Written and directed by Luke Sparke, two years after aliens land on Earth, survivors from Sydney, Australia, fight in a desperate war as the number of casualties continue to grow. Starring: Dan Ewing, Temuera Morrison, Daniel Gillies, Lawrence Makoare, Zac Garred, Jet Tranter, Mark Coles Smith, Trystan Go and Ken Jeong.
As Occupation Rainfall opens, it feels like it’s hitting the note that many fail upon, being aware of its B-Movie nature, but sadly that’s short-lived. What then follows is pretty much your usual canon fodder sci-fi. Visually it relies too heavily on its special effects, they start out fine but as they appear more and more, you can easily see the ways in which they fall short. It’s a classic issue of films like this, spending so much time and money trying to build these battle sequences, that very little is spent upon the actual characters and story. The costuming and make-up work is better, it may still feel slightly like an extra long episode of Doctor Who particularly with the design of the aliens but there’s nothing wrong with that, it just doesn’t have the corresponding charm to bring to the table.
Its biggest problem is unquestionably its progression and plot, or lack there of. It’s a convoluted mess hiding over-simplicity, some are fighting just to win and some are fighting to bring peace and they’re at odds with each other. It takes so long to illustrate that point that you’ve given up keeping track by the time it gets to the end, it’s not at all sustainable for a two hour runtime. Not least the fact that it’s setting up for a sequel which makes it even more frustrating. Also, it’s entirely missing out on creating characters that you’d want to return to a sequel for. It attempts to create a heroine in Amelia (Tranter) but she appears too little, and Temuera Morrison appears even less than he does in the last couple episodes of The Book of Boba Fett. The only potential character with any tangible personality worth investing in is Garry the alien (Lawrence Makoare), with his refusal to stop helping the humans despite their repeatedly insulting behaviour and a loving family awaiting his return.
The ensemble can’t really improve the situation when they’re given little to work with. Although thankfully even they can’t dampen the brightness or Ken Jeong’s presence, but he doesn’t spend enough time on screen to have a larger impact. The dialogue is boilerplate and there’s little connection between the different characters, even those in a relationship have to keep asking the other to identify themselves over the radio. Several of the characters even feel completely interchangeable and its attempt to build up a last minute villain is frustratingly predictable.
Occupation Rainfall is heavy on the effects, lacking on the plot and missing out on almost any individuality or charisma. It’s trying to do so much while its story is doing very little, leading its audience to have nothing to get drawn into. It would be more palatable if it cut down its focus to the key characters and took the time to give them more defined personalities and a relatable or sympathetic quality. As it stands, it only seems interested in creating battle sequences which aren’t even close to enough to fill out a feature.