Independence Day: Resurgence… just a regurgitation of Independence Day?
Independence Day: Resurgence is the result of a long 20-year wait for a sequel to the wildly popular Independence Day. The original is a classic and is watched by millions in the United States every July, but how does Independence Day: Resurgence stand up against the original?
Independence Day: Resurgence tells the story of Earth and how we have taken the alien technology from 1996 and used it to help further our scientific endeavors, advance our technologies, and better defend ourselves against alien attack. Of course the aliens have returned to attack Earth, much bigger and stronger than last time. We have some of the same old faces back to help save the world, along with some fresh faced 20-somethings. Liam Hemsworth plays Jake Morrison, a lieutenant stationed on the moon with his friend Charlie Miller (Travis Tope). They are welcoming the Legacy Squad to the moon, which includes Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher) and Rain Lao (Angelababy). Dylan and Jake have a sordid past and hold grudges against each other for an incident where Jake almost got Dylan killed.
Meanwhile, David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) is back and exploring different activity of the alien artifacts left on Earth following the first invasion. He meets up with Catherine Marceaux (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who is also studying the effects of the alien invasion. They come in contact with the warlord, Dikembe Umbutu (Deobia Oparei) who joins their group. Another space ship is making its way toward the moon and the President Lanford (Sela Ward) decides that they must shoot it down. David tries to convince them that it is not the same aliens, but they don’t listen. Shortly after, an alien ship, much bigger than the original one from 1996 comes and settles over the Atlantic, destroying much of the surrounding land. We learn that President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) has gone slightly crazy and feels the need to help save Earth from the invasion. He must protect his daughter, Patty (Maika Monroe), assistant to President Lanford and Jake’s girlfriend.
Independence Day: Resurgence has many issues, but the first of which is too many characters and too many plot points. Even attempting to write the plot description for this review was difficult and annoying to try to introduce all the important players. There are too many characters introduced that aren’t developed enough for the audience to care about what happens to them. I think the worst performance by far has to be Rain Lao (Angelababy). Her emotions are fake and facial expressions are weird and don’t match the tone she’s trying to convey. It also doesn’t help that her character is completely and totally pointless. She doesn’t really need to be there and doesn’t serve any purpose in the plot. The other new characters weren’t so bad. We have the comic relief from Charlie, which helps lighten the mood, but again, not a necessary character.
The storyline is over bloated and has too much going on. This is a big problem because again, we don’t have time to appreciate and care for the plots and storylines. Some characters die in the film and it is so anticlimactic, that it just flashes by and you don’t even have time for an emotional reaction.
The film attempts to rekindle the emotions and relationships that made the first film so strong, but fail to give enough time to each. It is almost as if they tried to copy the same formula and recast it in some ways. They even use some of the same imagery and scenes that were so famous in the first, but are so lackluster in this one. There is a point in the film where it looks like they said to themselves “hmm, we need the kid factor. How can we do that? Oh let’s put a bunch of kids in a car and then in a bus.” It seemed very after the fact and random.
Perhaps my favorite character is the scientist, Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner). He is just as funny and whacky as the first film and adds to the level of nostalgia that the filmmakers were looking to rekindle. It was nice to see some of the same actors back, but many of them didn’t have a big enough role, with the exception of Jeff Goldblum. Bill Pullman was a delight to see back on the screen and I really enjoyed him, but again, he didn’t have the same appeal as the first time. He even does a speech in this film, but it is nowhere near the impact of the infamous speech from the original. Some of the other characters we see return are Julius Levinson (Judd Hirsch) and Jasmine Hiller (Vivica A. Fox), but again they don’t have huge roles in the film and seem as though they were just thrown in for the nostalgia factor.
The film isn’t a total failure. The problem with releasing a sequel so long after the beloved original is that people have extremely high expectations for it. It is still incredibly intriguing and suspenseful with some great action scenes. The aliens have become much more realistic and creepy looking, and the technology has advanced to give us an even richer view of the world and space ships. The special effects are really well done and have really stepped up in the film. The cinematography is beautifully shot, and has some really incredible wide shots of the alien ships and the landscapes. The film does a wonderful job of setting itself up for a sequel. I honestly think the sequel would be a better film than this one. I hope that Independence Day: Resurgence makes enough money that they get to make that third installment and give us a really kick ass film, with more memorable moments and better character development.
Rating 6.5 / 10