Independence Day: Resurgence full movie review - Unnecessary
Independence Day was a quintessentially 90s movies, a big event back in 1996 and a special effects showcase that still hold up today.
It is still enjoyed today, even if most people are wearing their nostalgia goggles and it did not require a sequel. However Hollywood doesn't let issues like that stop them if there's an opportunity to make money.
It is 20 years since the nations of Earth united and repelled an alien invasion that devastated the world. Since that time Earth has rebuild using alien technology and form the Earth Space Defense force whose mission is to stop any future alien invasion. As Earth is about to remember the 20th anniversary of the attack people who have had contact with the aliens start to have visions that the aliens are going to come back and low-and-behold they do with even more force. Old heroes and new have to find a way to find a way to save humanity for a second time.
The original Independence Day was a big hit partly because it extraordinary feat of special effects, combining state-of-the-art CGI for the alien space ships and aerial battles and good old-fashioned model work, getting the best of both. It was big budget B-Movie, both a disaster movie and an alien invasion flick. It was a huge scale movie with a big cast and was served with a big slice of American cheese (even though it was directed by a German). It was a silly film but it was made with heart. The same cannot be said about its sequel.
While the original blended various special effects techniques Independence Day: Resurgence was a CGI heavy blockbuster in a weak summer of blockbusters. The CGI was excellent for the most part but it does not replace the magic of the models and at times weightless because it was just created in a computer allowing for ridiculous sights like cities falling on top of other cities. It's hard to recapture the awe of the first movie destruction and "Resurgence" certainly unable to match that quality. "Resurgence" effects were more like Roland Emmerich's previous disaster film 2012.
The original film was set in a recognisable world, it was mid-90s America. The sequel may as well be Star Trek because of all the alien-tech. All of Earth's cities had to be rebuild and given a futuristic twist, there is a moon base with giant laser cannons, high-tech command centres and the uniforms the military wear are nothing like what real military officials really wear. There is logic behind the filmmakers decides but it results in us not caring for the world because it is so different to the one we know. The cities are artificial and most of the film takes place in military bases, the outside world is barely glimpsed upon. There are also some inconsistencies: the film shows humanity using futuristic trains and helicopters yet people still drive normal cars - not just citizens but the UN as well.
Independence Day: Resurgence tries to replicate some of the key scenes and ideas of its predecessor like the destruction of a major city, the retaliation battle where the humans are outnumbered, having a hotshot pilot exiled to an outpost and even the climax. As well as lifting from its own previous film Independence Day: Resurgence also take ideas from Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Man of Steel where the aliens forces are destroying the planet for their own benefits with their big device and the good guys need to stop them in the nick of time and the set-pieces with world leaders talking to each other on video monitors was like 2012. The subplot where the action takes place in Africa shows African warlords had battled the reminding aliens and it has altered their culture like the Nigerians in District 9.
Like Emmerich's previous disaster movies Independence Day: Resurgence has a huge cast of characters who spread across the world and often thinning defined. Jeff Goldblum is a delight as David Levinson, the man who is often the smartest guy in the room and Bill Pullman's former president Whitmore has been driven insane because of his physic connection to the aliens. Brent Spiner also returns despite his character seemingly being killed off in first film and Judd Hirsch may as well not have bothered returning to the series because his character does nothing in the film. The new actors like Liam Hemsworth and Jessie Usher are okay in the roles as two of the main pilots but don't do much to stand out. Hemsworth had more to work with because his character was similar to Will Smith's in the original film. "Resurgence" also gives supporting roles to Angelababy and Ng Chin Han, casting decisions to appeal to the lucrative Asian market.
Two characters who should have been shot were Charlie the pilot (Travis Tope), Jake's (Hemsworth) best friend and trying to woo Angelababy's character because she is a hot new Chinese girl on the base and Floyd (Nicolas Wright), Levison's pencil pushing assistant who has to become a fighter. Both characters are meant to be a comic relief but really characters you would want the aliens to kill.
Independence Day: Resurgence is unrelentingly stupid. Some may describe it as 'turn your brain off movie' but "Resurgence" takes too many leaps for even that justification this approach. The film aims to be bigger than the previous film and does it in the silliest way possible and tries to expand its universe. My personal favourite dumb moment is when an African war lord fights an alien with a couple of machetes.
This sequel was unnecessary and the screenplay needed serious trimming before it should have been made. There are some fun moments but it's the type of film you laugh at rather than laugh with.