John decides not to live near London, or any other famous capital city after watching Independence Day: Resurgence!
Independence Day was the huge summer blockbuster of 1996. With its iconic image of the White House being destroyed by an alien UFO as the main advertising point of the film, I became engrossed in the film that year.
I bought the prequel comic series that detailed the events of a handful of the main characters set before the events of the film as well as a multimedia ‘making of’ CD-ROM to quench my film nerd needs. It’s one of those films that are truly silly at times but great fun and I’ve owned it on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray.
So it was with great surprise that a couple of years ago it was announced that director Roland Emmerich and writer Dean Devlin teamed up once again to create a sequel.
So here we are twenty years later with the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence.
We always knew they were coming back. After INDEPENDENCE DAY redefined the event movie genre, the next epic chapter delivers global spectacle on an unimaginable scale. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.
As I already stated in the introduction, I did enjoy the original Independence Day and I think it still holds up pretty well today, so I was quite looking forward to this sequel which will no doubt feature a huge amount of Roland Emmerich’s disaster porn as seen in the original film as well as his other works, 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow.
The story is quite simple. During the last dying moments of the alien species, as they were defeated by David Levinson’s (Jeff Goldblum) computer virus, they managed to send out an SOS message requesting backup. However, due to the effects of the wormhole and the distance from their help, the message took twenty years before it was received and action was taken.
Back on Earth, the human race has been waiting for this moment and twenty years has given us plenty of time to prepare. The alien technology from the crashed spacecraft has been studied and replicated and now we have weapons ranging from laser rifles, fighter jets with anti-gravity technology all the way up to huge laser cannons placed upon the moon’s surface. All of this in preparation for a counter attack we knew might happen.
Despite all this new technology, as you can already guess, once the alien cavalry arrive they soon begin to kick our asses once again and this time there’s not going to be a simple turning point that will change the outcome of the war to our favour.
There are two major story threads in this film that will merge as the film reaches its climax. The first of these plot threads is lead once again by David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) who is now the director of the ESD, Earth Space Defence.
After travelling to Africa to explore a crashed but intact alien destroyer, it is David who discovers that the aliens sent out a distress call just before they were defeated.
The other half of the story revolves around a new set of cast members to this sequel lead by Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth). As a lieutenant in the ESD, he will fight to protect the Earth and he also battles with his friends to become squadron leader.
The current squadron leader is Dylan Dubrow-Hiller (Jessie Usher), the son of Will Smith’s character from the original film. Smith turned down the request to appear in this film and it’s revealed his character was killed during a test flight of a new aircraft which contained elements of new alien technology.
There are other actors who have returned to reprise their roles from the original Independence Day including Bill Pullman as the former president Thomas Whitmore, and yes, he does give another morale boosting speech once again.
Vivica A. Fox returns as Captain Hiller’s wife, Jasmine. As you may recall, the first film showed her as an exotic dancer, but now fifteen years later, she’s a hospital administrator. She only has a couple of scenes and they seem only to exists as a “here’s someone from the original” moment.
Judd Hirsch returns as David’s father, Julius. Whilst he’s a fun character to have around on screen, it was a lot less than that of the original.
But what these past few paragraphs have been leading up to is the real star of this film, the return of Dr. Okun (Brent Spiner). It was never revealed what had happened to Okun in the original film, but obviously, he has survived albeit in a coma.
The return of the alien presence awakens him from his coma and he appears in the film as the main comic relief and to help explain the aliens to the audience. Quite simply he is the best character in the film with all the best lines and comedic moments.
The film’s visual effects have also improved since the original, well almost all of them. As I previously mentioned, this film features more shots of world famous landmarks being destroyed by the alien menace.
I have to note that once again in a mainstream Hollywood film, London is another main target for attack, this time destroyed by a huge lump of Asia! The carnage really has been amped up several notches to try and outdo the original.
What really let the visual effects down are the green screen shots. Several times throughout the film, the characters are supposed to be in a certain location, for example in an aircraft hangar or the desert of South Africa, but to me at least, it’s very obvious that they’re on a Hollywood stage and the surrounding vista was placed in afterwards by a technician at a computer terminal.
Normally, I don’t get so aggressive about bad special effects but these shots really took me out of the film and I don’t understand how the quality was so low when others were on a higher level.
Overall I did find the Independence Day: Resurgence generally entertaining, which means I enjoyed watching it but I don’t have any real desire to see it again.
The film simply tries to outdo its predecessor with a flashier display of destruction and to be honest; I’d rather watch the original Independence Day again.