Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe
Release: June 23, 2016
Review Author: Tony
Rating: 2/5 cans of Guinness
Most people have a soft spot for Independence Day, in fact Independence Day is one of the few films I feel obliged to sit through once I spot it on the TV. It’s in my opinion one of the granddaddy’s of the blockbuster film and the start of Roland Emmerich’s disaster fetish. The original film had all the ingredients of a top-notch popcorn flick from groundbreaking effects, a charming cast, great humour and some true unapologetic patriotism (I dare you to count the amount of American flag shots in this film).
Roland Emmerich’s career in the directors chair has been an interesting one, he’s become the disaster movie mogul finding new and inventive (throwing science and logic out the window) ways to wreak havoc among the earth usually going after its most famous landmarks. His films have never really been directed at the critics but more towards the masses hoping to produce spectacle after spectacle, this can be reflected in the critical ratings of his films which show a large disparity between critics and audiences.
Finally twenty years later the sequel many of us have been hoping for has arrived. When the first trailer dropped I was incredibly hyped nearly more so than Star Wars. Seeing Goldblum and Bill Pullman certainly triggered my nostalgia. Rather then simply call itself Independence Day 2 or 1D4 2 it decides to use a big word starting with the letter R, a trope that so many films use to today, Resurgence…Redemption…Revengeance…Retardedness. Still stupid name aside I was looking forward to a silly dumb fun popcorn flick in the vein of the first film.
Independence Day: Resurgence certainly delivers on the fun, it just happens to serve a heavier portion of the dumb though. The dialogue in this film is so cringe inducing I left the screening with wrinkles on my face. Every line in this film is a zinger or exposition. The first film had plenty of cheesy lines but they at least were delivered with charisma and charm, here it’s so rapid fire very little of it works. There’s also far too many characters here. We get most the old cast, a new younger cast and a dozen secondary characters all clashing for screen time and to get their lines in. I would happily trade half of this cast just for Will Smith to have returned.
As far as the plot goes I enjoyed its relative simplicity, we won the war in 1996 and robbed the invaders tech to better our world. Unfortunately the Aliens want a rematch and time it exactly for twenty years later for the reunion. There’s some tripe about characters being connected to the aliens but we’ve seen this done before and it amounts to nothing but lazy writing. The Aliens come with a far more aggressive strategy hoping this time just to deliver a one punch knockout blow to take out earth. We learn a little more about the invaders as their only real characteristic in the first film is that they are assholes. Well in Resurgence we find out exactly what they are after on earth, although it only reinforces their assholery.
What works in this films favour for the most part is the destruction porn, plenty of stuff blows up and falls down and its as entertaining as ever to witness. The CGI is pretty good as it handles the chaos on-screen adequately and it actually makes the aliens far more intimidating than in the first film. A handful of the armada of characters are enjoyable, Jeff Goldblum is clearly there for his paycheck but has a good time delivering some particularly silly lines. The return of the character Dr. Okun is great as he provides most of the comic relief and I enjoyed the African warlord character. Most of the rest of the cast are fine there’s just not a lot for them to do.
Probably the most average film I’ve seen this year as it’s not offensive enough to be considered terrible and too lame to be considered cool, instead Independence Day sits right in the middle. I feel that the film had none of the urgency of the first, instead relying all of its tension in the third act on a countdown. I hate this trope so much, numbers on a screen means nothing to me. I don’t give a fuck if they are going up or down, show me whats at stake, show me things going to shit.
Roland Emmerich films usually asks you to switch you brain off, the problem is we’ve been doing it so much I feel like I’m going fucking brain-dead.