The Darkest Hour (2011) Preview

As Rich and Poe karate chop the necks of the old buffoons ogling Rio, the creepy old men try to explain all the terrible rich people problems that have driven them to this point. “My wife is cheating with my best friend!” one screams. The other nods his head, “that’s right, and I’m disillusioned with my materialistic life and that drove me to find thrills sleeping with his wife!” Oh boy. Rich and Poe roll their eyes at the tired excuses. Time to take them to the Twin Chip Zone. But just as they are about to finish the job, Rio steps in. Hugging them both she explains how she no longer needs their protection. That she is a strong woman who can defend herself against these weak willed old men going through whatever midlife crisis has brought them to this beautiful (and certainly not creepy) blue lagoon. “Don’t let them change the beauty of this place with violence. We can keep it natural. Beautiful. Love.” Bessy, Rich, and Poe wipe tears from their eyes and let the old men run off into the jungle. They roast s’mores and enjoy some refreshing Coca-Cola on the beach as the sun is setting. “It’s beautiful,” sighs Rio, “I’ll miss it when I’m off becoming a detective.” Bessy snorts happily, but Rich cocks his head quizzically. “It’s so… uh… green?” he says as a chill runs down his spine. Indeed the sky is streaked in green and while those creepy old men were ultimately harmless it seems that the civil war has arrived after all. The sky becomes smokey and what appears to be monsters begin to descend from the sky. Everything is plunged into darkness. The hour of battle has arrived. That’s right! We’re finally, finally, finally watching The Darkest Hour. There are a number of films from 2011-2012 that were coming out around the inception of BMT where we’d see the trailer on TV and be like “word, that would be fun for BMT” and then we just never watched the movie. And it would come up all the time over the years… and we’d still not watch the movie. And now we’re here and we’re watching The Darkest Hour. Which is weird because probably no one remembers what The Darkest Hour even is. Rest assured, it’s very much set in Moscow. Let’s go!

The Darkest Hour (2011) – BMeTric: 68.2; Notability: 26 

(Oh … this is going to be garbage. It hits 4.9 like a heat-seeking missile. I’m actually a bit surprised, because after Emile Hirsch torpedoed his own career I would have imagined people might go online to pile on his real stinkers.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  In Moscow, a group of young Americans is among the few survivors of an attack by invisible aliens. They have to make their way across the deserted city in hopes of meeting other survivors. Well-made by standard alien-invasion stuff (thank you, H. G. Wells), distinguished primarily by the Moscow locations.

(I’m glad I nailed this actually. I wanted to make sure I watched a good “learning” film and was working through in my mind which alien invasion films make the most sense. I settled on an older adaptation of War of the Worlds because it fit the bill of alien invasion across the globe in insurmountable odds against humanity. Leonard’s little “thank you H.G. Wells” is certainly an allusion to how much of a rip off this film is of that book.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgXzLMQuQ6Y/

(Oooof. It just looks bad. There is no way around it, the CGI and effects just look terrible.)

Directors – Chris Gorak – (Known For: Right at Your Door; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Production designer on the smash Stephen Baldwin classic Sub Down. Was the art director for Minority Report and studied architecture before getting into film.)

Writers – Jon Spaihts (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Doctor Strange; Prometheus; Future BMT: Passengers; BMT: The Darkest Hour; The Mummy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Mummy in 2018; Notes: One of the writers of the upcoming Dune film. Passengers was an unproduced script he wrote that made the 2007 blacklist.)

Leslie Bohem (story) – (Known For: Twenty Bucks; Future BMT: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child; Tracers; Nowhere to Run; Dante’s Peak; House III: The Horror Show; The Alamo; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Daylight; Notes: Won an Emmy for the 2002 miniseries Taken. Played bass in the 80s band Gleaming Spires. You’d recognize their song Are You Ready for the Sex Girls.)

M.T. Ahern (story) – (BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: I believe this is Megan Ahern who is the daughter of Emmylou Harris. I have a theory that Ahern came up with the story, Bohem helped her out with it knowing her via some musical connection, and then Spaihts was brought on to finish the shooting script.)

Actors – Emile Hirsch – (Known For: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood; Into the Wild; Lone Survivor; Freaks; The Girl Next Door; The Autopsy of Jane Doe; Savages; Alpha Dog; Killer Joe; Lords of Dogtown; Speed Racer; Milk; Never Grow Old; An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn; Taking Woodstock; Prince Avalanche; The Emperor’s Club; 10,000 Saints; The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys; Roxxy; Future BMT: All Nighter; The Outsider; The Air I Breathe; Imaginary Heroes; Venuto al mondo; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Amazingly consistent career … well, right up until he was convicted of a pretty grotesque assault of a movie producer in 2015. He’s been blacklisted from what I know, although his recent appearance in Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood probably will help him get back on his feet in the coming years.)

Olivia Thirlby – (Known For: No Strings Attached; Juno; Dredd; United 93; Above the Shadows; The Stanford Prison Experiment; The Senator; 5 to 7; Margaret; The Wackness; Solitary Man; Nobody Walks; Snow Angels; Being Flynn; Uncertainty; Between Us; Breaking Upwards; Love Comes Lately; Future BMT: New York, I Love You; Damascus Cover; Just Before I Go; Arlen Faber; Welcome to Happiness; BMT: The Darkest Hour; What Goes Up; The Wedding Ringer; Notes: Married a sound designer she met on the set of Dredd. This was one of her first starring roles.)

Max Minghella – (Known For: The Social Network; Horns; Agora; Into the Forest; The Ides of March; Syriana; 10 Years; About Alex; Brief Interviews with Hideous Men; Bee Season; Future BMT: The Internship; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; Art School Confidential; The 9th Life of Louis Drax; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Son of Anthony Minghella, who won an Oscar for directing The English Patient. Directed the film Teen Spirit starring Elle Fanning which got a limited 4 theater release.)

Budget/Gross – $30,000,000 / Domestic: $21,443,494 (Worldwide: $64,626,786)

(That’s not super great, partially because that $30 million figure was probably quite above the initial budget considering they decided to film in 3D and there were a lot of issues in Russia during production.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (7/59): Devoid of believable characters or convincing visual effects, this may be The Darkest Hour for the careers of all involved.

(Rough, the film is compared unfavorably towards the Transformers sequels. Makes sense though, lots of grinding machine noises without many ideas. Reviewer Highlight: Not since Mark Wahlberg trembled in fear beside a menacing houseplant in The Happening has a film tried to provoke terror with such an unlikely object of menace. – Nathan Rabin, AV Club)

Poster – Bad ‘Tricity

(It’s posters like this that had me going “WTF, mate?” back in 2011 and assuming that we would have watched it for BMT ages ago. Giving me flashbacks to The Avengers. I guess I like the orange color scheme and the russification of the font. C-)

Tagline(s) – Survive The Holidays (C)

The Invasion Begins Christmas Day (D)

(They really went all in on the Christmas release date, didn’t they? I don’t love taglines like these primarily because they are using something wholly separate from the film in order to try to be clever with the tagline. These would be OK for a Christmas film, but I don’t think this is even a secret holiday film… so what’s the point? First is better than the second and would actually be good if it pertained to the film at hand.)

Keyword – end of the world

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Justice League (2017), Interstellar (2014), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), Suicide Squad (2016), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Man of Steel (2013)

Future BMT: 65.6 Pulse (2006), 61.0 Legion (2010), 57.5 Little Nicky (2000), 56.1 Spawn (1997), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.1 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), 48.4 Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), 47.5 The Dark Tower (2017), 44.3 The Reaping (2007), 40.2 End of Days (1999);

BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Geostorm (2017), Fantastic Four (2015), Hellboy (2019), 2012 (2009), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), The 5th Wave (2016), Gods of Egypt (2016), Pixels (2015), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), The Darkest Hour (2011), Left Behind (2014), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Skyline (2010), R.I.P.D. (2013), Bless the Child (2000)

(Absolutely amazing dip right when this movie is made. I have a feeling I know what it is: the financial crisis. The reasons could be twofold. Mainly I just think disaster films are ultra-expensive so they put all of them on the back burner. But also psychologically I imagine people struggling to find work have no interest in watching films where the world falls apart, so that could be part of it as well. I’m excited for Legion, that looks like a giant pile of shit.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Olivia Thirlby is No. 3 billed in The Darkest Hour and No. 3 billed in What Goes Up, which also stars Steve Coogan (No. 1 billed) who is in Around the World in 80 Days (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jackie Chan (No. 1 billed) who is in The Medallion (No. 1 billed), which also stars John Rhys-Davies (No. 5 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 2 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch Suicide Squad, Nights in Rodanthe, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 20.

Notes – Shot in 3D as opposed to post-conversion. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa)

Production was suspended for a planned two weeks due to the extraordinary air pollution caused by heavy smoke from the wild fires surrounding Moscow in August 2010. It eventually resumed three weeks later. Even with this precaution, smoke still made it into a lot of shots and had to be digitally removed in post production.

The involvement of Timur Bekmambetov as producer afforded the production the opportunity of using Russia as a backdrop instead of the usual USA locations. Bekmambetov owns a film production company in Moscow called Bazelevs where most of the movie was made.

Not screened in advance for North American critics.

The crew was made up of about 30% American and 70% Russian.

The boat the refugees use to try to reach the submarine is named “Orca” (spelled “orka” in Cyrillic).

Highlander II: The Quickening Preview

Brief note before we start: last July we got together yet again and worked out a fourth class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly a decade since we started BMT and as usual the films from more than five years ago might just deserve a rewatch, a reassessment, and a recap. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the seventh (ninth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films chosen. This is the film so bad that we had to buy it on VHS in order to see it in its purest form. Like an uncut diamond, this is Highlander II: The Quickening. This is a preview, the Hall of Fame speech will follow directly afterwards.

Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) – BMeTric: 79.8; Notability: 26 

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(The rating is actually a little too high somehow. Low-4.0 is really really low … but this is legit maybe the worst film ever made. It should in reality be in the 3.0s, but maybe the Renegade Cut is actually not the worst.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars – This movie has to be seen to be believed. On the other hand, maybe that’s too high a price to pay. “Highlander 2: The Quickening” is the most hilariously incomprehensible movie I’ve seen in many a long day – a movie almost awesome in its badness. Wherever science fiction fans gather, in decades and generations to come, this film will be remembered in hushed tones as one of the immortal low points of the genre.

(Roger Ebert spitting hot fire here. And indeed, this movie is remembered in hushed tones as a nadir of its genre. It was such a disaster they recut it and you can’t see the original on home video anymore! That’s incredible.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV2yoL_GkEY/

(That heavy metal soundtrack! In another world this is an amazingly mind bending sci fi film. Instead they made the worst film ever. It is awesome.)

Directors – Russell Mulcahy – (Known For: Highlander; Ricochet; In Like Flynn; Razorback; Swimming Upstream; Future BMT: Tale of the Mummy; The Real McCoy; The Shadow; Resident Evil: Extinction; Resurrection; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Notes: Directed nearly 40 episodes of Teen Wolf.)

Writers – Gregory Widen (characters) – (Known For: Highlander; Backdraft; The Prophecy; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Notes: A wild career. Wrote the original Highlander when he was in college. And then wrote the sequel to Backdraft (which we’ve seen). Still writing films.)

Brian Clemens (story) – (Known For: The Watcher in the Woods; The Golden Voyage of Sinbad; See No Evil; Future BMT: And Soon the Darkness; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Notes: Died in 2015. Directed a bunch of British television as well, including Father Dowling Mysteries.)

William N. Panzer (story) (as William Panzer) – (Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Notes: These are the type of people I don’t get … he has a few writing credits, but mostly producing credits. Almost all of these credits are Highlander films/television. He has been involved in this IP for like 40 years.)

Peter Bellwood (screenplay) – (Known For: Highlander; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Notes: Mostly retired. He had a few notes in the mid-90s about teaming with Dennis Shryack, but from what I can tell they never actually produced anything as a team.)

Actors – Christopher Lambert – (Known For: Hail, Caesar!; Highlander; Sobibor; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Bel Canto; Fortress; Subway; White Material; To Kill a Priest; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Beowulf; Fortress 2; Southland Tales; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; The Sicilian; Gunmen; Loaded Weapon 1; Resurrection; Knight Moves; The Hunted; Electric Slide; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Apparently he is a joy to work with. I remember this specifically from Mortal Kombat notes. Still working, he was just in the television show The Blacklist.)

Sean Connery – (Known For: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; The Rock; Murder on the Orient Express; The Untouchables; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; The Hunt for Red October; Highlander; Dr. No; The Name of the Rose; Never Say Never Again; Thunderball; Goldfinger; From Russia with Love; Time Bandits; The Longest Day; Diamonds Are Forever; A Bridge Too Far; DragonHeart; Marnie; You Only Live Twice; Future BMT: Meteor; The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Family Business; A Good Man in Africa; Rising Sun; Entrapment; Just Cause; The Man with the Deadly Lens; Sir Billi; BMT: The Avengers; Highlander II: The Quickening; Medicine Man; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Avengers in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Entrapment in 2000; Notes: Almost 90 years old. He is well and truly retired at this point, I can’t even remember the last time I saw him do any publicity. Probably still the best James Bond ever, there is a new one of those coming out soon.)

Virginia Madsen – (Known For: Her Smell; Dune; Better Watch Out; The Rainmaker; Candyman; Joy; Sideways; The Hot Spot; Burn Your Maps; The Prophecy; The Astronaut Farmer; Electric Dreams; A Prairie Home Companion; Ghosts from the Past; 1985; Modern Girls; Mr. North; Walter; All the Wilderness; American Gun; Future BMT: Father of Invention; Class; The Hot Flashes; Slam Dance; Diminished Capacity; Creator; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; The Haunting; Red Riding Hood; Firewall; Hot to Trot; The Haunting in Connecticut; The Number 23; Notes: Starred in Swamp Thing which became a huge disappointment for the ill-fated DC streaming service. It went over budget and got its second season cancelled during the post-production of the first season. Whoops.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $15,556,340 (Worldwide: $15,556,340)

(Absolutely terrible. It is a little okay just because the budget was $30 million, which for the time was high, but it doesn’t put it into like Cutthroat Island range. Still really bad.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/23): There should have been only one.

(Absolutely brutal reviews, mostly just saying this is maybe the worst film ever made and they shouldn’t have made it. Reviewer Highlight: Audiences unfamiliar with the first film will be hard put to follow the action [from a story by Brian Clemens] as it incoherently hops about in time and space. – Variety)

Poster – Skloglander II: The Sklogening (A+++++++++)

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(My god, it’s beautiful. Everywhere you look is another treat for your senses. Look! There’s his futuristic car! Is that a helicopter?! There isn’t even one in the film! The sword! The lightning! Sean Connery! The font! Arrrrghhhhhhhhhhh! THE QUICKENING!)

Tagline(s) – In all their centuries on Earth, nothing could prepare them for… (F)

(Except for the other time that they had to fight to the death and there were a thousand Quickenings, right? I mean… there was some reasonable preparation at that point. Oh and I hate when they try to incorporate the title into the tagline. Always confusing.)

Keyword – immortal

HighlanderIITheQuickening_immortal

Top 10: Wonder Woman (2017), Twilight (2008), Justice League (2017), Hellboy (2019), Deadpool (2016), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Avengers Assemble (2012), Logan (2017)

Future BMT: 89.4 Vampires Suck (2010), 78.1 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), 65.9 Highlander: Endgame (2000), 61.9 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 52.0 Green Lantern (2011), 50.0 The Sin Eater (2003), 39.4 The Forsaken (2001), 39.0 Once Bitten (1985), 28.8 Igor (2008), 27.7 Dark Shadows (2012);

BMT: Hellboy (2019), The Mummy (2017), Ghost Ship (2002), A New York Winter’s Tale (2014), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Queen of the Damned (2002), I, Frankenstein (2014), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)

(Besides for a brief moment around 2010 this has kind of just grown out of the sci-fi in the 80s and reached a steady state. We do need to watch The Twilight Saga … bah, I’ve already seen those!)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Virginia Madsen is No. 3 billed in Highlander II: The Quickening and No. 3 billed in Firewall, which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 13. If we were to watch Rising Sun, Murder at 1600, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Michael Ironside recalled his experiences on this movie: “Yeah, listen, I hated that script. We all did. Me, Sean, Chris, we all were in it for the money on this one. I mean, it read as if it had been written by a thirteen-year-old boy. But I’d never played a barbarian swordsman before, and this was my first big evil mastermind-type. I figured if I was going to do this stupid movie, I might as well have fun, and go as far over the top as I possibly could. All that eye-rolling and foaming at the mouth was me deciding that if I was going to be in a piece of shit, like that movie, I was going to be the most memorable fucking thing in it, and I think I succeeded.” (Noice)

Christopher Lambert was so disgusted with the re-written script that he wanted to drop out of this movie. Contractual obligations forced him to finish it.

Director Russell Mulcahy disliked the theatrical cut so much that he left the premiere after only fifteen minutes. (And thus the Renegade Cut)

John C. McGinley made his character’s voice as deep as possible in an effort to imitate Orson Welles. He has since admitted that it was a bad idea.

Grossly contradicts the previous movie, Highlander (1986). All subsequent Highlander movies ignore this film. (Wellllll, to be fair they tend to ignore a good chunk of the lore at random times)

Christopher Lambert refused to use a fake sword for the fight scenes. In his first scene with it, he cut his finger to the bone and Michael Ironside dislocated his jaw in the dome fight. After these accidents, Lambert agreed to use a plastic sword.

Roger Ebert named it the worst movie of 1991.

Clancy Brown was asked to reprise his role as the Kurgan in a cameo, but declined.

Other than James Bond, Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez is the only character that Sir Sean Connery has played in more than one movie.

Christopher Lambert and Michael Ironside did most of their own stunts.

The idea for this movie came about because Christopher Lambert enjoyed working with Sir Sean Connery and really got along with him and Lambert wanted to work with Connery again for this movie, even though Ramirez died in Highlander (1986). A new story was written where Connor MacLeod, Ramirez, and the Immortals were aliens from another planet and Ramirez is brought back to life when Connor undergoes the Quickening and calls his name.

The movie’s initial budget was estimated at thirty million dollars. Sir Sean Connery received three and a half million dollars for nine days of work. Connery donated the money to charitable causes. (Haha)

After this film bombed at the box-office, it was decided that the following movies, Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994), Highlander: Endgame (2000), and Highlander: The Source (2007), would be true and faithful to the original movie, story, and mythology by pretending this movie never happened. A long-running joke amongst Highlander fans states that the official name of the third movie should have been “Highlander III: The Apology”.

Unused scenes revealed that the Kurgan from the first movie was also a resident of Zeist, and General Katana hired him to kill Connor MacLeod. The final battle between MacLeod and the Kurgan from the first movie is shown on a large screen to Zeist bettors, and when the Kurgan fails, Katana sends down the two assassins featured in the final cut of this movie to take out MacLeod.

Christopher Lambert has very bad eyesight. During one sword fight, Lambert, who was not wearing his glasses, nearly severed Michael Ironside’s right thumb.

An alternate ending, “The Fairytale Ending”, was shown in some European theaters. Louise and Connor magically return to Zeist, embrace in front of a field of stars, transform into light streaks, and fly off into space. (Whaaaaaaaaaaat)

A technician died during filming, after falling from a crane.

To recover the filming rights, producers made the television series Highlander (1992). Christopher Lambert declined to reprise his role as Connor MacLeod, and the producers chose to create a new character. Lambert then accepted, and appeared in the pilot, to introduce the new hero, Duncan MacLeod (Adrian Paul). (Oh … I’ve seen the pilot)

Director Russell Mulcahy was so frustrated at being locked out of production that he tried to have his credit changed to “Alan Smithee”. However, a section of his contract forbade him from publicly attacking this movie before it was released. The producers said that if he had his credit changed, it would be considered an attack, and he would be sued.

No bluescreen or special effects were used for the hoverboard fight sequence. Christopher Lambert wore wires and harnesses, set up by the team behind the flying sequences in Superman (1978). (Oh I couldn’t tell….)

Initial plans for a third movie titled Highlander III: The Reckoning, would have detached the story even further from the original. It would have taken place entirely on Zeist, and would have involved Connor training a rebel army to overthrow the rulers of the planet. However, the post-production editing of this movie, which changed the ending, plus the poor box-office performance, nixed the idea. (Jesus, that sounds terrible)

Virginia Madsen admitted to doing this movie for two reasons: to go to Argentina, and to work with Sir Sean Connery.

Sir Sean Connery was sued by an Assistant Director for sexual harassment. (Oh gross)

In the Director’s Cut, Connor and Ramirez’s backstory is changed. Instead of aliens from the planet Zeist, Connor and Ramirez are from Earth in the distant past who were sent to the future, as punishment for their rebellion, in which they were reborn in the time periods to which they were exiled, hence Connor forgetting his past, which he begins to remember at the opera.

Predator 2 Preview

When Jamie and Patrick enter the Police Academy they are immediately approached by the officer in charge. He says that given their perfect physiques and solid references he thought they could keep an eye on the jokester recruits until they quit. Just as Patrick beings to politely decline (they ain’t no snitches) a strong gust of wind results in the freak pantsing of the officer. Looking around he sees Jamie laughing with the rest of the party animal recruits. “You’ll regret this!” screams the officer in charge. “I’ll make sure both of you are run out of this Academy!” Oh yeah? Not when they are the best recruits the Academy has ever seen. They backflip their way through obstacle courses and use their years of experience with heavy weaponry to blow through the simulations. One day as graduation nears they return to their bunks to find 50 kgs of cocaine sitting on our beds. God damn sabotage! “How can we get rid of a shitload of cocaine?” Jamie wails. “Hold on,” says Patrick thinking, “Shitload… load… load of laundry. I got an idea!” Recalling the tight writing of Exit Wounds, Jamie and Patrick quickly soak 3,000 t-shirts in a vat of cocaine water. When the police arrive all they find is Jamie and Patrick and a shitload of t-shirts. “What’s going on here?” Asks the commander, “we got a tip for a drug bust.” “Nope,” responds Patrick, “Just us and our t-shirt business inventory.” The commander is impressed and we graduate first in the class for our mad skillz and entrepreneurship. In disbelief the officer in charge gets wind of a pretty tough first assignment. Precinct 16 has a Predator problem and he’s pretty sure he knows who’s going to be on Predator Duty. That’s right! This week we are taking the opportunity of the Franchise-zzz cycle to finish (?) the Predator franchise with Predator II. We really jumped around that franchise but somehow never got around to the film set in the far crime-ridden future of 1997 that co-starred Gary Busey. Seems like an oversight. No more! Let’s go!

Predator 2 (1990) – BMeTric: 24.4

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(There is almost no logical eplanation in my mind why the Predator 2 IMDb rating would be above 6.0, almost none. The movie is a joke that sidelined quite an impressive idea for a franchise for a decade.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Fast-paced (if too derivative) sequel, minus Arnold. This time, cop Glover and cronies take on the title alien in 1997 L.A. Good production design and lots of hit-’em-across-the-face action, but don’t looke for anything resembling inventive dialogue or character development. Then again, you wouldn’t expect either from a film with Morton Downey, Jr., in its cast.

(Wow Morton Downey Jr. was basically a morning zoo guy, but more trash TV. His filmography was dire. Was a weirdly pro-cigarette advocate right up until he got cancer and had to have a lung removed. Sounds like a delight.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yPdBVUP5Zw

(Ha “With a few days to kill” classic. Seems just okay. It certainly seems ludicrous. Honestly, they didn’t need to make it a heatwave and have everyone sweating profusely the entire time. Its gross.)

Directors – Stephen Hopkins – (Known For: The Ghost and the Darkness; Race; Under Suspicion; The Life and Death of Peter Sellers; Future BMT: Lost in Space; A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child; The Reaping; Blown Away; Judgment Night; BMT: Predator 2; Notes: Directed most of the first season of 24, including the pilot for which he was nominated for an Emmy. Won an Emmy for The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. Has a hilarious quote about Predator 2 where he said that his main mistake was taking it too seriously and trying to add too much depth to the film. Sure man, whatever you say.)

Writers – John Thomas and Jim Thomas (characters & written by) – (Known For: Predator; Predators; Executive Decision; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; BMT: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem; Wild Wild West; The Predator; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Predator 2; Behind Enemy Lines; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: God I kinda love all these films and cannot wait for Mission to Mars now. These two are writing partners and brothers. Just like us… exactly like us… with the exact same level and success as us.)

Actors – Danny Glover – (Known For: The Old Man & the Gun; Sorry to Bother You; Saw; Shooter; The Rainmaker; Lethal Weapon; Witness; Silverado; The Royal Tenenbaums; The Prince of Egypt; Escape from Alcatraz; The Color Purple; Blindness; Dreamgirls; Lethal Weapon 2; Antz; Lethal Weapon 4; Maverick; Lethal Weapon 3; Future BMT: The Shaggy Dog; Rage; Gone Fishin’; Age of the Dragons; Operation Dumbo Drop; Diablo; Barnyard; Andron; The Cookout; Monster Trucks; Pure Luck; Angels in the Outfield; Flight of the Intruder; Supremacy; Switchback; Legendary; Wild America; LUV; Gospel Hill; BMT: Alpha and Omega; Proud Mary; 2012; Dirty Grandpa; Predator 2; Notes: In 1984-5 he appeared in three Best Picture nominated films, Places in the Heart, The Color Purple, and Witness. He never got a nomination, though. He did get nominated for four Emmys throughout his career.)

Gary Busey – (Known For: A Star Is Born; Point Break; Lethal Weapon; The Firm; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Lost Highway; Under Siege; Silver Bullet; Thunderbolt and Lightfoot; The Player; The Buddy Holly Story; Big Wednesday; Bounty Killer; Straight Time; Insignificance; Barbarosa; The Gingerdead Man; Cloud 9; Wild in the Streets; Carried Away; Future BMT: Piranha 3DD; Behaving Badly; Chasers; Drop Zone; Homo Erectus; Rookie of the Year; D.C. Cab; Black Sheep; Surviving the Game; Entourage; The Gumball Rally; BMT: Soldier; Predator 2; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for The Buddy Holly Story. Father of Jake Busey who was actually in the latest Predator film. Nearly died in a motorcycle accident in 1988 when he crashed while not wearing a helmet. Strangely not long before the accident he had appeared at a rally aimed at preventing a law requiring people to wear helmets when using a motorcycle. Sad.)

Kevin Peter Hall – (Known For: Predator; Harry and the Hendersons; Future BMT: Big Top Pee-wee; BMT: Predator 2; Notes: Sadly died very young after contracting AIDS from a blood transfusion received following a car accident.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $30,669,413 (Worldwide: $57,120,318)

(Eh. If you squint your eyes you can only kind of tell that this lost millions of dollars for the studio. Yeah, killed any hopes for a franchise for a while.)

#46 for the Creature Feature genre

predator2_creaturefeature

(Right in the original creature feature boom from the 80s, although given it looks like dogshit compared to Jurassic Park it isn’t that much of a surprise it would take a while to figure out how to transition from mega expensive animatronics to CGI like that film did. Alien Vs. Predator is the highest grossing BMT film we’ve done.)

#45 for the Future – Near genre

predator2_future

(Right in the sweet spot where the genre was punching above its weight a bit. Predicting the future in film has been around for about as long as film and follows the technological advancements as well. A Sound of Thunder is the lowest grossing, but probably most entertaining example we’ve done)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (7/26): No consensus yet.

(A lot higher that I personally would have expected, but people do love Predator. Reviewer Highlight: [T]he film’s greatest loss is one of spirit. We live on a speck in a corner of a vast universe, and what makes us human is our ability to wonder about what’s out there. Since we do not know, the fables we create serve only to inspire our dreams. “Predator 2” is a movie whose dreams are angry and ugly. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Alium Hunter 2: Aliums in the City (D-)

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(My eyes! My god, my eyes! Almost The Avengers (1998) level but that weird slanted predator blocks out most of the jarringly bright colors to mitigate the damage. At least it got that classic Predator font. Last Year’s reboot forgot that to its great detriment.)

Tagline(s) – He’s in town with a few days to kill. (Ha, no.)

Silent. Invisible. Invincible. The Ultimate Hunter. (Warmer.)

This Time… Los Angeles, 1997. (Yes… and…)

(Cocaine is the only explanation for any of this. From the poster to the three wildly different taglines. They must have typed out like 500 taglines in an all night bender and then began yelling and punching each other because of how genius they all were until they fell unconscious from exhaustion and the producers just used all of them because fuck it. They got a party to go to.)

Keyword(s) – alien; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.6 Battlefield Earth (2000); 93.9 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 82.5 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 82.2 Skyline (2010); 81.9 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959); 78.1 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000); 76.3 AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem (2007); 74.8 Species II (1998); 74.8 After Earth (2013);

(My god. Who would have thought the last “alien” film we’d have to do to polish off this keyword is The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. No I.)

Notes – The filming of the alley scene was very troublesome for the filmmakers, due to it being filmed in a very rough neighborhood. The alley was littered with garbage, most of which was used in the film, and plagued with large rats. Local residents angered by the noise created by the film crew, would throw bottles and paper bags filled with feces from windows at the crew in the alley below. Worst of all, the film crew found a dead body hidden amongst the garbage. (This does not sound real. They found a dead body in an alleyway filled with trash that they chose as a filming location? Come on.).

The Jamaican voodoo posse gangs, seen in the film, were based on actual gangs that were terrorizing New York City and Kansas City in the mid to late 1980s.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said no to Predator 2 (1990), because he didn’t like the new director, or the new script.

In the backstory behind why Dutch, the main protagonist of the first film did not return for the sequel. Keyes had learned of Dutch’s encounter with the Predator, and he tracked Dutch down to a hospital, in which Dutch was being treated for an illness from radiation sickness, thought to be a result of exposure of the Predator’s Self-Destruct Device. After hearing Dutch’s account of events, Keyes and the O.W.L.F. team were sent to the jungle to investigate, and studied the site where the Predator detonated it’s Self-Destruction Device, and discovered evidence of a spaceship launch in the jungle, and that the deceased Predator’s ship had automatically returned to the Predator homeworld, and Dutch later escaped from the hospital and vanished, and Keyes personally believed he was still alive. (Ugh, it would have been perfect for The Predator this year, to have him having been abducted and then returned to Earth as its savior)

With more time than the original Predator (1987), Stan Winston, Stephen Hopkins, and Lawrence G. Paull came up with ideas and designs with more exotic weapons (the retractable spear, the detachable pincers, the Smart Disc, the net, et cetera.) for the Predator to use, to differentiate this film from the previous one.

The spear weapon, that was used in the film, disappeared and was reported stolen after filming was completed.

The plot underwent a few changes in its earliest stages. Gary Busey’s character, Keyes, was actually intended to be Dutch, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character from the first film. Schwarzenegger was very outspoken against the sequel’s concept, feeling that taking it into the city was a bad idea, and declined the role. (I don’t think he’s right, I just think it would have been smarter to go Cambodia 1967 first as that was already mentioned, would have allowed to make LA 1997 not take place in the future as well)

Kevin Peter Hall had studied African tribal dances, in order to get into the feel and flexibility of the Predator, and to give him a personality.

Stephen Hopkins was given the task of directing Predator 2 (1990) after greatly impressing the studio when directing A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989). He had been given just four weeks to shoot, and a further four weeks to edit the film. This meant that he had to shoot on one stage, while the crew dressed the other, allowing them to shoot almost continually.

The film was re-cut over twenty times, according to Stephen Hopkins, because of more graphic shots of mutilated bodies and decapitations by the Predator.

Rubén Blades was giving a live television interview to Good Morning America (1975) from the set of this movie. During the interview, Stephen Hopkins walked on camera, and ordered Blades back to work very loudly. The incident was so embarrassing, Blades and Hopkins did another interview a few days later to apologize.

King Willie (Calvin Lockhart) is said to practice Voodoo, yet Voodoo is not commonly practiced in Jamaica and actually comes from Haiti. King Willie is more likely a Rastafarian, which is a common religion in Jamaica and would explain his dreadlocks and the fact he calls Harrigan “Babylon” (a Rastafarian term for the justice system which they see as oppressive and corrupt).

Elpidia Carrillo, who played Anna in the first film, has her name listed in the sequel’s credits, yet doesn’t seem to appear in the actual film. Look carefully during the scene inside Peter Keyes’ mobile headquarters, and you will spot her. When Keyes (Gary Busey) describes how the creature activated a self-destruct device in Predator (1987), you can briefly spot Anna on one of the video screens. Carrillo filmed a debriefing scene, in which she talks to the camera and describes the events of the first film, but it was cut from the sequel.

The subway attack scene was directly adapted from the first Predator comic book series. The producers thought it was cool, and wanted to use it in the film. (Huh, I honestly didn’t realize the comics came before the second film)

Respirators were required during the slaughterhouse sequence, due to the debris and chemicals that had filled up inside the set.

John McTiernan’s fee after Die Hard (1988) was two million dollars. That’s why he declined to direct this movie, because the executives wanted to keep the budget the same as on the first film.

Keyes is the only character to ever use the word “predator” to refer to the Predator on-screen the word “predators” is also used by Isabelle in Predators (2010) but she uses it to refer to the human characters in the film not the Predator creatures.

According to Screenwriters Jim Thomas and John Thomas, a Predator sequel had not been planned, and they had to wait to see how successful the Predator comic book series would be. After the series was a hit, Producer Joel Silver was finally able to convince Fox to make the sequel, which was immediately greenlit.

The original storyline of the film was to have taken place in New York City, but Jim Thomas and John Thomas quickly changed it to Los Angeles, because of budget concerns. The scene where the Predator raises the skull during the lighting storm, was to have taken place atop the Chrysler Building.

This was the first film to be given the newly instituted NC-17 rating in the U.S. for its graphic violence, before it was re-cut to its final theatrical length. (Huh. I was actually rather skeptical of this when I read it, but as it makes sense it was the first. You’d need a load of violence these days to get NC-17 and it would have to be a lot more graphic than this)

Several of the hunting party members were played by players from the Los Angeles Lakers; Danny Glover was a big fan, and when the production needed several very tall people to play the background Predators, he asked them to help out. (Awesome)

The first film Gary Busey made after his nearly fatal motorcycle accident. (He looks good)

The brief scene with the hunting party was the most expensive to make in the entire film. Stan Winstons effects team had to build nine additional, unique Predator suits for just a few minutes of screentime. (That sounds dumb … but weirdly worth it)

John McTiernan was offered the chance to direct, but turned it down to work on The Hunt for Red October (1990). (Smart)

[There were a bunch more notes mostly with info gleaned from either the novelization or comics, but you can go to IMDb for those]

Transformers: The Last Knight Preview

There were a number of high profile candidates for BMT Live! this year, but as with any crowded BMT field we couldn’t get to all of them. One obvious candidate that missed out on that prime spot was the 5th in a major SciFi blockbuster series. That’s right! We’re finally watching Transformers: The Last Knight! The second in the Cade Yeager (actual name from the film) set of Transformers films. This one didn’t garner any better reviews than most of the entries in the series. Not surprising since they seem to unapologetically produce big screen gobbledegook in the hopes that everyone is so confused that they shrug their shoulders and say “Good for what is it.” But as Mother Teresa once said, “you can’t polish a turd,” so let’s just see how shiny they made this thing. Let’s go!

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) – BMeTric: 60.5

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(While the vote count is a classic (I do love it when you have enough data points to see the almost perfect asymptotic approach that occurs with a limit, i.e. theatrical release) the rating is somewhat abnormal. Usually a low rating will rise as more people see a film. Here it has fallen slightly. Maybe because in VOD more people who aren’t big fans will see it? I would expect it to rise a bit over the next few years though. It is just the nature of the game.)

RogerEbert.com – 1 star –  Here’s where the chorus of Critic-Proof Franchises kicks in. Michael Bay made this for fans of the franchise and not the notoriously-hard-on-it critics. Diehards will ignore that I liked the first film and parts of the third and fourth films (the second is still a cinematic abomination). I get it. We love to forgive the failures of franchises we adore. Even critics do that. But even fans of this series have to take a hard look at the outright, shocking laziness of this movie—one that does the bare minimum to get butts in seats.

(Yup. I’ve been convinced that the Transformers producers have been bringing Bay back to try and get one thing: movie critics to just say “it’s good for what it is!” and then waltz to the bank for that cool billion dollar payday. Fast and the Furious does it, why can’t this? Mainly it is because the charisma of Vin Diesel and The Rock keep that franchise from seeming lazy. I do think Bay is gone from the series now and I don’t think they’ll ever reach that F&F place. Too bad for them.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgnO5fO46pE

(That song is a big old pile of shit. The movie seems entertaining if you kind of pretend this is the first or second in the series. The issue is they keep on revising when and how the transformers got here. First they followed the Allspark to Earth. Oh wait no there was The Fallen way long ago. Oh wait, they were at the moon landing. Oh wait, they were around with the dinosaurs. Oh wait, they’ve been in literally every war in human history. To hard to keep straight at this point. Should have jumped forward to after the war has torn Earth apart in the third movie and ignored the mythology crap at that point.)

Directors – Michael Bay – (Known For: 13 Hours; Transformers; The Rock; Bad Boys; Pain & Gain; Future BMT: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Pearl Harbor; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Armageddon; Bad Boys II; The Island; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Director in 2010 for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; and in 2015 for Transformers: Age of Extinction; and Nominated for Worst Director in 1999 for Armageddon; in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; and in 2012 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Notes: Director Hall of Famer I would guess. I’ve seen nearly all of his movies, but we have to BMTize them at some point. Bad Boys II is actually an interesting one, because people online love it for some reason. It is, in fact, a giant load of shit.)

Writers – Art Marcum  and Matt Holloway (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Iron Man; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Punisher: War Zone; Notes: Already tabbed to write the next two (ugh) Transformers films. Wrote a script for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot which was never used.)

Ken Nolan (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Only the Brave; Black Hawk Down; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Notes: Bother of actor Matt Nolan who has kind of bumped around doing small film parts and minor television roles, although in big projects like 24. He is one of those guys who has been in Hollywood as a full time scriptwriter for over 20 years with only a few movies produced. His first spec, In Contempt, for example, was sold for over a million dollars, but never produced. He has multiple major unproduced scripts floating about Hollywood at this point.)

Akiva Goldsman (story by) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; Batman Forever; I Am Legend; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; Cinderella Man; The Client; Future BMT: Batman & Robin; Lost in Space; The Dark Tower; Practical Magic; Insurgent; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Rings; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominated for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: We mentioned him in the Rings preview obviously. He is a gigantic screenwriter, although now a producer as well. He’s executive producing the new Star Trek series for example.)

Actors – Mark Wahlberg – (Known For: The Departed; Boogie Nights; Planet of the Apes; Lone Survivor; Deepwater Horizon; Shooter; Patriots Day; Ted 2; 2 Guns; The Other Guys; Ted; Four Brothers; The Italian Job; Rock Star; Pain & Gain; Invincible; The Fighter; Date Night; The Perfect Storm; The Basketball Diaries; Future BMT: Max Payne; The Truth About Charlie; Daddy’s Home; Mojave; Broken City; Fear; Renaissance Man; Daddy’s Home 2; Entourage; The Lovely Bones; BMT: The Happening; Transformers: The Last Knight; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor in 2009 for Max Payne, and The Happening; Notes: Basically a Hall of Famer solely from The Happening where his performance is off the chain. We have a million to go with him … brother of Donnie Wahlberg and co-owner of the Wahlberger franchise.)

Anthony Hopkins – (Known For: Thor: Ragnarok; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Thor; Thor: The Dark World; The Silence of the Lambs; Dracula; Noah; Legends of the Fall; Meet Joe Black; Fracture; Howards End; Red Dragon; The Elephant Man; Beowulf; Chaplin; Mission: Impossible II; The Mask of Zorro; RED 2; The Lion in Winter; A Bridge Too Far; Future BMT: Alexander; Freejack; Bad Company; Misconduct; The Wolfman; Slipstream; The Rite; Desperate Hours; Collide; Kidnapping Freddy Heineken; All the King’s Men; 360; Solace; Instinct; Surviving Picasso; Hannibal; The Innocent; The Trial; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; A Change of Seasons; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor for A Change of Seasons in 1981; Notes: Obviously a giant star as well. Notably won the Oscar for Best Actor in Silence of the Lambs, a movie he appeared in for approximately 15 minutes total.)

Josh Duhamel – (Known For: Transformers; You’re Not You; Ramona and Beezus; Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!; Wrecked; Future BMT: Paradise Lost; The Romantics; Misconduct; Fire with Fire; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; CHIPS; The Institute; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Life as We Know It; Don Peyote; Lost in the Sun; This Is Your Death; Strings; BMT: Movie 43; Transformers: The Last Knight; When in Rome; New Year’s Eve; Safe Haven; Notes: I’m a big Duhamel-head after Safe Haven. Interesting like. Born in North Dakota he was a construction worker at 26 and ended up kind of falling into modelling. Ultimately that lead to acting when he was specifically asked to audition for The Picture of Dorian Grey.)

Budget/Gross – $217–260 million / Domestic: $130,168,683 (Worldwide: $605,425,157)

(Reasonably. It isn’t blowing people away anymore though. They kind of want / expect / need this to be a billion dollar franchise. But a few hundred million is also nothing to sneeze at all said and done. I assume they will complete the second trilogy. We’ll see what happens then.)

#28 for the CGI Star genre

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(You might wonder what happened in 2010 to make this so highly profitable. It was Avatar. This movie is actually quite low, around the Ang Lee Hulk film as far as domestic gross. Saved by Chine it would seem. There were also 6 films with a CGI star this year! That’s ridiculous.)

#12 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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(Three this year and this guy comes in just after I, Robot which is pretty bad. The plot is pretty uninteresting though. Films about robots have been popular from around 2005 it would seem … basically when the original Transformers came out.)

#16 for the Sci-Fi – Alien Invasion genre

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(Peaked around 2012 when The Avengers came out. This is below Chicken Little! The more I read the more I realize that domestically this was an incredible bomb! Anyways, the genre is kind of waning a bit, at least the per theater take is.)

#12 for the TV Cartoon (Live Action) genre

transformers5_basedoncartoons

(Transformers has kind of fueled the genre a bit, but Alvin and the Chipmunks is also obviously pretty dominant as well. Right behind The Flintstones … my God.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (31/202): Cacophonous, thinly plotted, and boasting state-of-the-art special effects, The Last Knight is pretty much what you’d expect from the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise.

(Cacophonous. Cacophonous … I’m liking the sound of that in a way. Very nice. I want to see some transforming and a plot that make literally no sense. Let’s do it.)

Poster – Sklogformers: The Last Sklog (D+)

transformers_the_last_knight_ver4

(This poster tells me a story. That story is “your brain will explode as you try to discern what is happening on screen just like your brain is exploding trying to understand what is going on with this mess of a poster.” Why is everything in the world on this poster? At least it has some font action.)

Tagline(s) – For one world to live, the other must die. (A-)

(Nice cadance and use of live-die. Short and sweet and a little hint at the plot. Overall this is pretty good. A fun pun would have gone a long way to hitting that A+.)

Keyword(s) – based on toy; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.7 Bratz (2007); 75.6 Ouija (II) (2014); 62.1 Max Steel (2016); 60.8 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987); 60.5 Transformers: The Last Knight (2017); 53.4 Jem and the Holograms (2015); 44.8 Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014); 40.9 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009); 40.8 G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013); 34.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009);

(Ooooooh yeah. We almost watched Max Steel. We were really close. Ouija is almost obviously the creme de la creme for these guys. Just ridiculous that was made. Even more ridiculous that its sequel ended up being good!)

Notes – With a budget of $217 million dollars, the most expensive Transformers at the time of release. (Until the next one)

The scenes of Sir Edmund Burton visiting 10 Downing Street were filmed at the actual office of the British Prime Minister in October 2016. (This is what happens when you’re Michael Fucking Bay)

Mark Wahlberg announced this will be his last Transformers movie as Cade Yeager. He had signed a contract for three films, with the knowledge that he could be relieved earlier. (But… but… but… I was promised a second trilogy)

Director Michael Bay is a noted dog lover, and he cast Freya, a British dog with epilepsy that many homes had rejected, in the film. (I wanted to say this was an obvious PR plot but apparently it is not. Actual true story. Wow)

Writer Matt Holloway is a fan of the drama Downton Abbey (2010), and jokingly said that Jim Carter (who plays the butler Mr. Carson in the show) should voice Cogman. He was shocked when Michael Bay got Carter signed on as Cogman. (Again, this is just Bay seeing how far he can push his Bay-ness)

Michael Bay said that this will be the last Transformers film he will direct, for the moment. He is open to doing more films in the future, if he gets a good story. (A good story never stopped him before. Ay oh)

After the release of Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), a writers’ room was setup to plan the franchise’s future beyond the main film series. Two of the ideas pitched involved the Arthurian myth and World War II respectively. Michael Bay liked them so much that he decided to incorporate them into the script for this film. (I want an entire television series just about this writer’s room. I’ll call it Michael Bay’s Writers Room)

Shia LaBeouf and Nicola Peltz appeared in this film, although it was only their portraits. (Count it! Shia LaBeouf is in this movie)

While shooting in England, Mark Wahlberg spent time at St. Aidan’s Church incognito, and made donations. No one knew anything until afterwards. Reverend Father Des McGiven said, “It’s great that we had him in for the service, and we appreciate his generosity towards our church.” (I’m not sure how to respond to this obviously pandering imdb trivia note… good for Mark Wahlberg I guess)

This film features the myth of King Arthur. Michael Bay was previously going to direct King Arthur (2004), and had worked on that film for five years, before leaving it, due to budget issues. (Michael Bay gets the budget that he wants. No questions asked).

Michael Bay originally wanted to pass on directing this film, but was persuaded to do one more by Peter Cullen. (So you’re telling me the voice actor who voices Optimus Prime for like 2 days in a sound studio convinced Bay to return… that is just clearly bullshit).

Part of the film was shot at Stonehenge. Michael Bay requested to shoot an explosion on the location, but was denied, so he had a set of Stonehenge constructed to shoot the explosion. (Wait, Michael Bay was denied something?! That… that doesn’t make sense. Michael Bay gets what Michael Bay wants and if he wants to blow up Stonehenge then you let him do it)

Peter Cullen, Reno Wilson, and Mark Ryan are the only actors to appear in all five live-action Transformers films, with Cullen as Optimus Prime, Wilson playing Frenzy, Mudflap, Brains, Mohawk, and Sqweeks, and Mark Ryan voicing Bumblebee, Jetfire, a military drone operator, Lockdown, and Bulldog. (This is actually a really good factoid. An impossible trivia question).

The filmmakers admitted that there were production difficulties in this film, which resulted in a lot of material planned and filmed, but which never made it to the film. (Give me those cut scenes and bloopies. I needs them)

Hot Rod’s French accent was Michael Bay’s idea, as he thought it would give Hot Rod a unique character. (Well I hope he’s as racist as the Mexican robots he had in previous installments.)

Ken Nolan wrote the role of Sir Edmund specifically for Sir Anthony Hopkins. (Facts like this are said too often to actually be true. Later we’re going to hear about all the actors that were up for the part of Ken Nolan)

Though this film was successful, grossing over $600 million worldwide, this is the lowest grossing film of the Transformers franchise. (They must have been so disappointed that they immediately greenlighted Transformers 6 for a 2019 release.)

This is the third Transformers film to be outgrossed by a computer animated threequel. This film was outgrossed by Despicable Me 3 (2017). The first was Transformers, (2007) which was outgrossed by Shrek the Third (2007), and the second was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), which was outgrossed by Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009). But while Transformers was $89.7 million behind Shrek the Third and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was $50.4 million behind Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, this film is over $420 million behind Despicable Me 3. (This is a really weird and interesting factoid)

This is the second Transformers installment for Stanley Tucci, who played Merlin. Previously he played Joshua Joyce in Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014). (Wait… what?!)

The Autobot Topspin from Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) appears in this film, but with a head akin to Leadfoot’s, and a new name, “Volleybot”. (Wait… WHAT?!)

The original cut of the movie supposedly was much longer and roughly a whole hour’s worth of footage was cut for theatrical release. (Yeesssssss, release the Director’s Cut, Bay… do it)

Despite his seeming death during Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), the police car Decepticon Barricade returns, and has apparently survived up to the events of this movie, with a completely new design, including a new vehicle mode. (Ha! I think Bay and the writers eventually realized that no one cares)

The film contains tributes to Transformers Prime (2010): Earth is revealed to be the planet-eating Transformer Unicron.Optimus briefly loses his identity. An ancient breed of Transformer, who can transform into a dragon appears (Predacons, Knights).The final battle is set in the sky, with the Decepticons trying to engage a machine that will destroy the Earth, and the Autobots fighting to stop them. (Wait… is this the actual plot of the film?! WTF!)

The Transformers’ creator is Quintessa is based on the Quintessons from Transformers (1984), but incorporates elements of Solus Prime, a female Transformer god from Transformers Prime (2010). (I like lore like this. It’s part of the issues I have with the series. They really screw with any coherent mythos associated with the series… which is kind of the entire attraction of a franchise)

In the movie, it is mentioned that Fidel Castro allows Transformers to live in peace in Cuba. Since then, Castro died on November 25, 2016, it implies that the movie was filmed before his passing, in the way that there wasn’t time to change his mention. (Ha! You done dated yo film Bay.)

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) is the first film in the live-action series to feature Bumblebees true voice. (For some reason I already knew this)

Battlefield Earth Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews back in 2011 we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the last in the series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies (coming soon!). A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediate afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Battlefield Earth (2000) – BMeTric: 87.7

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(The. Consistency. Maybe the number one reason this Hall of Fame has been a resounding success for BMT is seeing this trend come to life. A film gaining tens of thousands of votes and the rating not moving an inch? Incredible. Think about it, a three on IMDb would raise the rating. The people who watch this film and rate it on IMDb pretty much give it a one every time. Ridiculous. Naturally one of the highest BMeTrics ever, and for a reason. )

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Psychlos (business-minded aliens) conquered Earth a century ago; what remains of humanity are slaves or ignorant savages. Gold-greedy Psychlo security chief Travolta educates bright human Pepper, hoping “man animals” can mine the metal for him. Big mistake … So is the movie, based on the novel by L. Ron Hubbard. Clumsy plot, misplaced satire, unbelievable coincidences and a leaden pace trample Travolta’s weird but amusing performance.

(Is he wrong about the year? They conquered Earth a thousand years ago (it is the saga of the year 3000 after all). I love weird by amusing performances, and yeah, this is a bomb. Strange the direction isn’t mentioned in the long list of issues with the film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhNuXvlCTTc

(Short and sweet is what that always say I guess. It just teases the insanity that is Travolta’s performance. Just a taste. And the CGI looks straight garbage in this as well, so it has that going for it)

Directors – Roger Christian – (Known For: Nostradamus; BMT: Battlefield Earth; Stranded; Masterminds; Notes:  Prominent art director having won an Oscar for his work on Star Wars and nominated for his work on Alien. Won the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Director for Battlefield Earth. I nearly had a heart attack seeing that he directed a film called “Masterminds” and mistaking it for the 2016 release of the same name. Thought he was back with a major release.)

Writers – Corey Mandell (screenplay) – (BMT: Battlefield Earth; Notes:  Won the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Screenplay for Battlefield Earth; He works at UCLA now, you can see the cred on his website http://coreymandell.net/. Given Shapiro’s story about production it is basically a guarantee that he is a scientologist and chosen for the project merely because we went to a meeting and mentioned he was a playwright to … someone. Anyone really as far as I can tell.)

J.D. Shapiro (screenplay) – (Known For: Robin Hood: Men in Tights; BMT: Battlefield Earth; Notes:  Won the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Screenplay for Battlefield Earth; This movie basically ended his career. He wrote an open letter to the NY Post explaining how he got involved … it was basically that he went to a Scientologist meeting to meet girls, and wrote a pitch when they found out he was a screenwriter. And that basically Travolta ruined the entire thing. Sounds like a nightmare experience for everyone.)

Ron Hubbard (novel) – (BMT: Battlefield Earth; Notes: At one point I checked his bibliography to see if there was any chance his filmography would grow … uh, naw. He has 235 pieces of fiction published, but only two would be what I would call “modern”. One is Battlefield Earth. The other is Mission Earth, a 10 novel epic which was …. Not well received and was almost entirely published after his death. Probably most well known for producing the first soundtrack for a novel (Space Jazz for Battlefield Earth) … wait, that can’t be right. Oh yeah, he also founded Scientology I guess.)

Actors – John Travolta – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Grease; Carrie; Savages; In a Valley of Violence; Bolt; Face/Off; Hairspray; The Thin Red Line; Saturday Night Fever; Get Shorty; Criminal Activities; The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3; Urban Cowboy; Look Who’s Talking; Broken Arrow; Primary Colors; Blow Out; Phenomenon; Ladder 49; Lonely Hearts; A Love Song for Bobby Long; A Civil Action; BMT: Battlefield Earth (BMT); Look Who’s Talking Too; Look Who’s Talking Now; Staying Alive; Old Dogs (BMT); Killing Season; Lucky Numbers; Domestic Disturbance; Be Cool (BMT); Perfect; Michael; Wild Hogs (BMT); Two of a Kind; I Am Wrath; White Man’s Burden; The Devil’s Rain; The Forger; The General’s Daughter; Mad City; Swordfish (BMT); The Punisher (BMT); From Paris with Love; Basic; Notes: See below for Razzie info; What more is there to say? We’ve seen him in six BMT movies, and he has a borderline case of Liottaitis more commonly known as you-look-like-you-are-wearing-a-mask-of-yourself disease. Tarantino resurrected his career with Pulp Fiction and this movie kind of took it all away. Although he has gotten steady work including in the O.J. Simpson show.)

Travolta Razzie Notes: Won the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Actor for Battlefield Earth, and Lucky Numbers; and for Worst Screen Couple for Battlefield Earth; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1990 and 2010 for Worst Actor of the Decade; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2010 for Worst Actor for Old Dogs; in 2002 for Domestic Disturbance, and Swordfish; in 1986 for Perfect; and in 1984 for Staying Alive, and Two of a Kind Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1992 for Worst Supporting Actor for Shout;

Nominated for the Razzie Award Forest Whitaker – (Known For: Arrival; Southpaw; Out of the Furnace; Dope; Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Platoon; The Butler; Panic Room; The Last Stand; Phone Booth; The Last King of Scotland; Where the Wild Things Are; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Great Debaters; The Crying Game; The Color of Money; Vision Quest; Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai; Mr. Holland’s Opus; Phenomenon; Stakeout; Bird; Ernest & Celestine; Body Snatchers; BMT: Battlefield Earth; First Daughter; Ready to Wear; Our Family Wedding; Species; Taken 3; A Dark Truth; Repentance; Consenting Adults; Repo Men; Blown Away; Even Money; Powder Blue; A Little Trip to Heaven; Vantage Point; Light It Up; American Gun; Street Kings; Bloodsport; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Supporting Actor for Battlefield Earth; He has a black belt in kenpo studying under a student of the late Bruce Lee. His noticeable eye condition is hereditary, and he’s considered having it corrected because it affects his vision. I wonder if it would affect his career. I would hope not.)

Barry Pepper – (Known For: Saving Private Ryan; True Grit; The Green Mile; The Scorch Trials; We Were Soldiers; Kill the Messenger; 25th Hour; Snitch; Enemy of the State; Flags of Our Fathers; The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada; Like Dandelion Dust; The Snow Walker; BMT: Battlefield Earth (BMT); Firestorm (BMT); Broken City; Knockaround Guys; Casino Jack; The Lone Ranger (BMT); Notes:  Won the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Supporting Actor for Battlefield Earth; No joke I would have guessed he was in something like six BMT films. The fact that he’s been in three is kind of shocking, his filmography is actually quite good. His early life is kind of crazy. He was born to a Canadian lumberjack and his entire family set sail in the South Pacific when he was a kid. Without entertainment the family would perform sketches and that’s how he became an actor … what?)

Budget/Gross – $73 million / Domestic: $21,471,685 (Worldwide: $29,725,663)

(Yep a complete disaster. In Going Clear I believe they mentioned the movie in some capacity, but $73 million for what was widely considered an unfilmable (and pretty terrible) Sci Fi novel starring Travolta. I mean on paper is seemed … we it seemed terrible. I don’t know what they were expecting really.)

#30 for the Controversy genre

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(I like that controversial films haven’t really been isolated to a particular time period. The list is pretty fun because it tells you why it is controversial. This one is controversial because of “Scientology”. The most recent one was the Interview. Again, cool list, boring plot.)

#76 for the Sci-Fi – Adventure genre

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(Arrived at a peak of this genre. At down below Babylon A.D. and right above smash hit Cocoon the Return. Yeesh. Now that is a sequel we could have done. That giant peak? Star Trek, Star Wars, The Martian, Jurassic World. Crazy huge right now, and with Star Wars possibly forevermore.)

#37 for the Sci-Fi – Alien Invasion genre

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(We watched 5th Wave and Independence Day Resurgence recently in this genre. Right down near The Darkest Hour, which is pretty dire. That nadir of cash per theater is hilarious in this context. Transformers and a few others represent that big peak, so not too surprising the grenre collapsed a bit more recently.)

#43 for the Sci-Fi – Based on Book genre

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(5th Wave and Deadly Friend was watched in the last year. This is down near the Iron Giant (oof, also a famous box office bomb). Hunger Game and Divergent mainly are the big peak, but that is definitely waning. It was fueled by YA novels, and those have dried up since a few of the series just went down the toilet. 5th Wave in particular exemplifies this failure.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (4/148): Ugly, campy, and poorly acted, Battlefield Earth is a stunningly misguided, aggressively bad sci-fi folly.

(sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet. IGN gave one of the good reviews. My highlight: “Let me start out by saying that I read the book long before the movie came out and I enjoyed it.” Oooof, I’m so sorry. Because I straight up could not get through that book. The only Top Critic reviews was from the San Francisco Chronicle with this nice insight: “Travolta, who is the producer as well as star, had wanted to make a movie of Hubbard’s book for at least 15 years. There was only one catch: His career was in the tank. But since “Pulp Fiction” jump-started his professional life in 1994 and he followed up with a string of hits, including “Get Shorty,” “Face/Off” and “The General’s Daughter,” he has the leverage to bring this movie off.” Yup, and it promptly put his career back in the tank. No joke, his only super profitable live-action role after this was Wild Hogs.)

Poster – Battlefield Sklog (C-)

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(I kind of like the color (for all its washed out blues), but man does that look cheap. And it is like a love story to Travolta with it basically being his giant face. The book’s cover:

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is kind of hilariously throw back, and I kind of wish something like that with Barry Pepper could have been produced. Would have been a good nod.)

Tagline(s) – Prepare For Battle (B)

(Kind of like it. It gives a good indication of the movie once combined with the poster. Aliens have or will invade. Earth is the battlefield. Prepare for the battle [you will watch]. It isn’t super great, short and nothing special. But not terrible.)

Keyword(s) – bad acting; Top Ten by BMeTric: 87.8 Battlefield Earth (2000); 78.7 Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966); 78.1 The Room (2003); 75.7 Dungeons & Dragons (2000); 75.6 Troll 2 (1990); 74.3 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959); 74.1 Prom Night (I) (2008); 57.9 Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964); 57.0 Hobgoblins (1988); 55.1 Spawn (1997);

(SPAWN. That is just a ridiculous movie to end up on this particular list. All the others are basically legends in their own rights, but Spawn? How odd. Maybe people revile Johnny Legs as the Clown even more than I remember? I feel like that is a movie we need to watch.)

Notes – Forest Whitaker expressed his regret for participating in this movie. (Well I will express my regret for watching this film … twice)

The film’s cinematographer has gone on record as saying that the overuse of colour filters and Dutch Angles wasn’t his idea, and that he was given the smallest lighting budget he had ever worked with. (ha! Duuuuuuutch angles. Right there, can’t wait already)

Barry Pepper said that had he known he was going to win Worst Supporting Actor at the Razzies, he would have shown up to accept his award in person. (He should have known. Maybe he thought Whitaker had it in the bag though?)

The investor, Intertainment, sued producer Franchise Pictures for fraud. Franchise claimed the budget was $75 million instead of the actual budget of $44 million. Franchise Pictures were sentenced to pay Intertainment $121.7 million in damages and went bankrupt. Intertainment only financed the film because it came as a package deal with The Art of War (2000) and The Whole Nine Yards (2000). (Wowzers, makes a bit of sense. Incredible story. I thought maybe Franchise was a Scientology thing, but naw. Legit action film company and they didn’t go bankrupt until maybe five years after Battlefield Earth came out too. A Sound of Thunder was a film that ended up having to be release with half complete CGI because Franchise went bankrupt. I won’t bore you with all of the BMT films they made, but the list is looooooong.)

The original plans called for a sequel to be produced, which would be based on second half of the novel by L. Ron Hubbard. These plans were scrapped due to the poor critical and public reaction to this film. (Second half?! This film is based on no more than 30% of the book. So that is bullshit. Although, then again, from about 30-50% the book is a complete waste of time)

John Travolta referred to this film as “like Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) but better” and “the Schindler’s List (1993) of science fiction films” during publicity. (ugh, was he on drugs?)

Listed among the Top Ten Best Bad Films ever made in “The Official Razzie Movie Guide”, by Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson. (Fair probably)

John Travolta initially offered the director’s seat to Quentin Tarantino, who declined. (Who didn’t return his call perhaps)

Awards – Won the Razzie Award for Worst Picture of the Decade

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor of the Decade (John Travolta)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst ‘Drama’ of Our First 25 Years

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (John Travolta)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (John Travolta)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Barry Pepper)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Kelly Preston)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Roger Christian)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Corey Mandell, J.D. Shapiro)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Forest Whitaker)

Independence Day: Resurgence Preview

Finally we come to the end of the first year of the Stallonian calendar. This year (like most years) will end on a transition from the final “2016 in film” cycle into the first cycle of 2017. For that cycle we have selected [drumroll]…[still drumrollling]… [still]… [still]… [finished drumrolling]… [jk! Still going]… [now I’m done]… [or am I?]… [I am] Squeakuels Please! This is just a fancy way of saying that we are going to get a shitload of bonus films under our belt in the new year. That’s because many of the horrendous sequels we will be viewing also have equally horrendous first entries that must be watched. Hooray! That can’t be said for the transition film, though, as we are viewing 2016’s Independence Day 2. The first one was a work of art of my childhood. Probably seen it a dozen times. As a result the sequel stands as a perfect transition as it will likely find its way on the Razzie ballot by virtue of its name recognition, but also has a good chance of entertaining me. Let’s go!

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) – BMeTric: 55.5

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(Ha! Definitely brigading at the start. I would assume that is a relatively new strategy from production houses to plant good reviews on blockbusters … or it has a passionate fanbase. One of the two. Who knows. Otherwise the only remarkable thing is that it is quite bad (50+) and very very quickly got there by just dive bombing below 6.0 almost immediately upon release.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  “Independence Day: Resurgence,” the sequel you probably didn’t want or need to the 1996 smash-hit blockbuster “Independence Day,” is all about the spectacle. And yes, all massive summer disaster pictures are like that—especially when they come from director Roland Emmerich, returning from the original “Independence Day.” Shock and awe are his bread and butter. But “Resurgence”—which, surprisingly, isn’t the title of a fourth “Divergent” movie—feels even more shiny and empty than most of these kinds of films.

(Sounds about right. That is the theme for the year actually and kind of a fitting end to the 2016 Bad Movie Season. Empty. The bad movies this year, besides Mechanic 2 which was banananananas, felt empty. A whole lot of nothing about nothing for no one. The good news: 2017 looks to be solid already with a chock full January and February schedule that promises a kick ass BMT Live! A boy can dream.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbduDRH2m2M

(I remember really disliking the marketing for this film. Thought it looked too Transformers-y. Everything looks fake and too futuristic. Like the first film was grounded in reality, a world you could imagine living in. This world is now too tied up in the events of the first film and alien technology.)

Directors – Roland Emmerich – (Known For: Independence Day; The Day After Tomorrow; The Patriot; Stargate; White House Down; Anonymous; BMT: 10,000 BC; Godzilla; Independence Day: Resurgence; 2012; Universal Soldier; Stonewall; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Director and Screenplay for Godzilla; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day. Also created a television show with Dean Devlin called the Visitor that only lasted a season. Maybe I should give it a viewing… for science.)

Writers – Nicolas Wright and James A. Woods (screenplay & story by) – (BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Notes: Writing partners and oddly both are much bigger actors than writers in the television world. They have been tapped for the Stargate reboot, which should be coming out sometime in the future.)

Dean Devlin (screenplay & story by & based on characters created by) – (Known For: Independence Day; Stargate; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Godzilla; Independence Day: Resurgence; Universal Soldier; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Screenplay for Godzilla; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day; Ha! He was an actor in Real Genius of all things. He’s also a producer and actor and the writer of the upcoming (hopefully) BMT smash hit Geostorm starring Gerard Butler. He is a major mover and shaker it would seem, producing all of the different iterations of the Librarian series)

Roland Emmerich (screenplay & story by & based on characters created by) – (Known For: Independence Day; The Day After Tomorrow; Stargate; BMT: 10,000 BC; Godzilla; Independence Day: Resurgence; 2012; Notes: See above for Razzie notes; Stargate put him on the map and with Independence Day 2 and the upcoming Stargate reboot it looks like he it returning to his roots. I vaguely enjoyed the ridiculousness of his films, but these types of action films tend to be rooted in a cynical irony these days that I don’t personally enjoy. Hopefully Emmerich keeps up the earnestness.)

James Vanderbilt (screenplay) – (Known For: The Amazing Spider-Man 2; The Amazing Spider-Man; Zodiac; White House Down; Truth; The Losers; The Rundown; BMT: Darkness Falls; Independence Day: Resurgence; Solace; Basic; Notes: It is kind of nuts how many different writers they got in on this screenplay. This guy is obviously huge for the Spider-man films, but has been consistently working since his debut with Darkness Falls. He is the writer for Meg, the giant shark movie starring Jason Statham coming out in 2018.)

Actors – Liam Hemsworth – (Known For: The Hunger Games; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1; The Dressmaker; Triangle; The Expendables 2; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; The Last Song; Paranoia; Knowing; Love and Honor; The Duel; Cut Bank; Notes: As far as his personal life is concerned he has been profoundly on-again-off-again with Miley Cyrus having been engaged twice now (they are currently engaged).)

Jeff Goldblum – (Known For: The Grand Budapest Hotel; Jurassic Park; Independence Day; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Annie Hall; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; The Right Stuff; The Fly; The Prince of Egypt; Silverado; Morning Glory; The Switch; Powder; The Big Chill; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension; Invasion of the Body Snatchers; Death Wish; The Player; Cats & Dogs; Earth Girls Are Easy; Nashville; Igby Goes Down; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Holy Man; Mortdecai; Nine Months; Transylvania 6-5000; Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie; Hideaway; Man of the Year; Zambezia; Vibes; Thank God It’s Friday; Mad Dog Time; Notes: More recent notes concerning the legend involve his long-term relationship with Wes Anderson which seems to be going strong. He will be in the director’s upcoming project Isle of Dogs.)

Bill Pullman – (Known For: Independence Day; The Equalizer; While You Were Sleeping; Spaceballs; Sleepless in Seattle; A League of Their Own; American Ultra; Lake Placid; Casper; Lost Highway; Singles; Brother Nature; The Killer Inside Me; Wyatt Earp; LBJ; Titan A.E.; Ruthless People; Bottle Shock; Malice; Zero Effect; The Last Seduction; Igby Goes Down; BMT: Scary Movie 4; Independence Day: Resurgence; Mr. Wrong; Lucky Numbers; Cymbeline; The Grudge; Lola Versus; The End of Violence; The Favor; 29 Palms; Sibling Rivalry; Bringing Up Bobby; Newsies; Notes: I will always love him for his starring turn in Spaceballs. He’ll next be seen in a western: The Ballad of Lefty Brown.)

Budget/Gross – $165 million / Domestic: $103,144,286 (Worldwide: $389,681,935)

(Close to a success although incredibly disappointing from the original’s high bar. Taking a pretty standard half and third cut for domestic and foreign grosses you are looking at 150 million or so. You might come back with marketing, but I would assume it made that much and more back in product placement and eventual home video profits. Again, modest success. Curious to see if they do go for a third trying to make it a bit better launching off of the base they created here.)

#17 for the Sci-Fi – Alien Invasion genre

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(See, District 9 and Pacific Rim are the tale of two expectations. District 9 was a giant success because of a modest budget, whereas Pacific Rim is now getting a sequel geared almost exclusively to Chinese audiences. This is much closer to Pacific Rim, with almost identical domestic and foreign takes. We’ve seen another this year (5th Wave) which did a lot worse, and we are definitely coming off of a boom time from about 5 years ago. We’ll see what takes over from there. Thinking about Zombie, Spaceship, Wasteland I do think we are probably trying to enter an alien boom again. Wasteland I think died with Divergent’s fall, and Zombie is still just dominated by Walking Dead and a bit tired. We’ll see.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (59/193): It’s undeniably visually impressive, but like its predecessor, Independence Day: Resurgence lacks enough emotional heft to support its end-of-the-world narrative stakes.

(This kind of encapsulates everything I’ve heard about the film. Most people I’ve talked to simply say,  “Was I entertained? Yeah.” So not sure how many people are looking for emotional heft in ID2.)

Poster – Independence Day: Sklogsurgence (B+)

independence_day_resurgence

(While this poster doesn’t do a good job in some of the ways that I prefer (font and color), it is a very pretty poster. So you have to give it that. It also is incredible well spaced, so makes up for some of the shortcomings.)

Tagline(s) – We had twenty years to prepare. So did they. (D+)

(Can give it props for hinting at the plot but not much else. Pretty clunky and not super clever.)

Keyword(s) – alien; Top Ten by BMeTric: 87.7 Battlefield Earth (2000); 86.3 Dragonball: Evolution (2009); 81.4 Alone in the Dark (2005); 78.9 Skyline (2010); 76.6 Spice World (1997); 75.8 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 74.3 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959); 73.8 Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007); 71.0 After Earth (2013); 67.2 Howard the Duck (1986);

(Well this list might convince me to watch Alone in the Dark finally. Great list, although …. Spice World prob doesn’t belong there. I vaguely remember an alien thing in it, but the keywords have to be tighter than that crap. But yeah, all above 65 and only one left? Aliens are clearly a recipe for hilarious BMT fun.)

Notes – Soon after the success of the first film, 20th Century Fox paid Dean Devlin a large sum of money to write a script for a sequel. However, after completing the script, Devlin didn’t turn in the script and instead gave the money back to the studio, as he felt the story didn’t live up to the first film. It was only approximately 15 years later, that Devlin met up with Roland Emmerich to try again, having felt that they had “cracked” a story for a sequel. (I feel like you hear this story for every sequel that comes out decades later. “We couldn’t figure it out at the time, but all of a sudden we had a story that was too good not to make… oh and $10 million dollars. That too.”)

Will Smith was supposed to reprise the role of Captain Steven Hiller, but Fox refused to meet his request for a $50 million salary for two sequels. Roland Emmerich confirmed Smith would not be returning for the sequel in June 2013 to Daily News, but mentioned that Jeff Goldblum would return to reprise his role as David Levinson. Smith later went on to star in Suicide Squad (2016). (A bit of a contentious issue. Will Smith claims it was not about the money, but that he was already committed to Suicide Squad.)

On the monument to The War of ’96 seen in Washington, D.C. towards the start of the film the name Russell Casse can be seen on a brick in the middle. Russell Casse was the name of Randy Quaid’s character who sacrificed himself to destroy the ship approaching Area 51 in Independence Day (1996). (That fact is fun)