Wednesday 22 June 2016

The Next Generation takes on the Aliens in Independence Day: Resurgence

by contributing writer Michelle Chee

When the first Independence Day movie came out in 1996, it drew crowds upon crowds to the cinemas, not just because of the stellar cast that included Will Smith and Bill Pullman, but also because of its feel-good, can-do spirit of global unity. Yup, ID4 reflected those were the good old days when all films ended on a high note and the President gives an inspirational “We’ve made it” type of speech.

Twenty years on and the bigwigs in Hollywood have finally decided that the epic sci-fi deserves a sequel and have given us Independence Day : Resurgence. This time, it appears that instead of just American landmarks that are blown up spectacularly , the destruction of key landmarks around the world will take place too (in the movie, that is). This includes the Big Ben in London and Malaysia’s very own Petronas Twin Towers, KLCC. Yes, very trademark of returning Director Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, Godzilla 1998).

In a nostalgic turn of events, many of the original characters return for this movie, including Jeff Goldblum  as David Levinson, the tech expert and Bill Pullman as  Thomas Whitmore, ex-president of the United States. Will Smith was supposed to return too as fighter pilot Steven Hiller, but at the last minute, production executives announced that they couldn’t get him on board as he had become too expensive to include on their payroll. Apparently, there were some scheduling conflicts with his other filming projects as well (Suicide Squad?). This is a real pity, since fans of the original movie would have been looking forward to his presence.

Jeff Goldblum returns as David Levinson, Director of Earth Space Defense.

Unfortunately Agent Smith won't be punching aliens this time round.

Interestingly enough, Will Smith’s absence in the film is explained by the fact that he died testing a prototype hybrid fighter about 11 years after the invasion. We do however, get to see the grown up version of his step son, Dylan, who is now part of the fighter pilot team trained to fight the aliens together with the daughter of ex-President Whitmore, Patricia.

War hero Colonel Steven Hiller's kid has now grown up to fight aliens like his father.
Dylan Hiller is played by Jessie T. Usher (not the kid actor in ID4).

The President's daughter in 1996, Patricia Whitmore (Maika Monroe) now follows after her fight-pilot father.
This brings us to what we know about the current movie so far. It appears that the aliens have returned bigger and better than before, but the earthlings are equally prepared as they have harnessed some of the alien technology from the previous attack and have now trained a whole Next Generation of pilots and defense personnel called  the Earth Space Defense  or ESD. 

Eye candy for the ladies is hotshot pilot Jake Morrison played by Liam Hemsworth.
One of the key faces that have joined the cast is Liam Hemsworth , best known for his role as Gale Hawthorne in the Hunger games, and being the younger brother of the equally steamy Chris Hemsworth ( a.k.a Thor, for all you Marvel fans out there). He plays Jake Morrison, the best pilot ESD has and a man who harbors a sense of vengeance as both his parents were killed during the first invasion.

Some of the things we note is that Pullman and Jeff Goldblum are allowed to age gracefully here, while allowing some of the younger cast members to carry major parts of the plotline.  To see what has been happening in the 20 years since the first war, this faux news report will cover everything:

Other members of the cast  for this new film include William Fichtner, Judd Hirsch, Sela Ward, Charlotte Gainsbourgh and Angelababy who plays Rain Lao, a pilot representing China.  Vivica A. Fox returns as the mother of Dylan Hiller and the widow of Hiller senior.

The one thing to look out for this time is the appearance of the alien Queen, which from the brief shots of her in the trailers, promises to be a large and formidable foe for our heroes.

All hail the Queen!
For those of you fans out there looking for the best promos and deals relating this new Independence Day movie, look no further as the Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T.) has banded together and have compiled the following recon report:

At a series of locations, Golden Screen Cinemas will be holding interactive activities and contests for fans to win various limited edition prizes, and the event is called Earth Invasion! Independence Day Resurgence movie premiums are up for grabs as well as a Huawei smartphone everyday. Join the invasion in Kedah and Penang this weekend.

Did you missed the fun we had for GSC's Independence Day Invasion last week? Watch this video and join us this weekend!! 18 June (Satuday) • GSC Dataran Pahlawan, Melaka 2PM • GSC Palm Mall, Negeri Sembilan 8PM 19 June (Sunday) • GSC Sunway Carnival, Penang 2PM • GSC Ipoh Parade, Perak 8PM See you guys there!! For more info:
Posted by Golden Screen Cinemas on Thursday, 16 June 2016

Additionally, everyone that purchases a GSC Combo 3 or Signature Large Combo 1 of popcorn and drinks will get a complimentary mini moon tug.

Pop culture licensee Funko have released a line of figurines that include characters like David Levinson and Alien fighters from the original ID4 and the new Independence Day Resurgence.

Some blogs have reported that there are other toys like blasters and both alien and ESD jets  but we no not yet whether these will be brought into Malaysia.

Independence Day : Resurgence hits cinemas on June 23rd and you wouldn’t want to miss out this epic sequel to science fiction phenomenon which marked your younger days. A bit of nostalgia, mixed in with space drama.

Disclaimer: Independence Day and other trademarks are copyright to 20th Century Fox, referenced here for fan service announcements without intent to infringe.

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Warcraft The Movie Casts Its Magic on Viewers with Spectacular Special Effects

Gamers who have been fans of the World of Warcraft MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) for more than a decade will definitely be waiting with bated breath for the sweeping epic of a movie that is based on this well established game. Generations of Warcraft fans will be feted tomorrow when the movie is released on June 9th in Malaysia.  The movie looks extremely impressive from the outset as it combines high definition 3D CGI effects with live action acting.
The two main protagonists, Sir Anduin Lothar and Durotan.

Sensual Garona Halforcen, the half orc, half human facing a great dilemma.
Warcraft: The Beginning is directed by Duncan Jones, who interestingly, is the son of the late British singer David Bowie. This is his first high budget CGI film as his previous credits include smaller scale movies like Moon and Source Code. The movie is a partnership between Legendary Pictures and Blizzard Entertainment, the game producers. In order to get a sense of how the plotline plays out, here’s the cinematic trailer:
This first Warcraft movie takes place in Azeroth and chronicles the first contact between Orcs and Humans. Not many of the other races in the Warcraft Universe are given much emphasis, as the focus here is on the battle between the two main races. The story begins with Gul’dan, a powerful Orc who is attempting to unite all the orcish clans together as their home world, Draenor is dying. He uses a special magic called ‘Fel’ to create a portal to send hordes of orcs to other lands to conquer it. However, in order to keep the portal open, lives must be sacrificed, and thus begins the Orcs’ destructive campaign.

Lothar swoops down on his Gryphon during an epic battle scene.
However, in the midst of this chaos, Durotan, chief of the orcish clan of Frostwolf has different ideas from the rest of his kind and wants to pursue cooperation with humans. He therefore forms an alliance with Sir Anduin Lothar, military commander of Azeroth and King Llane. In the midst of this the party teams up with Garona, a half orc, half human being who is struggling to decide where her loyalties lie, as well as Medivh, the fabled Guardian who will help them with understanding the Fel’s power and limitations. Together, their choices will determine the future of their race, and the future of the world as they know it.
If the trailers are anything to go by, we can expect well done action and fight scenes with extremely good visual effects. The cast here include Travis Fimmel as Sir Anduin Lothar. You may remember him if you’re a history fan and watch Vikings on the History channel as he plays the main protagonist. Paula Patton, Ben Foster and Dominic Cooper form the rest of the live action cast while Toby Cooper provides the voice of Durotan and Daniel Wu as Gul’dan the antagonist Orc leader. 
Sinister Gul’dan, leader of the Orcs, is voiced and motion-captured by Daniel Wu.
Director Duncan Jones did mention in an interview with Reuters that he drew inspiration from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. You can read more of the interview here to learn more about the behind the scenes work. Learn how ILM crafted the CGI of the movie in painstaking detail in this video:

Some of the dwarfs in the movie. Don’t they look familiar, perhaps from a movie about a very powerful Ring?
It’s really amazing the amount of work and intense concentration that goes into crafting a single scene in this movie. Check out the movie Premiere in Hollywood earlier this week:

The black carpet was buzzing with excitement last night at the #WarcraftMovie premiere. Check it out!
Posted by Warcraft on Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Malaysian movie Premiere was held on Wednesday 8 June 2016 at various locations. At the GSC 1 Utama Premiere, cosplayers were sighted of Garona and apprentice wizard Khadgar. Plus a number of guests had fun wielding Doomhammer.

Cosplay for Garona (left) and Khadgar.
How many people does it take to lift Doomhammer?
Photo credit: Golden Screen Cinemas Facebook Page.
Our Outpost Expeditions missions to San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) and New York Comic Con (NYCC) last year offered us up-close intel on the awesome costumes and props developed for the movie by the master artists at Weta Workshop.

First reveal of Orgrim Doomhammer at SDCC 2015.

Spectacular armour of King Llane by the Weta masters.

Humans of Azeroth are well dressed for battle.

Like our Outpost Productions Page and check out more photos from the comic cons on our Facebook album. Meanwhile, this featurette of the War Room offers an excellent perspective of the superb work by Weta Workshop:

Find more movie featurettes and character backgrounds at the official Legendary Pictures YouTube Channel and follow the latest updates on Warcraft movie on Facebook.

On the Malaysian homefront, the Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T.) has scouted through the "fog-of-war" to identify various promos and offers available on our shores:
Golden Screen Cinemas is offering a Warcraft E-Combo set at RM150 comprising limited edition Warcraft T-shirts representing the Horde and The Alliance, a Warcraft Edition vanity poster set, game codes, Dolby Atmos vouchers, a large popcorn and 2 regular soft drinks. Be sure to grab your sets quickly as there are only a limited number available at selected cinema locations.
In addition, beginning 9 June together with the movie release, each ticket purchase at GSC will receive a free World of Warcraft game code used to play the MMORPG online. In case you've been hiding under a rock, here's an introductory video of what is World of Warcraft (WoW):
Watch the movie then use your Game Code to play the game. FTW!
Yet there's even more for Warcraft fans at GSC with the opportunity to wield the Doomhammer of the Horde on roadshow! Taking place at selected cinemas, pose with replicas of Doomhammer and/or Lothar's sword for the chance to win movie passes courtesy of Lenovo Malaysia and GSC.

Are you mighty enough to wield the life-sized Doomhammer? Come to GSC 1U this weekend to find out.
2-handed Hammer +5 with Sword -1 (because missing some edges).

Over at TGV Cinemas, join their MovieClub and get a limited edition Warcraft member card, available for a limited time only. If you sign up now online, you can collect your card immediately at the nearest TGV branch near you.
Similarly, MBO Cinemas is also a special Warcraft design Allstar member card. Just sign up as member today and get it any MBO outlet.

Finally mm Cineplexes (formerly Cathay) is giving away Warcraft movie premiums on their Facebook contest. There are tshirts, sling back, cap and more.

Similarly, Premium-X Cinemas are offering movie premiums to their customers showing proof of purchase. Although the actual premiums are not stated, one probably stands a better chance to scoring the giveaways since competition by other customers are limited to just their 1 outlet in OneCity, USJ.

Interestingly Lazada is having a simple Facebook contest to celebrate the film by giving out Warcraft merchandise. Enter by sharing your love of Warcraft by 10 June and hope to be one of 3 winners selected with the most creative answers. Again, actual prizes are not indicated other than items shown in the visual. But if you're up to send some hard earned $$$, Lazada does offer a number of Warcraft movie products like thematic power banks and phone docks.

Lenovo Malaysia as official sponsor for Warcraft is throwing in a Steam voucher, mouse and exclusive Warcraft tshirt with purchase of PC notebooks. Find out more details at the official website.

Jakks Pacific is the official toy manufacturer for the Warcraft movie and actually available here in Malaysia! Sighted at the local Toys R Us and may also be available at major departmental stores. The staple 6in scale action figures are priced at RM199.90 (gulp!) comprising Durotan, Blackhand, Lothar and Medivh, whilst an 18-in giant Durotan is priced at RM399.90. There's also role-play foam weapons of Doomhammer and others although these are undersized as cosplay props. Various World of Warcraft Mega-Bloks construction toys are still available but not associated with the movie.

For a wider assortment of Warcraft movie products. check out the official Blizzard online store for merchandise related to the movie, including cute plushies, lounge pants, posters and even a Mahjong set! The Funko Pop! figurines of the main movie characters are sure to be a hit and likely available soon at our local retailers.
A Warcraft Mahjong Set so you can get the elders involved in your hobby!
For those who literally like to take home a piece of the movie, Weta Workshop offers true sized replicas of 3 Alliance swords and a number of other collectibles including scaled models of Human armour and Orc weapons.

Lothar's 1:1 scaled sword! Do check with local Kastams before ordering replica weapons.
1:6 scale Axe of Duratan for USD49.
If you've decided to experience Warcraft but not in a rush to be first in line, try scoring some free movie tickets using the webe850 app to scan QR codes at selected TGV Cinemas. Their Warcraft Day screening will be taking place on 18 June. Find out more details at the webe website.
Warcraft: The Beginning unleashes tomorrow on 9 June at Malaysian cinemas nationwide. See heroes rise and villains crumble in an epic fantasy cinematic experience see this season. 

Disclaimer: Warcraft and other trademarks are copyright to Blizzard Entertainment and/or Legendary Pictures, and their respective owners, referenced here for fan service announcements only without intent to infringe.