting impressions (JURASSIC PARK is one of my top five favorite flicks), but somehow, since the 90’s (the 1990’s, kids!), Goldblum has gotten greater…and far more funny… with age.

This is the story of Jeff Goldblum’s effect on my adult life…

Continue reading “Since When Was Jeff Goldblum So Cool? (Since 4-Ever! Yo!)”