STARRING: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie T. Usher, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Patrick St. Esprit, Vivica A. Fox, Angelababy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Deobia Oparei, Nicolas Wright, Travis Tope, Ng Chin Han, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Robert Loggia, John Storey, Joey King, Jenna Purdy, Garrett Wareing, James A. Woods, Mckenna Grace, Hays Wellford and Robert Neary
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?
Twenty years have passed since Earth discovered they weren’t alone in the universe which almost resulted in the extinction of the human race. Now, the nations of Earth have collaborated together to create a defence program to protect the planet known as the ESD (Earth Space Defence) using the alien technology scattered around the globe after the attack. Unbeknownst to them however is that the aliens before they were either captured or killed managed to send a distress signal to its home planet, leading to a more advanced alien attack heading their way for a new group of men and women to overcome.
Independence Day: Resurgence is the sequel that I never thought that would come to be, given that it has been twenty years since the original film. Independence Day came out at the exact right time for me to just enjoy the hell out of the summer blockbuster film which was cheesy but made me care for the characters involved and also be wowed by the special effects, such as the destruction sequences that left me in awe in how they achieved it. I was initially skeptical on Resurgence as previous sequels that come over a decade after the original (e.g’s with Dumb and Dumber To and Zoolander 2) seem to rely on nostalgia and repeating the same thing again. Could Resurgence overcome that and feel fresh in the present day?
The initial stages of the first act shows us how we’ve come along as a race using the alien technology to set up a defence program (known as ESD), from planetary satellite defences and also have this defence base set up on the moon, as well as mesh the alien tech into are fighter jets and weaponry, I found that stuff to be the most interesting aspect to see how this unfolded through the course of the film. The special effects in certain sequences worked well for me, from the first glimpse of alien mothership surfacing above the moon, to how its new weapon causes destruction in Hong Kong. It’s also good to see the return of Jeff Goldblum’s David Levinson and Bill Pullman’s Thomas J. Whitmore characters and admittedly not only do they add to the nostalgia factor of the original but give the film some added depth, particularly with the latter suffering the consequences and trauma from the first alien attack which gives him a nice arc to deal with. Out of the newcomers to this world, I enjoyed Deobia Oparei’s warlord Dikembe Umbutu, a leader of a resistance that has fought against the aliens for years after the attack and honestly, though I still think his character was bland, Liam Hemsworth does his best to have some fun in the role as Jake Morrison. Oddly the scene I most enjoyed/found sad was the Robert Loggia cameo as General William Grey, one of his final film appearances on the big screen. It’s a quick scene but a nice nod on a man that had a major role in the original film. I also enjoyed the dog fight sequence that takes place, even though it’s a bit difficult at times to distinguish which ships are human/alien.
Unfortunately I found the film to have many problems for me that just brought the overall experience down. There’s already a host of returning characters appearing here from the original and yet not only could a few have been dropped from it (as much as I love Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner, they took up way too much screen time), they managed to double the amount of new characters to feature here and even a few of them could have been dropped (I have no idea why they thought the Florida kids plot was a good idea). Speaking of characters taking up too much screentime, I have a feeling that Nicolas Wright’s (who happens to be one of the screenwriters of this film) character Floyd Rosenberg will irritate a few people as his character primarily exists to bring light comedic moments to the film and it just didn’t work for me. With the film not having Will Smith’s Steven Hiller, the sequel sees Jessie T. Usher come into the role as his stepson Dylan Dubrow-Hiller and is so incredibly bland in the role. Basically the new film lacks that spark of energy and charisma that was there in the original film and you can honestly tell when watching Resurgence that it does miss someone like Will Smith within this film. As much as I like Maika Monroe as an actress (you only have to view The Guest and It Follows to see why), she had the toughest ride out of everyone before this film was released as she was recast in the role as Patricia Whitmore which was originally portrayed by Mae Whitman. After watching this film, while Monroe does fine in the role, she is rather limited in terms of given much to do in the film that some will question this recasting even more so now. The script itself is disjointed as attempts to build characters and then in the second half of the film it just decides to bench it and go all out on chaos and it’s big, loud and CGI-heavy chaos at that, involving a final act sequence that will either have some people buy into it or just turn off the film officially at that point. I know that Emmerich has intended to have a follow up film in line after Resurgence but seriously, that final scene was the best that they come up with to set up the sequel? Literally they might as well have had the character look at the character and say ‘We’ll be seeing you next time on Independence Day 3!’. Admittedly the score from Harald Kloser and Thomas Wanker didn’t leave that much of an impression on me at all but I couldn’t help but smile with nostalgia once David Arnold’s score work from the original was used at certain points of the film.
Emmerich and Co. had twenty years to prepare in creating the sequel and personally for me Resurgence overall just didn’t work as the execution just didn’t live up to the premise. The film has some new toys and new designs yet literally plays to the same beat as the original, with original cast members Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman at least bringing some gravitas to their characters while the new characters are literally two-dimensional to care about. 4/10