On The Big Screen Reviews

Independence Day: Resurgence – Review

by Elliott Baker and Sarah Cook

Roughly twenty years ago, Independence Day was released. Despite a mixed review from critics and audiences alike, the alien invasion garb has stuck in our minds as the height of cheesy nineties action romps. Iconic scenes of the bloody White House exploded, aliens turning puppets to humans, and cigar touting heroes have been immortalised in our minds forever. Independence Day was nineties gold, levitating Will Smith away from Bel-Air and solidifying our collective obsession with Jeff Goldbum. Like an inspiring Bill Pullman speech, we can’t help but be enthralled and punch the air with all kinds of “AMERICA FUCK YEAH!” wailings.

Fast forward decades later and a sequel to Independence Day has arrived, with cool new aesthetics, Liam Hemsworth, and a Resurgence taped on to the title for good measure.

Independence Day: Resurgence sees planet Earth rebuilt after the 1996 attacks which nearly obliterated all of humanity. The United Nations have spent the years building technology in anticipation that the aliens could, and probably would, come back. Of course, the alien race that invaded so long ago return in gleeful revenge: with better and stronger technology than before. With a gun-ho military, faces from the past and present, all across the globe, must unite to fight a common enemy that has the power to obliterate them all.

Opinion has been split about the sequel since the announcement of the film. The remake heavy Hollywood us groaning and rolling our eyes constantly. There is roughly one reboot of recent years that had us frothing at the moment because of its epic (and Academy Award winning nature) and that is Mad Max: Fury Road. The entire practise of reenergising films feels like forgery, as though the originality has nearly been snuffed out of our film industry.

This is important to note because, whilst there is some enjoyable elements in Independence Day: Resurgence, it still cannot match the awe-inspiring original and there is little “wow” factor here.

I’d like to start out by saying that there is a lot of fun here and there are cool ideas bounces around. The integration of alien technology with our own and learning more about the alien’s culture engages you in the extra-terrestrial science of it all, even developing a reasoning behind the alien’s soft spot for annihilation. The added technological advances build breath-taking action sequences that have your eyes-popping and heart thumping. The big harvester ship that attaches itself to Earth like an encroaching parasite is visually interesting and terrifying at the same time. In similar respects, the on ground combat with the invading species adds a lot of fun and action to the proceedings.

As with the first film, the themes of unity to protect Earth against a common enemy is rife throughout. The movie encompasses a larger scale and therefore countries are more willing to fight with one another, as opposed to against (although the sense that it is America who will lead this charge still feels cheesy.) Goldblum is always hilarious to watch and the new cast such as the aforementioned Hemsworth and It Follows’ Maika Monroe embellish an element of youthfulness to somewhat refresh the proceedings.

This being said, Resurgence is slightly underwhelming. Emmerich’s space sequel has garish pacing that lurches the narrative forward at an accelerated speed. There is no time for plot points to sink in until you are battered with the next thing. And despite this rush of events, Resurgence still feels overlong. There is also a lot of re-treading that comes naturally for remakes, including an almost identical ending.

Resurgence was never going to make the same waves as the predecessor did yet there is a lot of humour alongside the energetic battle sequences to keep you mildly invested. It’s nice to see a modern version of an older film having some giggles rather than locked in realism and grittiness. Not the worst film you’ll see this weekend but certainly not the best, Resurgence is an average action garb that won’t invade your Top 10 anytime soon.


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