Australian sci-fi adventure has language, violence, peril.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Occupation is an Australian sci-fi disaster movie with largely non-graphic violence throughout and some strong language. When the lives of a group of inhabitants in a small, rural town are placed under threat by an alien invasion, they must set aside their differences and work together in order to survive. The circumstances the characters find themselves in brings out the best in them, meaning there are a number of positive roles models. These include aging local sporting hero Matt (Dan Ewing) and devoted but temperamental family man Peter (Temuera Morrison). While Amelia (Stephany Jacobsen) and Vanessa (Rhiannon Fish) feature heavily as the voices of reason, overriding the mindless macho tendencies of others. The main cast frequently fight for survival using guns and striking weapons. Some bloody injury and death is shown. But it never feels too realistic -- the aliens' blood is black rather than red, for example. During a light-hearted conversation, a humorous, but graphic, reference to intercourse is made. There is also some kissing and a couple start to remove their clothes with sex implied. Characters discuss smoking cigarettes, and a character takes painkillers and antidepressants. Matt is also shown drinking during the day while working.
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What's the Story?
In OCCUPATION, a small town in Australia is invaded by aliens, meaning its inhabitants must put their differences aside and band together to fight for survival.
Is It Any Good?
While deserving of praise for the scope of its ambition, this Australian alien invasion action-adventure suffers from not knowing what kind of plucky low-budget, high-concept movie it wants to be. After an intriguing set up, Occupation quickly leans on cliched character types and storylines that an original setting still can't make interesting.
During the slog of its middle hour, the aliens who are doing the invading are treated as an intermittent concern, playing a secondary role to characters arguing among themselves about how best to manage their off-the-grid situation. With the human characters no longer in great mortal danger, any jeopardy the movie created is lost. Things crank back up about 40 minutes from the end. But by that point, many of the interpersonal storylines remain underdeveloped, so we're not as invested in the characters as we might be. Still, co-writer and director Luke Sparke's obvious love of '80s and '90s blockbusters gives Occupation a likable quality for sci-fi and action fans in search of some novelty value.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the strong language in Occupation. Did it seem necessary or excessive? What did it contribute to the movie?
Discuss the violence in the movie. Was it necessary to the story? What other ways can filmmakers create excitement?
How do the characters demonstrate teamwork? Why is that an important character strength? What would you do if there was an alien invasion?
Did the movie remind you of any other movies? How did this compare? What's the appeal of sci-fi movies?
Discuss the special effects used in the movie. How were they different to big-budget blockbusters you may have seen? Did you find them scary? Were they effective?
- In theaters: July 20, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: September 25, 2018
- Cast: Dan Ewing, Temuera Morrison, Stephany Jacobsen
- Director: Luke Sparke
- Studio: Saban Films
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Space and Aliens
- Run time: 119 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some language
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
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