Assessment: Occupation: Rainfall, written and directed by Luke Sparke
Traditionally, when a sequel to a movie was greenlit, you can relaxation assured this was as a result of the primary movie made a tidy revenue for its buyers. With the arrival of streaming providers like Netflix, that is now not essentially the case. And Occupation: Rainfall exhibits us this.
Occupation (2018) made barely something on the field workplace or by way of worldwide gross sales, and but turned a shock hit on Netflix within the US. Author-director Luke Sparke was in a position to leverage this success to fund this sequel.
Though it has a a lot greater funds, Occupation: Rainfall is marginally worse than its predecessor.
Occupation was in a position to profit from its dramatically compelling narrative of a bunch of survivors banding collectively to withstand an alien invasion, and the brand new movie takes off the place Occupation ended. It’s two years after the primary movie, and the struggle between “the resistance” and the “greys” (the aliens) rages on.
Its important narrative follows Matt Simmons (Dan Ewing) and alien Gary (Lawrence Makoare) as they journey from Sydney to Alice Springs to seek out out about “Rainfall,” an alien tremendous weapon despatched to Earth eons earlier. On the way in which, they decide up Peter Bartlett (Temuera Morrison) who presides over a rural group established within the first movie.
In the meantime, Wing Commander Hayes (Daniel Gillies) oversees an enormous underground resistance compound, performing secret evil experiments on captured aliens as a way to develop a weapon that can win the struggle.
Virtuous Amelia Chambers (Jet Tranter) takes up her personal struggle in opposition to Hayes, and the epic existential struggle between aliens and people is mirrored in these inside tensions throughout the resistance.
The entire thing is bookended by two drawn out, noisy battle sequences between the people and aliens.
For those who haven’t seen the primary movie, all of it appears pretty shrill and incomprehensible.
A failure of spectacle
There are unbelievable alien invasion movies that profit from the conflicts between totally different species, and, on this, say one thing attention-grabbing and unique about life on Earth.
John Carpenter’s cult hit They Stay (1988) brilliantly critiques American class inequality by way of its exploration of invasion, and The Day the Earth Stood Nonetheless (1951) says extra concerning the atomic age in the beginning of the Chilly Battle than nearly every other movie of the interval.
Then there are the extra tedious selection: epic struggle movies wherein the antagonists occur to look bizarre and speak in a bizarre means. These could be successfully executed, as in Starship Troopers (1997), however Occupation: Rainfall simply doesn’t have the funds to fulfil its premise.
And with out a adequate funds, this type of epic cinematic spectacle inevitably fails.
A funds of A$25 million makes it, by Australian requirements, a really effectively resourced movie (Occupation was made for A$6 million). However Occupation: Rainfall tries to emulate its a lot bigger-budgeted brethren like Avatar (2009), made for US$237 million, relatively than making its personal mark. And it will at all times be a shedding recreation in relation to economies of scale.
The visible results right here could have been satisfactory 25 years in the past (and take a look at concerning the degree of the Australian TV present Spellbinder (1995-97) in locations), however are laughably dangerous by modern requirements.
The spaceships attacking Sydney within the opening battle sequence appear to be they’ve been rendered utilizing Paint 3D, and we will by no means droop our disbelief when wanting on the alien companion animals accompanying Matt and Gary on their journey.
For some initiatives this wouldn’t matter, however constructing a convincing and immersive world is totally important for this type of fantasy narrative.
Occupation: Rainfall simply doesn’t use its funds creatively or successfully – in contrast to, for instance, Leigh Whannell’s excellent Australian science-fiction movie Improve (2018), with a funds of lower than a 3rd of Occupation: Rainfall.
Mild and darkish
The narrative is unclear and underdrawn. The relationships between the people and the aliens is rarely clearly delineated. There are not any clear again tales to the characters which may anchor viewers to the world (in contrast to a movie like Alien Nation (1988), which treads comparable territory).
It’s not all dangerous. Elements of the design are good – there’s an interesting colourfully kitsch high quality to the lighting – and the primary narrative construction of a pair of mismatched buddies travelling throughout nation dealing with quite a few hazards will at all times be a winner.
The look of the greys is appealingly bodgie – their costumes and laser weapons appear to be objects your mum might need made you for e book week within the Eighties – and Dan Gillies and Temuera Morrison give strikingly assured performances.
However the energy of those actors backfires when it comes to the movie as an entire, as we develop into aware of the Dwelling and Away-ish performing of a lot of the supporting forged. This was a large enough movie to throw Ken Jeong in on the finish as soon as they attain Pine Hole, however even his comedian reduction appears lame, doing little to enhance the movie.
The larger-than-usual funds for an Australian movie additionally performs in opposition to Occupation: Rainfall: it makes one painfully conscious of the waste. Think about what number of higher movies may have been made with this cash!
It’s nice to see a honest style movie popping out of Australia. However Occupation: Rainfall turns into tedious fairly rapidly. Given its colonial historical past, it could appear Australia is primed for a considerate, well-made movie about alien invasion. This isn’t it.
Occupation: Rainfall is in Australian cinemas now
Ari Mattes doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that may profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.