Still Feelin’ Fine: A review of Independence Day: Resurgence

 

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Image: tvtropes.org

 

There will be spoilers but it’s an Independence Day Film so that doesn’t matter

I get that I’m completely in the minority here but I loved the heck out of Independence Day: Resurgence. It was a big, dumb, silly Movie with plenty of wasted opportunity and enough spectacle to give me a sugar rush but in this dismal summer of blockbusters, I’ll be damned if I didn’t sit down in my seat, eat my sweets before the trailers and have a thoroughly good time for two hours.

Roland Emerich just knows how to craft a disaster Film. I’ve seen only four others of his Movies. I loved The Day After Tomorrow, grinned through 2012 and I still have a nostalgic smile for Godzilla. Independence Day, however, is the one genuinely brilliant Film in his repertoire.

A sequel has been on the cards for a while and now it’s out, with its fair share of detractors, honestly, I was never bored. It wasn’t just the dumb fun which kept me hooked. It was a pretty well made Film too.

The effects are top notch. The space ships are shiny and the aliens well designed. The destruction is fiery and difficult to focus on but in the big wide shots from above, it looks spectacular.

The story is solid. Humans have adapted the alien technology to their advantage, using it to put bases on the moon and have super space guns. You get the idea, but the aliens come back with a bigger ship and plan to drill to the Earth’s core and take it.

It’s all fairly normal but where it gets interesting is in the addition of (SPOILERS) other Aliens. Yep, turns out the Aliens trying to destroy Earth have done it to many other planets and all the survivors of these destroyed species are banding together to fight the common enemy.

One of these other surviving Aliens, a white orb robot thing, arrives on Earth to recruit the Humans to lead the charge, go to them instead of waiting for them to come to us, sort of thing. It sounds silly but the Film makes a surprisingly good case for this to be the plot for Independence Day 3 and it actually sounds pretty appealing.

Why not I say. If it’s as fun as this Film, then I’m in.

What else? Well, there’s no Will Smith but his son Dylan (Jessie T. Usher) plays a fighter pilot along with another newbie Jake (Liam Hemsworth). There’s still Jeff Goldblum being Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman as the former president, suffering from major PTSD and his daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe) wants to fly again.

Then there’s the surprisingly diverse nature of its cast, for a while at least.

There’s a Woman president who doesn’t do much, an African Warlord who’s taken down multiple aliens and an Asian female fighter pilot called Rain Lao. Then there’s the return of Brent Spiner’s Dr Okun who gets quite a bit to do, conversing with the new Aliens and is revealed (not a great word) to be gay, which is nothing massive but it’s a nice step for inclusivity.

The new characters aren’t up to the heights of Smith or Goldblum but they don’t need to be.

There are, however, moments that stick out badly. Two big deaths. That of Jasmine Hiller who interestingly became a Doctor since the last Film, a great step up for a woman who was introduced as a stripper 20 years ago.

Sadly she dies rather quickly but it is kind of a shock despite it being another case of a missed opportunity, though it didn’t particularly hinder my enjoyment of the Film.

Also, Bill Pullman sacrifices himself to defeat the big mother Alien at the end but it happens very jarringly, the cuts so sudden that it completely takes away any emotion or impact. There’s definitely no “Hello boys, I’m back” here.

Still, the finale romped along so It didn’t bother me that much.

For all his showmanship, essentially creating the modern blockbuster, Emmerich takes the finale a step-down. Whereas all the destruction evident in the trailer happens nearer the beginning, the end is a big set piece set on the salt plains outside Area 51.

It takes away some of the CGI carnage and replaces it with some wonderful effects work on the main Alien Mother and an exciting showdown to save the Earth.

Then before you know it, we’re done. Boy, was that a quick two hours.

The Film has faults. It spends too much time on two new, white geeks instead of interesting and diverse characters, like an African warlord, French reporter or an Asian fighter pilot, for example.

Yet, it zips along. Instead of going from set piece to set piece it remains a surprisingly tidy Film with barely any wasted action and a good deal of Sci-Fi fun.

Goldblum is great as usual, his father is still there for good measure and everything is as dumb as it has always been. There’s also a limited amount of call backs, with only past characters being brought up to service the current plot.

And for me, it all just works. It’s not as noisy as you expect but equally as excitable and despite its faults, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I want to watch it again, even.

So, you may be put off by what the critics think but there’s no telling who will enjoy it. I know I did.

Rating: B+

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