Maika Monroe

REVIEW: Tau (2018)

When Julia (Maika Monroe) wakes up in a house controlled by an Artificial Intelligence system called Tau (Gary Oldman), she must figure out what its creator (Ed Skrein) wants with her and find a way to escape.

Having 99% of the film set in one location, scientist Alex’s home, gives it a claustrophobic feel as Julia begins to converse with Tau and the two of them form an unlikely connection as they learn from one another. The lighting has an influence on each scene as when Alex is home, everything is in shades of blue but when he leaves, and Julia and Tau are alone, the lighting is in shades of red. It contrasts the differences between Alex and Julia, Alex is logical and strives for control, while Julia is quick-thinking and strives for freedom.

Both Monroe and Skrein are great in their roles and when the two of them are caught in almost a battle of wits, the tension is at its peak. Julia is a memorable “final girl” who combines grim determination with hopefulness and a caring side.

Tau is a creepy horror-sci-fi hybrid that offers another take on the man verses AI dilemma we’ve seen in countless films over the years. However, Tau doesn’t really offer anything new in terms of commentary on AI’s and how as they become smarter, people may abuse them. There’s parallels made between the trauma Julia faced at the hands of her parents and the restrictions Alex puts on Tau, but it lacks any real depth. Still, with its 90-minute runtime, Tau is an engaging small-scale sci-fi flick. 3/5.

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REVIEW: Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

independence_day_resurgenceTwenty years after the first Independence Day invasion attempt, Earth is faced with a new alien threat. Will mankind, including those who helped stop the first attack, be able to triumph this one?

Independence Day: Resurgence is the long-awaited sequel to 1996’s Independence Day and a lot of the original cast is back, as well as a lot of new characters. That in itself is a bit of a problem. Original characters like President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) and his daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe), go-to alien-expert David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and his father Julius (Judd Hirsch) all return and then you have new characters like pilots Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher) the son of Will Smith’s Captain Steven Hiller and Rain Lao (Angelababy) and then there’s scientist Catherine Marceaux (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and a lot of children – a school bus-full of them. The film struggles to give the runtime to all these characters, it tries to give them each an emotional moment or character arc but it doesn’t work a lot of the time.

Independence Day: Resurgence is also a bit slow to get going. It has to set up all the aforementioned characters and the type of world they’re in now that humanity has pulled together and has used the alien technology to improve their own. Plus, there’s this whole bit in Africa with David Levinson at the beginning that almost feels like it’s just a reason for him to be away from America when everything really kicks off.

That being said, the effects are pretty spectacular and the action-sequences are thrilling – though when there’s dogfights in the air it’s a bit difficult to keep track of which planes are the good guys since humans have combined human technology with alien tech. No one quite does worldwide destruction like Roland Emmerich!

Independence Day: Resurgence is mostly entertaining but doesn’t live up to the original. While it still has some humour, it doesn’t always hit the spot and I think the film misses the charm and charisma that Will Smith brought to the original. 3/5.