I went into Independence Day: Resurgence with my brain well and truly switched off. A sequel to one of my favourite films was always going to attract my attention but I was always a bit cautious as this film arrives a full twenty years after the first film.
It turns out I was right to be cautious about this film because Independence Day: Resurgence really is quite rubbish. My expectations weren’t high by any means but I certainly couldn’t help but feel a bit deflated when I left the cinema. Twenty years to make a sequel and this is seriously the best they could do?!
In the twenty years that have passed since the events in the first film, Earth has used the leftover alien technologies to create the Earth Space Defence (ESD), a united global defence program that serves as an early warning system in case of any more attacks. It’s an Earth that has seen humanity united and war free for twenty years.
When a much bigger threat than before arrives in Earth’s atmosphere, it’s not long before the ESD is well and truly tested. Humanity was able to stave off the threat once before but would they find themselves out of luck when the aliens return bigger and intent on destroying the planet?
I have to say it’s quite a noble effort from Roland Emmerich to make a sequel that attempts to evolve from its predecessor. The idea of the alien technology left over from the invasion of 1996 being used to enhance Earth’s defence from further attacks is one that stops the film from feeling like a carbon copy of Independence Day. There are a few more elements in the plot that do this as well but I can’t discuss them without spoiling the film so I’ll leave those for you to discover for yourself.
It’s the rest of the story and the script that leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. Now, the first film is ridiculously cheesy however, this sequel takes it to almost unbearable heights with an incredibly rushed story and rather dull script. There’s no effort made to break up action sequences with some low-key scenes between characters like the first film did so well. Instead, they opt for the lay down the story and character introductions in the first half hour and then go balls out crazy when the aliens show up until the end of the film.
When I say balls out crazy I really do mean it. The last hour and a half is literally just a destruction montage but not necessarily the good kind. The special effects are very impressive and there are certainly moments that I had fun with however, even with my brain switched off, I eventually got a little fed up of it all. It all just lacks the swagger and grandeur the first film possessed.
As for the performances, Independence Day: Resurgence misses the charisma of someone like Will Smith much more than I thought it would. Think Liam Hemsworth or Jessie T. Usher have the charisma to be a replacement? Think again. Hemsworth faces a career spent entirely in the shadow of his brother, Chris, unless he starts putting in some decent performances while Usher is totally void of any emotion in his performance.
Jeff Goldblum tries his hardest but he ultimately ends up looking lost amongst the mess that this film eventually becomes and Bill Pullman very much hams it up as the President who led the resistance back in 1996 but now experiences visions of a pending attack. Judd Hirsch also returns but in a totally unnecessary subplot that makes it seem like it was a last minute decision just to give him something to do. Oh, and Sela Ward stars as the current President but she’s barely worth mentioning and you’ll understand why when you see the film.
The film culminates in an unsatisfying finale that possesses one of the most sequel baiting final scenes you will ever see. I pretty much hated the final scene and I didn’t really want to hate any of this film. I know I’ve already said that my brain was switched off as soon as I sat down in the cinema however, there’s no escaping the fact that, with twenty years to prepare, Independence Day: Resurgence should have been so much better.