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10 Gripes with Independence Day: Resurgence
I will start off by saying that this article definitely contains spoilers.
Based on internet comments and the recorded numbers, I was one of the few people who was excited to see the movie Independence Day: Resurgence after the trailer was released. Since I was a little disappointed after viewing it, I decided to list my gripes about the movie. Ten total.
1. The repetition of “in 1996.” It’s a small gripe, and they eventually stop. But it was noticeable. They said it so much in a small time frame. Establish the current year of the movie, if needed, establish the year of the previous events, and be done.
2. No Casual and Normal Life. With having all our characters already so engulfed in military life, specifically Earth Space Defense, the movie starts out very dark and unfamiliar. The brightest scene you had was the short time at the White House. And a lot of us just are not that fortunate to call that place familiar. Despite what’s shown being routine events and training, it’s really hard to get that idea. I felt like I was thrown immediately into war. The problem is we aren’t. They could have definitely held that feeling off for a while in a two hour movie.
In the first movie we saw stupid people cheering on top of a bank tower, the president’s personal life, Hiller’s life, Jasmine’s workplace, and a grown man cycling through office cubicles all before the action began. Simple stuff, yet appreciated.
3. Vivica A. Fox’s Quick Death. Perhaps, you were like me, surprised to see Fox reprise her roll sans Smith. Then as soon as the action starts she’s dead. This is one of the spots where things felt rushed. Jasmine Dubrow-Hill, Fox’s character, was never in the same room with her son Dylan. They just briefly talked on the phone. She only has a few scenes before her death. And I’m guessing the only reason for her existence and death was to give Dylan a greater reason to fight for vengeance, creating another orphan for the storyline. Did he really need that though? Did we as the audience really need that? It’s not like we saw a bond between them. We certainly know it was there during the last movie when Dylan was a child. Now he’s grown and it’s a new movie. And with it being a new actor, I really need something more.
4. The Second Generation. The second generation includes the return of Dylan's and Patricia's characters, along with new characters Jake, Charlie, and Rain, and a slew of extras. They are twenty years older having grown up in the aftermath of the first attacks. It's this twenty year difference that I believe puts these characters at a weird spot in their lives for this movie. Both Patricia and Dylan appeared to be between the ages of five and eight in the first movie bringing them to 25 through 28 in Resurgence. This certainly makes them of legal age. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that they were younger.
Maybe because two of the characters still referred to themselves as orphans twenty years after the event that made them such. Maybe because there was such a thing as the International Legacy Squadron in this movie which seemed to have inclusion favoring those whose parents were fighter pilots. Both of these kept the young adults tied to their parents and to childhood.
I’m linking this with #2. Perhaps, if I had seen them in day to day life outside of military regime, I could see them capable of being adults. None of the five main young adults were married, though two were engaged to each other, non had children, and as far as we know non of them had their own place outside of living on base.
Why is any of this important, you ask? Because our only chance of survival is in their hands. And they’re either still in self-pity and disgruntled or made to look like undeserving heirs. But I had no other choice, so I rooted for the young protagonists despite this. Rooting for them might be easier if it wasn’t for Jake.
5. Jake. Before the events of the movie he nearly kills Dylan in flight by doing his own thing. He’s one of the orphans of the movie with no familial military ties. He’s a good pilot, and he’s determined to prove it. While not the most cocky character I’ve ever seen, Jake’s antics are distracting regardless. He continues to break rank throughout the fight with the aliens. Some or all of them should have died anyways, but with his disobedience I’m really surprised that they didn’t.
So if you wanted Dylan to be one of the breakout heroes like Captain Steven Hiller, or if you just simply wanted his mom’s death to mean something, forget about it. The characters in the movie really tried to push the idea of the first. It’s amazing it didn’t really work out that way.
6. Non-distinguishable fighter jets. This was, unfortunately, another reason why it was hard to root for our heroes. A good amount of time I had no idea who they were among the alien spacecrafts. It was through their dialogue that I kept up with how they were doing.
7. Incompetent President. Ugh. Just ugh. She was essentially a yes-man. People, mostly men, would present her with a problem, and she would agree with the side that was pressuring her the most. I saw no strength in her, no voice of her own. And the filmmakers never wanted her to develop her own strength as they killed her off. Did they just want to be the first to present a female president? I’m thinking so. Though I did like her last line. “There will be no peace.”
8. Lack of Global Plot They did do a better job in Resurgence than in the first movie in having international involvement in saving the planet. Yet, there was still some imbalance. I realize spreading out the plot to other countries, outside the international landmarks that already get destroyed, would make the movie more expensive even if the film wasn’t 100% shot on location. Where is the International Legacy Squadron grouping together? The USA. Where does the alien queen decide the best spot to drill through the earth’s mantle? The USA.
9. Failing to Live up to Its own Hype. This movie had a lot of would-be high points that just sort of let you down.
For example, the trailer made the scene when President Whitmore locks himself in the alien containment look so much more useful to the plot than it actually was. Right before he gets strangled he says, ‘Get all the answers you can from it.’ The thing is they only get one answer from it. They learn that a “she” is coming. Did they really need to know the gender of the enemy? He didn’t even tell them “she” was a giant queen. One or two scenes later they had already added to this vague information anyways. Luckily he didn’t die in his attempt as I felt like it wasn’t worth it.
10. A victorious ending. One of the taglines to the movie is “We had twenty years to prepare. So did they.” Actually they sort of had more. They had to know of our existence before the original attacks. It wouldn’t be out of the question if they beat us this time.
I read that a second sequel was dependent on the success of the first. Why wait until then to start preparing for it? Leave us on a cliffhanger. Leave us in despair. Leave us wanting, no needing the third installment. Give us a real independence day movie.
While writing this I realized the aliens never wanted to enslave or colonize the people of Earth, instances when one would want independence. They just wanted to kill; second movie they wanted to drill to the Earth’s core which included killing people. Yet the movie is called Independence Day, because the victory of the attacks fell on the Independence Day of the USA.
Wouldn’t it be something if they didn’t destroy the queen in time? She would start digging to the core of the Earth, and no one else died. Yelp, rewrite science. They’ve done it before. And the people of Earth become slaves for the queen. Then the next movie we could fight for independence.
I’m just throwing out ideas, however horrible.
It’s all just my opinions. Independence Day was released when I was five years old. It took me years to watch it in full. When I finally did, I recognized that it was a good movie. So when I heard about Independence Day: Resurgence, I knew I didn’t want to wait years to see it this time around. Plus a 20 year difference between the first movie and its sequel sounded interesting. It wasn’t the worst movie. Although seeing that they “had twenty years to prepare,” I did expect better.
Who's your favorite returning character in Independence Day: Resurgence?
Originally published July 25, 2016. Edited Nov. 20, 2016 to add picture.