New on Blu-ray & DVD: ‘Independence Day 2,’ ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 18, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Two sequels are being released for home viewing today.

“Independence Day: Resurgence” reunites original “Independence Day” cast members Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner 20-years after the first alien invasion that nearly destroyed mankind a new threat emerges. This Alien mothership is more than twice the size of the last one, and once again, the world’s armies must band together to save the world.

The film opened June 24 to a first-weekend box office tally of $41 million. The film earned a global take of $386.8 million, mostly from foreign markets.

Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” is the sequel to 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland,” starring Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter.

In the film, Alice returns to the magical world of Underland, only to find the Hatter in a horrible state. With the help of her friends, Alice must travel through time to save the Mad Hatter and Underland’s fate from the evil clutches of the Red Queen and a clock like creature, known as Time.

“Alice Through the Looking Glass” debuted May 27 to a weekend total of $26.8 million and a total of $77 million domestically in its 15-weeks of release. Similar to “Independence Day 2,” the fantasy did much better overseas bringing home $222.3 million in its foreign release. The film eventually took home a global total of $299.3 million.

The Reviews:

Alice Through the Looking Glass
Starring: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway
Rated PG

Alice travels back to Underland when she learns the Hatter is in trouble.

To save him, she must travel through a mysterious new world to retrieve a magical scepter that can stop the evil Lord of Time before he turns forward the clock and turns Wonderland into a barren, lifeless old world.

With the help of her friends, Alice must also uncover an evil plot to put the Queen of Hearts back on the throne.

“Alice Through the Looking Glass” is a lackluster film disguised as family fare. Alice, once again, is to be the catalyst of the adventure, but the adventure never really gets going.

Instead of being a whimsical movie, the film all of a sudden becomes a time-travel film using the same plot devices as any “Star Trek” film. As Alice keeps traveling back in time to stop an event from happening, she keeps polluting the timeline, making her have to go back further to correct things.

At the same time, Alice is surrounded by her Wonderland friends, The Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee (Matt Lucas) and Absolem, the Caterpillar who is now a butterfly (Alan Rickman’s final performance). The characters all have screen time, but add virtually nothing to the plot.

Mia Wasikowska takes on the role of Alice with a great deal of integrity and her performance is good, but lacks the warmth and innocent qualities of the past outing. A shame, as this film needed those attributes.

Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter is more caricature than character. The endearing quality he showed us in the first film is gone. His performance, while good, lacks heart.

There are some scenes between sisters The Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and Mirana, The White Queen (Anne Hathaway). But they are unmemorable.

The film’s only saving grace is the character of Time, played by Sacha Baron Cohen. In the press notes he’s described as a villain, but I found his character the most likable.

“Alice Through the Looking Glass” should have been a magical experience; instead, it winds up another run of the mill, average, gadget film instead of the childhood fantasy it needed to be.

It gets a C and is rated PG. 

Independence Day: Resurgence
Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Liam Hemsworth and Brent Spiner
Rated PG-13

We’ve waited 20 years for the next epic chapter in the “Independence Day” franchise. Now our heroes are using recovered alien technology to help the nations of Earth with an immense defense program to protect the planet.

But can we prepare for the aliens’ ultimate attack? Can the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction?

“Independence Day: Resurgence” is a sequel coming a bit too late. In fact, it’s about 15 years too late. The highly anticipated sequel to 1996’s blockbuster film has no teeth and is an anemic attempt at recapturing the vitality of the original.

The film is slow moving from beginning to end, even the battle sequences are a bit under enthusiastic. The film, directed by Roland Emmerich, who helmed the original film and many others including “Stargate” and “The Day After Tomorrow,” keeps the story at arms length and never lets the viewer get involved.

Back for seconds are Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox and Brent Spiner. But each character has become more and more annoying over the past two decades, making their appearances frustrating at best. Not back are Will Smith (who chose wisely), Margaret Colin and Adam Baldwin.

The film is also replete with subplots that are never quite flushed out including a feud between Liam Hemsworth’s character, Jake Morrison, and Jessie T. Usher, who plays Dylan Hiller, the now adult son of Will Smith’s character. The feud never quite goes anywhere or moves the plot enough to justify it being written in in the first place.

In the final reel, everything is wrapped up with a nice bow, including a little nod at a third film (which is in pre-production now).

For getting our hopes up after 20 years and then dashing those hopes like a falling spacecraft by wasting the audience’s time, “Independence Day: Resurgence” gets a D.

It’s rated PG-13.


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