(There may be spoilers here.)
Independence Day: Resurgence feels like Gus Van Sant’s almost shot for shot remake of Psycho: It looks okay but you leave the cinema asking why they bothered. In clever exposition we find out that before the aliens were destroyed in Independence Day, they sent out a distress signal, calling the hive to assist them. Twenty years later we learn that the world is at peace for the first time and are utilising alien technology for hovercrafts and other cool peace-loving stuff. There’s even a female president. At the first sign of the resurgence of the aliens, Earth blows them out of the sky.
It’s worth comparing it to other long-interim reboots. Jurassic World played Jurassic Park references for laughs and nostalgia. Resurgence simply recreates entire scenes from the first outing. Heroic President Whitman speeches. Towards the end of the film, a woman runs up to her man along the same stretch of desert as before. Parentless families driving to safety. Shooting through assumedly bullet-proof isolation chambers to stop the alien’s communication via strangling a good guy. On a note, this film plays (accidental?) homage to Jurassic Park too. It’s all the same entity as the first outing 20 years ago though.
Due to changes in Earth’s gravity, visually, narrow city road escapes become more impressive, and the green screen work is light years ahead. Drawing on musical cues from the first film, the score is wonderful. Having Sela Ward as the first female president is welcomed, though a shame she is replaced early in the film. Vale Captain Steve Hiller. Dr Jazmine Hiller undergoes a great career switcheroo. Place your orders for ex-Rabbi Julius Levinson’s best-selling book “How I Saved the World”. The low-key romantic relationship between Dr Okun and Dr Isaacs is sweet.
The plethora of extraneous characters borders on the ludicrous. Nobody cares about President Whitman’s future son-in-law’s best mate. Comedy foil character, Floyd (thank you IMDB), plays the chaperone no one requested and his stalking of the Central African (country not specified) warlord is irritating. A stroke of genius is the plot line that the Central African nations had been fighting a ground war against the aliens for years after the first film. The value the Central African nations had in understanding alien language and fighting vulnerabilities is underplayed here, and would have been a more interesting focus for a sequel.
Nobody goes in expecting this film to win screen-writing awards. It is a popcorn no-frills mindless action flick. A fun genre, but the problem is that it feels old with new technology. This film breaks no new ground and you have literally seen it before. If they get to make a third film, please don’t follow the set-up at the end of this film (yawn). Count me in for a guerrilla alien war set in Central Africa with hover-crafts
INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE IS OUT IN CINEMAS NOW!