Hot Take: We always knew they were coming back with a sequel but after two decades we were kind of hoping they decided against it. What a bore!
As much as I hated the first Independence Day, there was a general campiness and enthusiasm present that elevate the film from bad to shoulder shruggingly okay. It’s actually the reason that super serious speech by Bill Pullman makes my eyes roll while some have the gumption to call it the greatest speech in movie history. (You’re all delusional. Every one of you!) That speech would have worked better in Independence Day: Resurgence.
The one thing the sequel to the blockbuster hit from 20 years ago did well was identify what worked well in the first film. Essentially, Independence Day: Resurgence could be called Regurgitation because it makes every attempt to duplicate the best moments of Independence Day. Unfortunately, like a poorly calibrated copy machine, you can tell when it’s trying to copy right down to the moment when the film doubles down with not one but two motivational speeches. Both which fail miserable to move anyone or anything.
What we have here is a failure to entertain. A mindless, painful and obvious cash grab. The real problem isn’t that the film is a cheap knock-off of the original, it’s like watching a cover band. Worse yet, it’s a Nickelback cover band. (Seriously, I hope that’s not really a thing because there couldn’t be much worse than a Nickelback cover band.)
There’s a fine line between acceptably cheesy and unacceptably corny. While Independence Day works adequately as a big budget B movie, the sequel has an identity crisis. Somehow, director Roland Emmerich only heard the most ardent supporters of Independence Day which think the work is some sort of masterpiece. There’s a danger into buying into such a miscalculation and Independence Day: Resurgence is a result of that miscalculation.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- It Raises the Stakes
From what I remember about the first film, there were a lot of explosions and monuments destroyed but, for the most part, if you were an actor worthy of being mentioned in an extended review, you had a strong likelihood of survival. In the sequel, all bets are off and ***SPOILER ALERT*** not everyone makes it to the end. This does create some drama and make you start to wonder how many main characters will actually survive.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Some Bad CGI
Usually, I never care about the quality of CGI but then again, today’s CGI is so good, it’s almost unnoticeable. In Independence Day: Resurgence, there are some brutally poor CGI images especially around scenes involving large crowds. I’ve seen better execution by YouTube amateurs.
It’s hard to imagine an alien race coming to Earth once and a great war ensuing. It’s even harder to imagine it happening twice. It’s impossible to believe such events would be uninteresting but as my eyes fluttered during the tail end of the second hour and my head uncontrollably nodded, it was confirmed that this is really possible.
- Liam Hemsworth Leads A Cast of Dull New Characters
Hemsworth isn’t the only failure to add a compelling character to the mix but he is the most glaring example. Not one of the new characters shine above any of the returning ones with the exception of Deobia Oparei as an African hunter who specializes in hunting aliens. The rest? They all miss.