IDR doesn’t have nearly as much of the thrills and enthusiasm as its predecessor. But for a movie I was dreading, it managed to surprise me. SPOILER-FREE REVIEW!
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writers: Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods, Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, James Vanderbilt
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T. Usher, Vivica A. Fox, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, William Finchter, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Patrick St. Esprit, Angelababy, Charlette Gainsbourg, Dikembe Umbutu, Nicolas Wright, Travis Tope
20 years after the initial attack on Earth by a locus like alien race, the world has become a utopia type of place. Everyone is happy and unified. The newest tech created has made a world a better place allowing for damn near teleportation speed travel (traveling to the moon and back takes mere minutes) and powerful weapons no one dreams of using for anything other than shooting invaders. Humanity is celebrating the 4th of July, which has become a global holiday of independence, when all hell breaks loose and the aliens attack again. This time there is a much bigger ship and a much smarter queen who is dead set on harvesting the Earth’s core. Can David Levinson (Goldblum) and Co. save humanity again?
If I had to pick one thing about Independence Day: Resurgence that annoyed me the most, it would be the mass amounts of coincidences used keep the plot moving forward. Just too many moments where characters arrive exactly where they need to be in order to overhear or see the information that will be inevitably important later. It is pretty comical. Thru sheer force of the writer’s will, all of the significant characters (and several who are not, but the movie for some reason focus’ on anyways) end up at Area 51. There is an odd sequence that happens just before the aliens invade (which factors into the end and helps to set up a sequel) and it comes way out of left field. The ostensibly randomness of it took me out of the film. Also, I couldn’t get past the idea that every country had been living in peace and harmony together for the last 20 years. In a movie about alien invasions, that idea seemed way too fantastical.
One of the characters has a self-sacrificing moment towards the end of the movie that can be seen coming less than 20 minutes into the run time. When the end comes for that character, the emotional impact is nowhere to be found. It kind of sucks because it is a person from the original Independence Day who should have been given a better sendoff.
Now for the shocking part. I was genuinely flabbergasted when I walked out of the theater smiling. I enjoyed the movie! IDR has several flaws, but it was entertaining (as long as you don’t think too hard), which is all I ask in a summer tent pole film.
Cities were obliterated, but thankfully we only see two really taken out and it happens rather quickly. Massive city and global destruction has been done to death in film (and so much of it by Emmerich), it has become tiresome. Though, ID4 is the measuring stick in which I evaluate all destruction against. The annihilation of New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles are still astounding to watch 20 years later.
Dylan Hiller (Usher), the son of Steven Hiller (Will Smith from the original), and Jake Morrison (Hemsworth) were fairly engaging in their roles as the new generation fighting for Earth’s survival. It helped that Dylan wasn’t made to be another version of Smith’s character. Dylan is a much more serious and by the book individual than Steven was. Hemsworth got to show off some of that charm his older brother has been working for many years, but he is not great at playing that swaggering, bad-boy type. The best description of the two men came from Mr. Sunday Movies when he called them Diet Will Smith and Thor-Light. The runaway hit for me was Dikembe Umbutu (Oparei), the African ruler who helps in the fight. He is a badass fighter, but his knowledge of the aliens was beneficial to the plot.
Goldblum did his Goldblumy thing and it was great. Spiner was allowed to be as weird as he was in the first movie, maybe even more so. I loved every second of it. Hirsch was okay. I really have no idea why they stuffed him into the movie other than to have a couple of jokes at the expense of the ridiculous virus storyline from ID4.
Monroe as Patricia Whitmore, the daughter of former President Whitmore (Pullman), isn’t given too much to do and neither is Angelababy as the supposedly badass pilot Rain Lao. Actually now that I think about it, pretty much all of the women aren’t given much to do. IDR features a woman President of the US and all the females in the movie are only there to react to the big moments without getting a really cool one of their own. Or if they do, it is quickly overshadowed by something else.
Another sequel is set up at the end and I’m not completely opposed to it. IDR laid some interesting ground work about the aliens who invaded as well as other beings in the universe. There were conversations referring to ground fighting between humans and aliens which happened after the credits rolled on ID4 that could be shown and talked about further. The psychic connection between those who had significant contact with the invaders is also worth exploring further.
Independence Day: Resurgence is a solid, fun action movie that is worth checking out over the next few weeks. Is it anywhere as good as Independence Day? Absolutely not. But it is good enough to warrant the price of a movie ticket.
3 ½ out of 5 Stars