Tag Archives: Roland Emmerich

What a difference a day makes

IMG_3256Anyone would have thought that Roland Emmerich had been shooting some sort of Essex-based disaster movie based on the events of the day before what with the floods, rescues and all round chaos…

But, really what a difference a day makes.

The cavalcade of birthday weekend visitors continued with my mum and dad and a surprise (to Iz) visit by her big cousin, Lily.

Sarah and Iz had popped to the shop when they arrived so Lily hid under a blanket for Iz to unveil, which didn’t unfold quite as I had anticipated but never the less she was pleased as punch that Lily was here with some serious hero worship going off.

Roof thankfully fixed we hit the showers (I just realised that made it sound like we had fixed the roof, we hadn’t) and then headed to the hotel where my mum and dad and friends were staying as they had a bouncy castle and music.

Iz loves a castle of the bouncy variety so she, Evie and Lily lay siege to it and dominated it for their ten minutes of bouncing. It was three girls to a single boy at one stage…he never stood a chance, especially with their high pitch screaming that could have drawn ships to shore and dashed them on the rocks. It really was something else.

After the  bouncing there was swiftly followed leaping, jumping, turning and stretching to er Oasis.

Yup, Evie and Izzy were having a friendly dance off. The pair even managed a few pirouettes with Iz stooping to conquer with some improv pole dancing!

Hips were soon cranked up to 11 however once Gangnam Style entered into the fray, or Grandad Style as Iz likes to call it. She certainly wasn’t basing her dance move on Clive Dunn’s affable sitcom though, far from it.

IMG_3297Perfectly in synch of sorts it was truly a sight to behold as Iz and Evie whirled and jumped in mad unison, until suddenly they stopped like they were competing in the musical statues world championships. The lull was only for a moment though and was all times perfectly for the song – and then they were off again showing the Gummi Bears a thing or to about continual bouncing.

IMG_3269By lunch it was actually not just sunny but was not a cloud in the sky variety. Of course the seafront was still probably rather sodden after its Atlantis impression – although the Sea Life centre have to be congratulated on a piece of their jawsome pr, see my previous post, so we decided to head inland and indoors.

Our indoors was the Hollywood Bowl at Bas Vegas which saw Isabelle, and her friend Evie’s, first foray into the world of ten pin bowling, a world of neon glow as it turns out a we entered the world of glow bowl that gave a feeling of sorts of Tron Legacy (sort of).

IMG_3305Thankfully you didn’t smash into pieces if you had a foot fault though!

Iz and Evie obviously had the luxury of the side bars and the thing that you launch balls from, of course we all helped guide them, but they both loved it.

IMG_3276My mum and dad quite literally got into the swing of things, with my dad donning his metaphorical competitive dad hat, although it was Sarah and I who won a game each. Not that anyone was really counting that much as there was no rhyme or reason to our er style and you could hardly say that any of had anything close to a technique.

IMG_3312Typically there was only one ball that I could properly use, even though there were several supposedly the same size and weight – I beg to differ! Iz, who had christened herself as the protector of the balls soon became wise to this and watched that blue ball like a hawk as it just so happened to be the ball that Sarah was using as well, which of course now meant it was strictly off limits to me…like forever.

That was until Iz swapped being a hawk to being a mole as her and Evie decided to spend part of the bowling session underneath the ball machine.

IMG_3338Whether she was on top of the machine, underneath it or just sat to the side taking it all in for a few moments Iz clearly loved her first bowling experience, despite her shoes not fitting, and could be found in a contemplative mood with her slush puppy.

IMG_3342Talking of shoes, they always seem to inexplicably really go with whatever you are wearing but Mark, Evie’s dad, went one better as hi shorts and t-shirt were exactly the same colours so I’m surprised he didn’t walk out still wearing them for the full combo effect. Judging by some of the sights at Bas Vegas I don’t think too many people would have battered an eye lid!

IMG_3344After working up an appetite with two hotly contested games we headed to Frankie and Bennys for food and drink. Of course we’d all only be able to eat one-handed after nursing sore arms from all that swinging that we weren’t used to.

Iz and Evie sat across from one another as if they were Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in the diner scene in Heat, just with more straws and playing with napkins.

IMG_3274Thankfully Iz had saved some energy as she had yet another candle to blow out as the whole restaurant sang happy birthday to her as her desert had a candle plonked in it which was met with great delight.

IMG_3362And so that brought to a close the second day of birthday celebrations, a day full of warmth and laughter that seemed a million miles away from the deluge that had greeted us only the day before.

Spirits were soaring as high as the balloons that we left the restaurant with.

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Independence Day

It’s over an astounding 15 years since giant shadows cascaded across our cinema screens and Independence Day was unleashed upon the world. In that time it’s been easy to deride this sci-fi epic but as alien invasions go they have never looked so stunning. In fact, it’s fair to say that any alien invasion movie since (or before for that matter) cannot fail to be compared.

Essentially it’s very much War of the Worlds meets Irvin Allen-esque menagerie of characters – mostly cardboard – but played by a host of recognisable actors. So far so Earthquake or The Towering Inferno with aliens, and like those films the main leads are oh so engaging, in this case Bill, Will and Jeff (essentially the same character as he played in Jurassic Park). But, to be fair, as witty as we find Mr Smith exclaiming he is going to “whoop ETs ass”, what we’ve really paid our money for is to see the wanton death and destruction.

And boy, does it deliver that in spades, especially with perhaps the most iconic shot of 90s cinema, the obliteration of the White House. Of course, shots such as that and the destruction of several other buildings take on a whole new meaning in this post 9/11 world.

ID4 was uber American gung ho. It was a different time with a different President. Post Iraq and post 9/11 it’s a world that, rather ironically, looks completely alien. It’s as if it was a much simpler time ‘back then’. And although some of the dialogue (thank you Mr Smith) was trite in places you can’t deny the power and force of the President’s speech before the final (Star Wars-esque) run at one of the saucers.

Sure, we had seen giant saucers before, most notably in V some 12 years earlier, but never with such foreboding and with such aplomb, what with the giant clouds and those introductory shadows, Emmerich doing for UFOs what Spielberg did for sharks and not showing the audience until he absolutely had to, ramping up that alien fear factor to 11. The music is a bravo score by David Arnold, in his pre Bond days and hot off scoring duties from another Emmerich sci-fi epic, Stargate.

Just like those 70s disaster movies that it so perfectly emulates, the film also has that nice old skool Hollywood feel to it as the special effects were still very much in the early days of digital effects so many of the memorable moments, such as the White House exploding and fire raging through the city were done as practical effects so look real because, well, they were.

Far from a perfect film, with its clichés galore and film lore of dog evading certain death (that leap in the tunnel is great though) it is pretty much the perfect example of a summer blockbuster. It’s dumb, but dumb with style, but plenty of fun. Certainly compared to some of the efforts we’ve seen in recent years it could even be argued it’s not even that dumb.

Some of the characters are weak in places but there are so many of them, or they are snuffed out so soon, that it doesn’t really matter. Some of the jumps in logic defy, well logic, but it all works together, it all gels and above all else it makes you come out of a screening feeling that little bit more alive. No pun intended, but even after all these years, and numerous films filled with digital pokery, the film is still, rather fittingly, a huge visual feast of a blast that provides plenty of bang(s) for your buck.

Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich tried pretty much the same trick with Godzilla a couple of years later, but this time round the lightning in the bottle just couldn’t be recaptured, so it was certainly more than about hurling cash at the screen in the form of impressive special effects.

The marketing campaign was also something of a masterstroke, almost preparing us as if there were an actual alien invasion, with great posters and trailer campaign (with great use of Hans Zimmer’s score from Crimson Tide), complete with the destruction of the White House first being unleashed on an unsuspecting audience during the Super Bowl. Now, that’s how to grab attention!

There’s long been a mooted ID42 and post Iraq, post 9/11, post Transformers and Emmerich’s other disaster epics, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, it would certainly be interesting to see what they did next and if any of the original characters were involved. Certainly it would need a return from Smith, Paxton (as President obviously now retired) and Goldblum.

The sequel might not be invading theatres anytime soon but the 3D version of Independence Day (duck at that fire truck rolling through the air) is scheduled to set the world – along with box office tills – on fire sometime next year. Technically that’s ID43D then!