A sequel 20 years in the making… or that is what they’d probably try to to sell you on with “Independence Day: Resurgence”. Although whatever you say about the very mixed reviews that the original got, it made a shit load of money for the studio. So much so that it pretty much launched the genre of the Disaster Blockbuster. So after all that time, can this recapture the strange success that the 90’s hit did?
It has been 20 years since the events from the first movie, and mankind has progressed massively from the acquisition of the alien technology. So much so that even wars have ended and the globe is in a united ceasefire. But the discovery of a mysterious ship leads to the alien’s making their return – and they’re pissed and seeking revenge. With a bigger ship and hell-bent of Earth’s destruction, the world must unite once again to save what they can.
The idea of the humans making use of the alien technology is a cool one, and helps the story move into space and make use of some better aircraft. But the idea that entire cities were rebuilt as massive expense, and they learned to design all the technology in such a small time, is laughable.So dumb in fact, that it was one aspect I was ready to let slip and not criticise. The film depends on you getting past that stumbling point, so I wanted to give it a chance at least.
It felt very odd too that despite the film trying to sell you that the world is working as one now, it remains a very American and patriotic piece. Not to the extent of the first of course, but this is not an International set of characters, let me put it that way. The head of an African league (played by Deobia Oparei) was pretty alright, but the diversity doesn’t stretch far beyond that.
The last of the early points to raise is the time when shit goes bad and cities start to blow up. The first movie had that infamous scene with the White House, and honestly was fantastically done. For here they want to increase far beyond that in the sense of scale, but the effect isn’t as shocking. The CG kind of lets the side down by being rather muddy, and the chaotic spread of the damage makes it hard to truly get a sense of the scale of the destruction. For whatever reason, it didn’t feel like the $100 million sequence that shakes you from your seat – I took notice, but sadly wasn’t all too impressed.
You may be wondering why I have gone this far into the review without really touching on the major aspects of the film? I have my reasons for that, the biggest of which being that it just came across as limp-wristed. The first was stupid, but so charismatic that you kind of had to give it a pass despite how dumb it all was. I was hoping for the same here to get me through the story, but it rarely rises above being tepid and ordinary. The list of new characters are immensely dull in terms of their personalities. Just a bunch of Army stereotypes being bros, or having Daddy issues. The return of old characters playing similar roles that don’t really get expanded upon of provided any extra depth. It seems like the cast is there to very little purpose beyond keeping the plot trundling along.
Fans of the original will still find parts they like, fro the awkward attempts at humour to the aerial battles. I found a few moments that were good enough too. But “Independence Day: Resurgence” ended up doing little for me, even as a popcorn title. It doesn’t seem to fully realise what made the original so fun in such a dumb way, instead going down a route which feels mediocre and rushed. And they even had some cool initial ideas going on, such as the utilisation of the alien technology. But it is flimsily built and doesn’t work towards creating a real world you can get lost in. Even the ending had the same issues – a cool direction, but so under-par in how they pulled it off.
I would like to have had a good time with this one, just something for a boring afternoon and to use the phrase “turn your brain off”. But it isn’t worth it, there are better examples out there for you to track down I am certain.
Thanks for reading!