Independence Day was an explosive action film following several characters that, with the use of a laughing skull computer virus, managed to push back an alien invasion after many of Earth’s (sorry, Earf’s) biggest cities were destroyed. Well, after 20 years, the aliens are back and they are not too happy. But did they wait too long?
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• Director: Roland Emmerich
• Exhibition: 2D/3D
• Rating: 12A
• Run Time: 120 mins
The sequel’s story continues in real time, 20 years after the first film’s attacks and humanity has managed to rebuild – with a little help from the alien technology left behind. Humanity’s global offensive has united the world into one large fighting force. The UN has set up an Alien task-force, directed by the rambling and occasionally incoherent David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum). Defensive bases are being constructed on the moon and in orbit… You know, just in case the aliens come back.
The film primarily focuses around Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), a pilot who, after nearly killing his fellow pilot Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher) during a training exercise, has been sent to assist in building the defensive bases on the moon. His girlfriend, Patricia Whitmore (Maika Monroe) is back on Earth taking care of her father, President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) as his interactions with the aliens in the first film have taken their toll over time and have left him a little bit crazy.
Then the aliens come back…. with a bigger spaceship.
I feared, after seeing the trailers, that I had already seen the majority of what the film and story had to offer. This is both true and false – It’s true because it’s still a generic action movie, it has huge explosions, cities being destroyed, some people die and there are some huge aerial battles. But the film also had some more to offer that wasn’t mentioned at all in the trailers and there were some twists and turns in the story that I genuinely didn’t expect.
Independence Day: Resurgence makes a lot of references to the first film. Some were obvious, like Bill Pullman’s speech from the first film is played within the first few minutes. Some were actually quite subtle (which, as a fan of the first film, I nearly missed) and a few were a little self-referential – Jeff Goldblum’s line “They always like to get the landmarks” actually made me smile far more than I thought it was. A lot of characters from the first film return and surprisingly, the ones that were absent were pretty well explained.
The reason I most enjoyed the Independence Day: Resurgence was that it didn’t feel like it just reused the ideas from the previous film. It seemed to build on the story set in place by the first film, but then would ask more questions. How do you fight the aliens on the ground? How do you interrogate any alien prisoners you may have? And, most importantly, what happened to Jeff Goldblum’s dad from the first film?
One of the main issues I had with the film was the ending, or should I say endings. As the film has many enjoyable side characters and stories, it insists on wrapping almost all of them up. Leading to big final moments that were almost immediately forgotten about because the film needed to follow another character. It felt like the writers brainstormed several final scenes but then filmed them all and forgot to cut any.
Another flaw that brings the film down is the writing for most of the characters, many of the characters have very poor dialogue. Nothing seems to have that much impact and most lines feel like they are just trying to pad the run time. Some of the performances are okay, Jeff Goldblum is great at being a Jeff Goldblum type character and Liam Hemsworth is pretty average as heroes go. But it’s the poor script and dialogue between characters which brings the film down as a whole. And the epic speech wasn’t nearly as good as the first film.
Overall, Independence Day: Resurgence is an average action sequel. The story isn’t something that’s worth rushing to the cinema to see, but it was different to what I expected it to be. I personally, enjoyed the film, but I wouldn’t pay to see it twice. I can definitely side with a lot of criticism that people have. It’s cliché and over the top, just like its predecessor. If you liked the first one, you’ll find some enjoyment in this. The best way to describe the film is “so bad it’s good”: When the film is bad, you know it’s bad, but you still find reasons to enjoy it.