Independence Day: Resurgence

Vampire Owl: I was never a fan of the original Independence Day.

Vampire Bat: I have never really found the reason why it was so much liked during those days.

Vampire Owl: Some movies just get to be lucky for no reason.

Vampire Bat: I watched that movie a few years after it released as I had read that it was so good and collected so much. There was certain disappointment after watching it for sure.

Vampire Owl: I will never understand these people who keep overrating things.

Vampire Bat: I felt that the computer virus idea was the worst.

Vampire Owl: I got a feeling that it is disrespectful to the aliens too.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that the aliens might attack us soon?

Vampire Owl: If they watch that movie, I am sure that they would.

Vampire Bat: I am going to add this to the vampire alert list.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of Ceylon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Twenty years have passed after the devastating alien attack on Earth. Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith), with the help of David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) had done the impossible by defeating the aliens who used such superior technology that the end of humanity felt so near. There were lessons learnt from those alien attacks, and humans remain more united than ever before. With everyone trying to learn from their mistakes, the United Nations had set up the Earth Space Defense (ESD), which is a global defense and research program meant to use the alien technology which they had left on Earth, and use it warn the human world of the danger from outer space, as well as use the same to fight these creatures. Most people believe that they are ready to face an attack in a better way, but there are a few others who think that the worst is yet to come.

So, what happens next? :: Even though most people don’t think that future is safe, and aliens are done attacking, the doubts of the others are proven to be truth, as it is discovered that the aliens before losing the battle had sent a distress signal to their home world. With some fear spreading about the situation, a spherical alien object seen near the Moon is attacked by the Earth’s defences despite the protests of David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) who thinks that it is not of the same alien creatures, as the thing seems to be different. Their doubts are proven to be true, but then there is the original alien mothership which follows and gets back to doing what it does the best – bringing chaos and destruction, as it lands over the North Atlantic Ocean and starts drilling. Earth is once again caught on the backfoot, and now humans have to find a way to repeat what they did on a July 4th, twenty years ago – but is it going to happen this time too?

The defence of Independence Day: Resurgence :: You can see a lot of action here, with visuals being spectacular, and the chaos and destruction remains beautiful as you would expect in a movie like this. The improvement that this movie has on its predecessor is a lot especially for me, as even though I had watch that movie as a child, I never even came close to consider it as a good movie. So, this sequel is essential, to make everyone realize how dumb the original movie, was and how easy it is to make something like that these days, and here we have some nice additions which make this one a lot better. Well, it is not easy not like at least something about this movie, as long as you are not determined to save the Will Smith starrer – the one flick about which everyone is prejudiced. Some may think that you can’t blame them though, as Will Smith has had that kind of an effect in so many movies for the fans.

The claws of flaw :: There is that essence of the original movie which stays with this one, and never does it try to bring something that would bring it a new identity separate from the previous alien movies. It will not match the Alien movies including its own Prometheus and Covenant, or even Life, coming nowhere close. We have so many others including Pacific Rim and Edge of Tomorrow. There has been something intellectual or terrifying on display with alien movies making the genre better, but that seems to be of no concern of Independence Day: Resurgence. The movie actually doesn’t try that hard either. There is no memorable dialogues in this one, and there will not be many moments which will stay in our memory for long, as going different is not the key here. Independence Day: Resurgence is not going to make it to any list about the best movies concerning anything, and neither is it going to be among the big alien invasion flicks. There might have been the chance here, but the movie decides not to grow up that much.

How it finishes :: Working on the dumb movie on which it is based and brings the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence makes things better unlike what the critics think about it. You will see that a lot of people like the first movie just because it would make them look cool, and it is more of how they follow the trend – say that the original was so good and the sequel or reboot doesn’t have that much life; it has become a rather stylish thing to do. The truth is that I have never been a fan of Independence Day, and felt that it is one of the most overrated movies in history, and undoubtedly the most overrated alien invasion flick that one can ever watch. Without being rated that high, watching Independence Day: Resurgence is rather a safe option – everyone says that it is not like the first movie, and if it is so, there is a good chance that it is better than that blockbuster without even a tiny bit of brain.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: I am recommending the destruction of this portal which connects the two worlds.

Vampire Bat: I do not think that you have the power to make such elder recommendations.

Vampire Owl: Still, these aliens just can’t be managed. We have to stay safe.

Vampire Bat: The undead are more powerful than living aliens, at any point.

Vampire Owl: The undead power! But what about their advanced weapons?

Vampire Bat: Well, we are strong even without them, and nothing stands against the power of having risen from the grave.

Vampire Owl: Nothing confuses me more than these separate worlds beyond the portals. Our realm is rather easy to follow.

Vampire Bat: There is no need for such confusion. We are adding a new course about it, and you can learn the whole thing in one and half years.

Vampire Owl: Do I get to watch alien movies as part of the course?

Vampire Bat: Yes, most of them, and there will be no Independence Day. But for this movie, there is scope to bring a bigger sequel considering how the final moments have been going.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 24th June 2016
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Jessie T. Usher, Travis Tope, William Fichtner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Sela Ward, Patrick St Esprit, Angelababy, Vivica A Fox, Nicolas Wright, Deobia Oparei, Travis Tope, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Ng Chin Han, John Storey, Joey King, Jenna Purdy, James A Woods, Robert Neary, Garrett Wareing, Hays Wellford, Mckenna Grace

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Conjuring

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We are all going to die – I would hope that the same would happen as fast as possible. I watched The Conjuring and it was scary, and I am hundred percent sure that it can give anybody sleepless nights. But what has happened to me? Why am I not afraid of the supernatural movies? There should be something wrong with my intellect that all these supernatural things have become such an integral part of my life that humanity and its inherent evil scares me more than the dead. Death has always been more beautiful than the living, and with its presence among the humans, the evil makes its score ahead by a long margin, and the good waits for death. Death makes us even, being the great leveller that it is, and as the dead stays dead, it is the living that suffer in their memories, but if they come alive, then too, it is the living who are tormented by their unrest. Being tormented both by the living and the dead, the human life is a vessel full of Sulphuric acid, and we lack adamantium, both in the soul and the body, for we get broken by the supernatural as well as those which are super and natural. They are all part of the big shame of that torment which is brought down upon us not by the dead, but by the living. The dead are indeed better, for they do what they are supposed to do, and it is just the living creatures that contradict themselves.

Believe in the world of the dead and not of the living, for the latter is full of pathetic fools who know nothing about the other world, and it is from their lack of knowledge and extreme stupidity that I would indeed discourage each and everyone of you from doing anything on the supernatural, at least in India. In the name of science, some have denied their own roots, and how can they even look into the dead and the undead worldwide? Do they think that everything can be answered? Some questions have no answers, and others have many. There are some others which should be found out. Some of them can’t be explained, and some of them need to have a life of their own, and make more out of themselves. I would want most of you to know this before you go and watch this movie, and please be prepared to be scared; otherwise you might end up like some arrogant people who despise this world of horror and think that they are inferior works of art. They belong to that category which loves butterflies and despises bats. I am a Vampire Bat myself, but I can’t help it and I shall never choose to be not a crocodile even if I live in Lake Placid surrounded by hunters. I can tell you what an inferior work of art is, but I shall do that later. For now, let me assure you that this is one of the best works, both as an art of horror and also as fantastic entertainment.

The first thing I would like to make clear about this movie is that it has a great build-up. It has its humble beginnings of horror in the form of the supernatural in one of the most interesting dolls which has ever graced the big screen since the Child’s Play series, Annabelle doll – it should have had a significant role in The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren by Gerald Brittle; from page 39 to 53, it seemed to have a presence which can only be confirmed by someone who has seen this book outside the Amazon preview. Annabelle is not just another doll, as it is that thing which was part of what the famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren faced during the early 1970s. The Conjuring is more about what the name suggests, but what do we conjure, or summon? Can the spirits summon themselves? In Annable’s case, it was summoned into the doll, but the same can’t be said about the others, especially the haunted house we are dealing with. The story and presence of Annable is more important as the symbol of everything evil that exists within the movie. It is also the scariest image which exists without the help of an visual or sound effects, as the doll itself becomes the visual representation of all the evil that tries to break free in the human world.

The story goes back to 1971, when Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and Roger Perron (Ron Livingston) move into an old house in the middle of nowhere, with their five daughters – Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy and April (Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy and Kyla Deaver). Their dog refuses to enter the house and is later found dead, and they also come across a cellar which might have been supposed to be hidden. Carolyn has strange bruises on her body and Christine is pulled down from her bed on multiple occasions. Cindy begins to sleep-walk a lot. April, the youngest of the girls become friendly with one of the spirits. One night, the spirits get more aggressive, as Carolyn is locked in the cellar and the spirits indulge in direct attacks. Even as they don’t believe in that kind of stuff, they are forced to contact paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) for a solution. The Warrens conduct an initial investigation and find out the existence of spirits, for which an exorcism might be required. They try to get evidence for the same, so that they could get authorization from the Catholic Church.

During a background check, Ed and Lorraine discover that the house and the plot once belonged to a lady who was accused to be a witch, Bathsheba, who killed herself after cursing all those people would try to take her land, and the Perrons were among them. A lot of murders and suicides have already occured in those houses that have since been built upon the property, and the house of Perrons was just a part of the big cursed neighbourhood. Bathsheba’s speciality has been about possessing the mother and making them kill their children, as she herself had sacrificed her child to the dark powers already during her lifetime. There are so many spirits around, and they belong to those mothers who were possessed and forced to kill their own children. There are also the spirits of dead children who were killed. There is rather a soul collection in the house, and considering the strength which Bathsheba has possessed through the years of doing the will of darkness, the Lorraines might be up against more than what they could handle with ease. Bathsheba is also able to move out of the house and follow Lorraines to their world involving the Annable doll which they have kept in their house. Even as Carolyn is to be possessed only to kill her daughters Christine and April, the Warrens has the fight brought to them at their house, and it turns out to be a battle which is beyond a house and a family.

How does this movie score over The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia and Evil Dead, the other two much expected horror movies which graced us with their presence this year? Well, this is the exact opposite of Evil Dead in its portrayal, as it is no gore fest, and not much blood is shed. There are no body parts being thrown at you and the insides never come out. There is no use of bad words, and even with so much less use of special effects, this movie creates a world which is no less creepier than Evil Dead. This one has powerful microseconds of thrill and suspense, for this quiet one is a beautiful world of the supernatural, the world of infinite horror. The use of silence is worth mentioning, and the sound effects are not extravagantly wasted. When Evil Dead tried to sell blood and gore, The Conjuring tries to sell artistic horror of high quality even as the end is slightly lesser in effect after an excellent climax. The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia could have been this movie, as both have similar settings and stories of history which involves random evil people and victims. But our movie scores in its treatment of the subjects and some wonderful acting. It is smartness and creativity that should define our movie which will continue to score and scare more people. Check for Evil Dead anyway: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/evil-dead/

Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren and Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren steals the show, and from the beginning itself, we are given the power to feel that they can be nothing other than the paranormal investigators. They don’t try to be heroic at any moment, and the movie doesn’t try to take any heavy load from the earlier movies which it can’t carry. The ghosts may be familiar, but they are not similar enough, and they are surely not the same. We know that there is also a sequel in development. You can enjoy it with a willing suspension of disbelief or by stopping being a moron. You have to accept that you are not that kind of person who knows everything, and feels that the supernatural is a lie. There is God, the devil, the demons and the witches – there are demonic possessions and there exist the need for exorcisms, the earlier you come to know about it, that much the better. But there are no real romanticized versions of the vampires in reality, and the title “vampire” is the cultural construct. The more you know that, the better it is for you – there is a world which you shall never know; embrace the same, and stop asking questions. Your disbelief shall be your end, and it shall lead you to your doom, an annihilation which you might have deserved by them with your lack of belief and that basket of nonsense you always carry in the name of science, logic and reason.

Release date: 19th July 2013 (USA); 2nd August 2013 (India)
Running time: 112 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, Shannon Kook, John Brotherton, Sterling Jerins

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

White House Down

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So here is the fight we have been talking about for a long time, as the 120 minute long Olympus Has Fallen has finally met its archenemy, its evil twin brother who is longer by 17 minutes. The ruler of the underworld compared to the shorter one’s claim over Mount Olympus, has arrived in the form of White House Down. As I had already written about Olympus Has Fallen (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/olympus-has-fallen/), and it was the first one to be released, it is that movie which I would consider the prototype for the list of White House attacking movies which can get a little longer as long as this one is not annihilated in a battle here against the opponents RED 2 and Turbo, along with already existing Pacific Rim and Man of Steel; not to forget the movies in all those languages including Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi. The former had no tough competition when it was released though, with a few weeks delay after the United States release. The delay has followed this movie too, along with the image of white building going down and only one man standing as a barrier in front of the ultimate success of the terrorists. It had fallen earlier, and now it is down, and there is no doubt about the fact that the first of the two had the best title, but the second has got the name which can connect better with the audience and stays close to action.

So the seat of the President of the United States of America needs to be saved again. Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) was the former secret service agent in our last adventure of this type and here, John Cale (Channing Tatum) is a U.S. Capitol Police officer looking to be part of the secret service. John already has trouble connecting with his daughter Emily (Joey King), and believes that he can impress her by getting a job with the Secret Service and also by taking her to the place, but fails in the interview is conducted by Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a former college acquaintance of his who knew him to be disrespectful to the authority and irresponsible, unable to stick to what he is doing and thus not good enough for the job. He tells Emily that there is still chance and they join with a tour group around the White House. Soon, there is a bomb explosion which separates the father and daughter, followed by a group of armed mercenaries taking control of the White House. The President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) is in trouble, and we know that his only hope is the man who was refused his chance to be the saviour once, and the action begins in a few minutes. The situation is pretty much similar to Olympus Has Fallen, as one might have figured it out by now.

That fictional protagonist portrayed by Bruce Willis in Die Hard, John McClane doesn’t really seem to leave this world of the one-man shows, as here comes another one of too similar a name, John Cale – what he does is no different either. McClane’s marriage and the relationship with his children in a constant state of crisis, and his disregard for authority keeps him close enough to trouble – not the kind of things Cale can disagree with. Here, we have the typical Die Hard protagonist who is just at the wrong place at the wrong time, and continues to be there so that he can save the day with almost no outside support at all. Being the lone wolf who is the right person to do it, the two Johns are one and the same, and if this new John is a cheap imitation of the old, that is for the audience to decide. Strangely enough, Channing Tatum has to battle Bruce Willis in the multiplexes here for the supreme position, as RED 2 is surely attracting enough people, and the elder legend is surely the more popular and the more talked about figure in this part of the world. It is louder and less interesting than the first four Die Hard movies most of the time, but it is better than the fifth movie of the series by a long distance. This could have been Die Hard 5, if Olympus Has Fallen can’t be the same, and even if that position is abdicated, there is always the chance to call itself Die Hard 6.

6.5 out of 10 in IMDb and 48% rating in Rotten Tomatoes for Olympus Has Fallen, and 6.3 out of 10 in IMDb and 48% rating in Rotten Tomatoes for this one clearly describe these two movies, and gives a vague report about how close their impact has been, and how much such a theme can affect the audience and the critics. It is a good thing that they are three weeks apart in their attack on the brains of the viewers, as they could have even destroyed one another if released close enough. Gerard Butler’s 300 + Gamer effect would surely give the former an advantage, but Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman would not stand a chance against the invisible fan club of Jamie Foxx which is bigger than it would seem to be from the surface, thanks to that strange effect which Django Unchained had created. This is how these movies come so close to being the same on impact. But our new movie seems to be struggling to fight against this week’s wave as well as the existing waves. There are less number of shows, and there is the need for a twist of fate for this one to bring the fight of money to its twin brother. But it has already proved that fight is on, even as victory is not within sight; the battle shall go on even as the causalities won’t be that interesting for this side.

This is closer than the similarities between the volcanic eruption related Volcano and Dante’s Peak, and the Earth-bound asteroids showing their power in Deep Impact and Armageddon. Even as Gerard Butler wins the battle as the hero and gets all the attraction, Channing Tatum does a great job in this one, but the movie remains lesser than him and Jamie Foxx. The two actors are undoubtedly bigger than the movie as they do defy the movie in what they do and so does the whole world inside the movie in one way or the other. The whole scenario might be stranger in this movie, but Foxx handles it so well that even the situations which seems to be going the wrong way turns out to be funny and interesting – those moments when Olympus Has Fallen takes the back seat. But there is still too much about his character, and there is too much of a strange ruler in the person, may be being closer to Django than the President of the United States. But people do love that kind of a President in the movies, that is for sure. Joey King’s character is cute and interesting most of the time, but annoying at times; there is no controlled environment out there and in the middle of such a hostage situation, that should be more than just agreeable, for kids no longer remain kids these days, and Lord of the Flies was never belonging that much to fiction.

Jason Clarke does manage to make a powerful impact at the same time, and being the stylish evil guy who takes over the place, he comes with some very good fight sequences with the hero. His presence would seem to extend the world from beyond the two-man show. James Woods works his villainy as the mastermind behind all these next. This movie also loses in violence, something which was not expected in the beginning, as right from the bomb explosion, something nasty was expected to come up, but it goes on more as destruction for the sake of demolishing rather than creating that impact of shock in the senses. There is no shortage of action sequences though, and the attempt to escape with a presidential limousine, the fall of the airplane and helicopters and tank v/s rocket launcher battle, they all make the destruction list go high. With the former Duke from G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Django of Django Unchained has held this one from falling deep, but its success in its genre won’t reflect in its box-office collection. That episode of the life of this movie is with the audience and until now, from what can be read, there is trouble for this one in catching up-to Olympus Has Fallen, or even most of the much expected movies of this season. These are bleak times indeed, but this movie has wasted its chance and therefore, blaming the audience or other movies is not the thing – a little adjustment might have saved this one as it is a good addition to its genre.

The movie lacks in a number of things compared to Olympus Has Fallen, as the most important thing is patriotism, and the next but almost equally important thing may be in being clever – there has been more silliness in this one, but there has still been enough control between the two sides of mindless action and saving the world. Emmerich’s works have been interesting, from Independence Day to The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 and my personal favourite, The Patriot. But he had to deal with being there second, and that would have been difficult. To add to it, the movie’s need to match up with the other White House take-over would have created a situation from where there is no escape. This movie is thus a wasted opportunity on one side, and a work which could live even with all its flaws on the other hand. It is on this dual nature that this movie can work on, but that won’t help its cause. It needed something special, and it has managed to achieve the same only through its leading actors, but even in their case, this is not their best performances. When White House Down looks up from its world deep down the underground, Olympus Has Fallen might be looking from the top of the Mount Olympus which it had created from its success at the box-office, and in the OHF v/s WHD battle, the war of the down-fallen houses, we have only one winner, and its name starts with O.

Release date: 19th July 2013 (India); 28th June 2013 (United States)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, James Woods, Michael Murphy, Joey King, Rachelle Lefevre, Nicolas Wright, Jimmi Simpson, Lance Reddick, Barbara Williams

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.