We’ve had 20 years to prepare…so did they. It’s a tag line that has rang through the theaters for the last year and this weekend the bad, intergalactic, space bugs from 1996 have returned with a vengeance. Hi Robbie K here, and today we review yet another summer sequel entitled Independence Day: Resurgence. As always, I’m here to share my thoughts, ideas, and opinions to inform whether this sequel is a success or a flop. Let’s get started.
- Action scenes better animated
- Original cast rocks the screen
Back in 1996, I remember being wowed by the “state-of-the-art” graphics the first installment brought in. Watching the planes take on the big bad pod ships used to have me on the edge of my seat and cheering in delight. Well twenty years gave us plenty of time to prepare better special effects and the battles are an even better display of computer processing power. The new combat ships fly much smoother, the explosions are much bigger, and the laser blasts are even more multicolored on the big screen. While the art design is a little hokey at points, the visuals are geared towards more exciting action moments, hoping to bring more detail to yet another 3-D showing. It’s flashy and over the top to say the least, but it certainly lives up to what the trailer promised.
But even better for this critic was seeing the characters from 20 years back in the seat. The original cast (for the most part) made up the quality parts of the movie. Jeff Goldblum dives right back into his character bringing both satirical comedy with serious “science” to try and save our cans again. Bill Pullman as the president also carries the same, over zealous, patriotic spirit that united our world to fight against the menace from the sky. But it was Brent Spiner as Dr. Okun (the crazy haired anatomy who supposedly died in the first film) whose roll I mostly enjoyed. The original cast just brought the nostalgia back to me and helped keep me grounded in the ridiculous plot unfolding. The new characters weren’t bad mind you, and the younger cast has a promising future, but their characters were more sex appeal than anything else.
Yet the thing that was most entertaining in this film…was the comedy. I know, not what you expect right, but Independence Day 2 brought more comedic punch than anything else. Spiner’s character is like something out of the Big Bang where curiosity, obsession, and nerdiness are unleashed with a Sheldon Cooper presentation. The quirky one-liners, extremely silly drama, and slapstick humor was indeed entertaining for me, albeit distracting from the goal of the film. There are plenty of other pot shot comments and moments through the film involving unnecessary tangents (like sailors getting drunk) to impromptu parenting that are all there to relieve the “tension” that was built up.
- Not as suspenseful
- Lacks emotional punch/connection
- The Story for Pete’s sake
Independence Day 2’s weaknesses start with the lack of suspense. I remember in the first movie being scared stiff as the clock ticked away to some unknown move by the creatures, or in that terrifying alien surgery scene. But in this movie…nothing of the sort happened. This usually is the case when 3-D computer visuals are the focus, and ID2 is another example of flashy special effects diluting the suspense they meant to bring.
But the suspense is not the only thing lacking in this movie. Again in the first film, I remember being sad or angry when characters were eliminated (poor Jimmy). You felt the punch in the gut, but scream/cry out in frustration. This film didn’t even come close to that for me. Key characters, who we had little time to get acquainted with, were lost in the most rushed ways that you didn’t have time to process the emotions before being whisked to another flashy display. Oh well, who needs emotion in a science fiction right? That seems to be the thought these days.
Perhaps the thing that robbed the movie of all these qualities though was the ridiculous story of ID2. I know the first installment was not the most realistic, and had plenty of plot holes and cheesiness to meet your fill. However, this sequel took all that and amplified ten fold. The plot essentially had too much it tried to accomplish, trying to make everything bigger, badder, and bolder while still trying to capture the nostalgia. In my opinion, they put too much emphasis on the bigger aspect, making the giant ship ridiculously giant to cover the entire Atlantic is just one example of the over the top antics that failed to deliver. They might have been able to deliver on the threat, but I feel they tried to jam too much into the film that they failed to bring any strong plot to the mix. And they way they ended, I shudder to think of how cornier the next installment is going to be.
Surprise, surprise, Independence Day Resurgence is not quite the sequel we were hoping it would be. The over the top grandiosity and rushed pace fail to deliver a semi decent plot, and the comedy, while enjoyable, only further dilutes from taking this film seriously. While the visuals are certainly the strongest aspect, and the original characters breathe some life into the blandness, they took too much emphasis in my opinion. And that ending…a rushed, convenient sweep up that robbed me of any satisfaction whatsoever. Based on this review you can guess that the only redeeming quality for a theater visit is the special effects. This reviewer however, encourages you to wait for this to hit home.
Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 7.0 (for the action)
Movie Overall: 5.5-6.0