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This Week's Reviews: Free State of Jones and Independence Day: Resurgence

I saw two very different movies:  Free State of Jones and Independence Day: Resurgence.  I was impressed with both.

I confess that I did not know about  the group in southeast Mississippi who fought against the rebellious Confederacy, held the Confederate army at bay from 1862 to 1865, and then resisted the Klan and other horrors of the Reconstruction era until 1876.  I need to do some reading before I can vouch for the accuracy of the entire story, but the story seems plausible.

The movie is exceptionally violent; the first battle scene reminded me of the D-Day sequence in Saving Private Ryan while much of the plot reminded me of the 1965 movie Shenandoah.  There is a barbeque scene that may convert some viewers to vegetarianism. The film is much too long and the pace  is erratic; I suspect that there were budgetary limitations that forced the producers to omit several major events.  There are some scenes from the 1950s involving one of the hero’s descendants; they turn out to be useful, but they are annoying at first.    The cast is good.

We have waited twenty years for the sequel to Independence Day; the sequel is not quite as good as the original, but it is a nice diversion on a hot summer day.  Except for Will Smith, most of the original cast is back (with the obvious absence of Randy Quaid.)  Characters who were children in the first film are now adults.

The special effects are very good, particularly in 3-D.  The plot is simple:  the aliens who were trounced in 1996 are very, very irritated and have sent a new armada against the upstart Earthlings.  In the initial attack, much of London is destroyed.  Is that a prophecy of the recent Brexit referendum? The film ends with a confrontation with the “queen” of the aliens (she does resemble the creatures from the Alien films a bit too much) and a hint that a third movie might be in the works.  I hope they don’t take twenty years to release that one, since I don’t plan to be around in 2036.   I do plan to see this one again.