[slider]Words Glenn Blomfield
‘Independence Day’ in the land of Oz (Australia that is ), with a Kiwi lad, or more precisely a Maori warrior ready to kick some Alien ass,take no prisoners and help save the day. Temuera Morrison, who made Jake The Muss, a famous character from ‘Once Were Warriors’ and has scored to play opposite Nicole Kidman in the new Aquaman film features highly. Occupation is set in a small Australian town, it is a big day in the outback, the local team is playing a home Aussie Rules game. The whole town turns up to watch, but bugger me, if it ain’t also the same time of an alien invasion. These extraterrestrial invaders are not here to join in on a game of Aussie Rules, plus the Ozzies aint to happy about it either. A home grown army fight back, Alien Occupation in my town, not going to happen mate.
Right from the get go the film starts with Ronald Reagan narration speech as we fly in with a wide shot of Sydney Australia, this film wants to be big, as in big American blockbuster sci fi action film. Playing against the big Hollywood boys the earnest filmmakers give it their all, punching above their weight. I commend them for that, but at the same time it can be detrimental to the involvement of the characters. With all its action scenes and explosions, flashy lights, and flying space ships, trying to make the film look epic in scope, I found,as the film progressed I was losing connection to the characters and their plight. Leaps and jumps in the timeline of the story, further created a disconnect. A jumbling effect occurred trying to catch up with what was happening, and trying to work out why I care about these characters.
Our leading man is Dan Ewing, from Australia TV’s Home and Away. Working his hunky best, as do the other leading characters. Actors working with a script that can at times be a bit clunky and heavy on melodrama to try and pull at the emotional heart strings. I found as the characters progressed the more wooden they became, and that is not the fault of the actors, it is more to do the script writing. As I said earlier in the review the OCCUPATION wants to be a big Sci Fi film, and at times does a good job, but it does not have the budget, the epic scope, and the budget constraints start to show.
To get to the point, there is some good stuff in here, you can have a good time, but it does plod along, and comes off heavy handed. Australian Sci Fi doing it best, and not a bad job either. I hear in the whispers there is an Occupation 2 in the pipeline. Well thats what Temuera Morrison said on the night of the screening. Gracing us with his presence, introducing the film and a Q&A session at the end. He talked of the filmmakers as young hungry auteurs wanting to do big things. The film was shot in only five weeks, which is surprising, with the amount of work on screen. OCCUPATION soon in NZ cinemas, give it a go, Ozzies doing Sci Fi, ‘Independence Day’ Blockbuster movie style, yeaaaa.