OCCUPATION: RAINFALL * Australia 2020 Dir: Luke Sparke. 128 mins
The battle for Earth and the anticipated enslavement of humans. Why in our species like privileged existence should we care? OCCUPATION: RAINFALL (2020) reeks of MAD MAX, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, PREDATOR, GI JOE and practically any militaristic science fiction film around. Weapons blast, vehicles drive fast, explosive CGI flybys and dog fights in the air; all interspersed with clichéd, ridiculous character moments that endeavor to humanize the cardboard walking round as people.
OCCUPATION: RAINFALL (2020) is visually unpleasant viewing from start to finish, with the same dark sets, battle-weary people, who all have their individual stories are trying to save the planet. It sports a generic musical score that swells in nobility and sentiment and turns deep and mysterious during the epic battle.
However, the battle is not a total loss. The opening moments feature a homage to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) with a rotating shot of people entering a ship to save mankind. During a prison break out (because you always have to have a prison break) we have Matt Simmons (Dan Ewing) trying to look like Mel Gibson throughout the picture. He meets some Alien children in the prison compound. He pauses, and in the one original moment of the picture, pulls out his weapon then lowers it, sparing them.
It is a shame when you have a story like this you tend to overlook creature design and all the work that goes into languages, culture, etc. because it’s obscured by a crap story. The hard work of stunt people, model makers, weapons people, vehicle and prop fabricators. The film does feature some interesting aliens with a chance for real performance in their faces and voices. In fact, the aliens have better personalities then the humans, which would all burst into flames if they went by the fires in the film. Wait. They are CGI flames anyway so they will have no effect.
If you just want to watch explosions, and armored vehicles driving round then this is a film for you. If you think the TRANSFORMERS series is deep, then this is your chance to suit up and save mankind. Somewhere in this footage is a good 90 minute picture that might work with some rewrites. It’s two hour plus length is just bum numbing.
OCCUPATION: RAINFALL (2020) has good production values and good intent, yet it is filled with the same material one has seen in countless films. I yearned for the ending of BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970). In that film there is a detonation, then a tasteful whiteout and a bland tone voiceover narration states: “In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe lies a medium-sized star, and one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead.” OCCUPATION: RAINFALL (2020) isn’t a popcorn film, it is K rations and a hard march in poor weather with a full pack.
Review by Terry Sherwood