Independence Day was a surprisingly enjoyable summer blockbuster and rapidly became the highest grossing film of 1996 taking over $817.4m worldwide. It achieved critical acclaim and was in the vanguard of the return of mass-disaster movies in the mid-to-late 90s.
Since then, we have been subjected to a barrage of apocalyptic, large-scale disaster movies, to the point that it has become the staple of every Transformers and comic based movie. In fact, it has become such as staple of Hollywood films nowadays that I was slightly surprised that the makers even wanted to make a sequel.
But they did and even managed to reunite many of the original cast, with the exception of Will Smith who opted for the Suicide Squad instead. But in opting for that over Independence Day Resurgence, did he make another Matrix/Wild Wild West mistake?
Unsurprisingly, the plot revolves around aliens and global destruction…here’s the official synopsis and trailer:
We always knew they were coming back. After INDEPENDENCE DAY redefined the event movie genre, the next epic chapter delivers global spectacle on an unimaginable scale. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.
While Independence Day Resurgence is not a terrible movie, it certainly isn’t a good one. It might have brought many actors and characters of the original back, but is has not been able to replicate its charm, bravado and tension.
The storyline neatly follows events in the film in real-time, which are taking place twenty years one since we last visited the world of Independence Day. But, unlike the original film, which had some genuinely interesting characters, Resurgence does not.
Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman both put in decent performances, as does Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Brent Spiner is once again excellent as Dr Brakish Okun. But they are given very little to work with from a relatively bland script and fairly weak, formulaic plot. The additions of the cast offer nothing, and only go to emphasis what a loss Will Smith is to the franchise.
Liam Hemsworth tries valiantly to take up the mantle of the brash, skilled pilot with a penchant for bravado; he lacks sufficient charisma to pull it off. But the other new additions of Jesse T. Usher and Maika Monroe are utterly woeful, bringing absolutely nothing to the film whatsoever. Despite the apparent long-standing relationship between the three, there is absolutely no chemistry, no emotion, no connection between them. Instead their scenes leave a bland emotionless vacuum on screen that more competent actors have to fill.
The effects are decent enough but do little beyond the fairly generic stylings of many a recent Hollywood blockbuster. The aliens are essentially the same as in the original, which was actually a pleasant surprise, but as ever, the filmmakers tried to make things bigger and louder and the film suffers as a result.
The underlying sense of comradery with a slight hint of whimsy in the original has disappeared altogether to be replaced by an attempt to ramp everything up to nonsensical proportions in the mayhem and destruction scale. The humour is more overt and less charming because of it and some of the key plot developments seem random, ensuring the payoff is totally unearned.
While there are some decent performances – and it was particularly nice to see Brent Spiner again – Independence Day Resurgence lacks the heart and soul of the original. The effects are decent without ever being spectacular or memorable, and the story fails to inspire.
It certainly isn’t the worst film released in cinemas this year, but if you are thinking of watching it, do yourself a favour and just watch the original Independence Day instead – it’s a lot more enjoyable!
Source: Independence Day