Monday, 27 June 2016

Film Review: Independence Day - Resurgence

Let's party like it's 1996 with Roland Emmerich's Independence Day: Resurgence.

Independence Day was the movie event of summer 1996 (or so I'm told, I was only 3 at the time - feel old yet?). It dominated the box office and later went on to clean up on VHS (is that like some older, shittier version of Netflix? Sorry, I'll stop making you feel ancient now). Given how popular the original was, it's surprising that Hollywood has taken this long to put together a sequel; after all, if there is one thing Hollywood loves, it's sequels.

However, fast-forward to 2016 and a sequel is exactly what we have on the cards - with director Roland Emmerich behind the camera once again, Independence Day: Resurgence sees Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Vivica A Fox reprise their respective roles from the original and take charge of a hot, spunky young cast that includes Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Jessie Usher, Travis Tope and Angelababy.

The plot goes a little something like this. After defeating their extra-terrestrial foes using an Apple Mac in the first movie, the human race has learned to adapt leftover alien technology and rearm themselves with cooler, newer sci-fi weaponry. However, when a significantly larger alien mothership scoots across our solar system and parks itself on top of the Earth like a giant limpet (don't you just hate it when that happens?), our heroes soon find themselves hideously unprepared for this much larger and more destructive threat. Leading the resistance once again is alien expert David Levinson (Goldblum) and a band of cocksure fighter pilots, the most important of whom are Jake Morrison (Hemsworth), his rival Dylan Hiller (Usher) and his girlfriend Patricia Whitmore (Monroe). There are other characters also, like ex-President Thomas Whitmore (Pullman), but they're superfluous and not hugely important.

Aside from Goldblum and Monroe, the casting in Resurgence is hardly inspired or exciting; Usher, whose character is the son of Will Smith's from the first movie, is sulky and underwritten, lacking in charisma or any characteristics that make him a compelling hero. The same goes for Hemsworth's character; there isn't a lot beneath those deep blue eyes and perfectly groomed stubble that makes him interesting or memorable.

There are brief rays of sunshine though; Goldblum, as you would probably expect, is fantastic. He actually brings personality to a movie that is sorely lacking any; the same can be said for Pullman or William Fitchner's military commander. Monroe is pretty good too; I wasn't sold at first, but I liked that the film gave her something to do in the third act that wasn't chase after Hemsworth or fuss over her dad. If anything, she should've been the lead and Hemsworth could've been dropped entirely.

The worst character of the lot is Nicolas Wright as some dude called Floyd. Like, why did this guy need to be in the movie? Is he supposed to be comic relief? The only relief I felt was when he wasn't around to make stupid faces and generally just ruin everything. Also, does anyone else think he looks like a budget version of John Oliver?

Anyway, the plot does have its fair share of holes - and I don't mean the implausibility of a spaceship that size not tearing the Earth asunder. I mean little inconsistencies here and there that threaten to unravel the whole film, like picking at a single thread and causing the entire scarf to fall apart. That being said, the film did tread newer ground than I was expecting, and I have to give credit where credit is due - there are swathes of this movie that weren't glimpsed in the trailer that came as a nice surprise.

So, what's my recommendation? Well, this is the part where I lose all credibility because I had a lot of fun with Independence Day: Resurgence. I'm not going to lie, I enjoyed the experience and the spectacle. It's not a highbrow film; the characters need a lot of work and the plot can be picked apart. But at the end of the day, I'll remember Resurgence best for its jokes, its incredible visual effects and the silly, B-movie thrills that it offers. As a film, there are plenty of issues that hold the film back, but as an experience, it more than fulfils its promise of untold carnage and cheesy quotes.

The Verdict: 6.5/10

Strap on your nostalgia goggles for a suitably silly and flashy throwback to the grandfather of modern blockbuster scale and spectacle. The older cast outshine a raft of creaky youngsters whilst an uneven script threatens to derail an otherwise solid alien invasion flick. It's cheesier that a Frenchman's fridge - but what else did you expect?

Independence Day: Resurgence is in cinemas across Australia now


  1. Nice review! I so wanted to love this one more, but just hanging back and enjoying it seemed to frustrate me more than anything. Seeing it after the first movie might've tainted the expectations I didn't know I had. Pullman and Goldblum were great but there just wasn't enough for me to really love it. :/

    1. Thanks Katy! That's a pretty fair summary, it does pale in comparison to the first.



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