Review: Independence Day: Resurgence Lacks The Emotional Punch Of Its Predecessor
Title: Independence Day: Resurgence
Director: Roland Emmerich
Screenwriter: Nicolas Wright (screenplay and story by), James A. Wood (screenplay and story by), Dean Devlin (screenplay, story by, and based on characters by(, Roland Emmerich (screenplay, story by, and based on characters by), and James Vanderbilt (screenplay)
Principal Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie T. Usher, Bill Pullman, Maiko Monroe, Sela Ward, and William Fichtner
Summary: Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind’s new space defenses be enough?
The reality of the modern blockbuster is something that everyone needs to accept. There isn’t anything that Hollywood isn’t willing to either re-make, re-imagine to create a terrible sequel. If you liked it as a kid you’re going to get more of it now one way or another. That being said I feel like people were more surprised by the ‘twenty years after the fact’ sequel to Independence Day. The original is often cited as one of the movies that basically kicked off the modern disaster movie, which Roland Emmerich has been perfecting over the years. It was a movie no one asked for and audiences were left wondering if there was anything worth seeing.
Independence Day: Resurgence is a typical sequel in that it’s bigger and flashier, but lacks the thing that made the original as timeless as it is.
I believe that the original Independence Day still holds up. It has one of the best speeches ever put to film, the special effects look great to this day and was even ahead of its time in the way it imagines a world where the entire human race unites. The sequel has its moments but unlike the original it doesn’t feel unique. Perhaps this has something to do with the twenty years that have passed. We, as audiences, have seen the world and cities ripped apart in a ton of movies and half of them were directed by Roland Emmerich. Maybe we’re just so used to it that the novelty has worn off and we don’t feel anything as we watch those buildings collapse. It was even more odd for me because the loss of life is usually something I get distracted by. I get pulled out of movies a lot when there is a huge car crash or a building collapses and all I think about is ‘someone just died’. These cities didn’t even feel populated to me. It was like watching a city fall apart when you knew there was zero chance anyone was going to die.
This has a lot to do with the people. The movie tries to remind us that people have died but they do it in the most hackneyed way possible. There is a random car full of kids that say that their parents are dead but we don’t feel anything. I’m not even sure they even named all of the kids. They try to do the same thing they did in the original in that there is a dog hanging around that seems to survive all of this but it doesn’t mean anything to me. At one point they find a school bus full of kids which somehow means that that school bus is now in the middle of the final fight. It made zero sense and is one of the laziest writing cliches I’ve seen in a long time. An imperiled bus of school children is action movie short hand for raising the stakes, and even then I didn’t really care because these kids meant nothing to me as characters.
I’ve mentioned this before but for a disaster movie to work you need to care whether or not the people will survive it. This movie tried to have moving moments but there wasn’t anything like the first lady dying in the original movie. The problem is that the movie is still extremely well shot. There isn’t anyone working out there that shoots disaster movies better than Roland Emmerich. There are some pieces that you could freeze frame and they would look beautiful. The entire production looks great and I loved the idea that we used the alien technology to improve our own. I just wish I was invested in the people using that cool technology to save the world.
Independence Day: Resurgence is a sequel that no one wanted. If it wasn’t the sequel to one of the all stars of the genre I might be kinder to it, but no matter how many times they show me the original cast I just didn’t care. It made the movie long and boring when it should have been visceral and exciting. While the original Independence Day was unforgettable this dud of a sequel will be forgotten before the summer is up.