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Independence Day: Resurgence?
And we have…Touchdown! And I’m not talking about the kind that comes from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski late in the fourth quarter of a Monday Night Football game. More like a 3,000 mile wide space ship bent on global destruction. What Independence Day: Resurgence may lack in the emotional department and, well, everything else, it makes up for with eye popping visuals and go-for-broke action sequences. Of course, none of this should come as a surprise because director Roland Emmerich (ID4, the Day after Tomorrow, 2012) is the master of global disaster. But did he blow up more than he could afford?
Official US Trailer.
Maybe it won't be so bad.
There may be nothing more revolting in the cinematic world than a good trailer for a bad movie. And yes, after watching this trailer, I drank the kool-aid. But why not? Nostalgia help sale Star Wars: the Force Awakens. I mean, I can remember being eleven years old standing in a long ass line on a hot summer day just itchy to see the original, and I know I wasn't the only one. Talking to you America! After all, ID4 only made 814.7 million dollars at the box office (a year before Titanic!). So when my boyfriend and I showed up to see the sequel on opening night I was a little surprised to find so many empty seats.
And then the movie started.
Before my boyfriend and I entered that vacant theater Rotten Tomatoes had Resurgence rated at 54%, which ain't so bad considering the Original holds a 61%, but as of today (Saturday, June 25) Rotten Tomatoes downgraded it to 34% (dropping nearly 20 %!!). I'm no Nostradamus or anything but I’m feeling pretty confident when I say, "bombs away!" at the box office. So what went wrong?
One thing the sequel sorely lacked. (Okay,It might be a cheesy speech, but I'm a cheesy guy).
Love it or Hate it?
Did you like the first ID4
Spoiler Free Review
Independence Day: Resurgence picks up twenty years after the 1996 film. The world has changed in a lot of ways. The Alien technology that almost zapped us into extinction has now (obliviously) been reversed engineered to protect us. We now have a moon base, a first response station orbiting Saturn, a string of bazooka blasting satellites (sorry, not sure what else to call them), and an International Fighter Pilot Team equip with their own special fighters. Sounds safe. Right?
The political and ideological atmosphere (which has nothing really to do with the film) has also changed. There is a female president, the U.N. appears to be running things, and the whole world has come together in pursuit of protection. Yeah, the world is about as far left as you could get. I guess that's the natural response of an Alien attack because conservatives aren’t aggressive, defense spending mechanics.
The film opens up on the Eve of the twenty-year-we-sorta-won-on-a-computer-technicality celebration, as Madam President and other heads of state bring back our original hero’s for a parade. Sounds logical. Absent is Will Smith’s Capt. Hiller who apparently died during a test flight years ago. Ironic, to say the least. Former President Whitmore, the man behind one of the greatest (albeit corny) halftime style speeches of 90’s cinema (played again by Bill Pullman) is now mentality ravaged and physical depressed. The events of 1996 have left him in a P.T.S.D state where he suffers from nightmares foreshadowing the second wave of an Alien Attack. To keep an eye on him is a secret service agent who reminds him to take his medication and his daughter, Patricia Whitmore (more on her later).
Meanwhile Jeff Goldblum’s character, David Levinson, is on a U.N. Mission in Africa to investigate the only Alien spacecraft to land. We didn’t see this in the original but we didn’t need to. A little too quickly David learns the Aliens were drilling before the Mother Ship was destroyed. Why were they drilling? And why didn’t anyone investigate this earlier? (That second question is never asked, but you’ll ask it)
Another mystery is the ship is now alive and active again, but no one seems to remember that in the first film the same thing happen with the Alien ship left over from the Roswell crash. Doesn’t this mean the Aliens are coming back because their technology is back on? It does not but it should. Surprisingly David doesn’t put this together, but he does discover a distress beckon being broadcast on board. In any case, the world has very little time to get ready for a fight. Now the question is who’s going to lead that fight? It can’t be the original cast members because, well, Hollywood says their too old. So instead of a cocksure Will Smith and a dry witted Jeff Goldblum (who’s lacking screen time in the sequel is criminal) we get Thor’s brother, Liam Hemsworth(Hunger Games) playing cocky Jake and Jessie Usher (who knows from where) playing Capt. Hiller's son. Both are Ace pilots and both carry large stones that are supposed to be chips on their shoulders. There’s not much chemistry here folks, or acting. Liam’s character is engaged to, wait for it, Patricia Whitmore. And guess what, she's a pilot too. Where’s all the scientist? Oh, that’s right, Brent Spiner(Data from the Star Trek) returns as Dr. Brackish and is off beat and oddball as ever. Apparently he didn’t die and apparently his gay. Which I’m happy to finally see my people in a summer block buster but….when you see it you will know what I’m talking about. Also returning from the original cast is Judd Hirsch as David’s Father and Vivica A. Fox. So there you go. These are the people you have to suffer through to save the world. This is a spoiler free review, so I won’t be going too much further than that.
34% on Rotten Tomatoes (that's out of a hundred folks)
I will say despite the flaws and all those eye rolling whatever moments, there are some impressive moments with sci-fi provoking originality. So much so you wish this was adapted for a TV show. For instances, the African ground forces that fought the Aliens for ten years all have a physic connection with the Aliens, as does Former President Whittmore and Dr. Brackish. We also get a little taste of Mythology about the Aliens. What their motivations are, where they’ve been, and what intelligent life forms they have defeated. Which is cool, but short lived.
Sprinkle throughout the explosions and action is a little humor and a lot of dry, awkward dialogue you probably weren’t supposed to laugh at. The film excels when the old cast is on screen (albeit cheesy) but crashes like the mother ship when the new cast are trying to live up to their predecessors. The action is bumble gun and popcorn for the eyes and doesn’t disappoint, including the ending (the last 17 mins hits the spot) which is the best part. Where the original film was an event that slowly built up to monument smashing chaos, Independence Day: Resurgence is just another condense declining mess.