Despite being 20 years overdue, disaster movie director Roland Emmerich continues his 1996 summer hit. Now with more advanced technology, Independence Day: Resurgence attempts to outdo the Oscar-winning visual effects of the original by adding quadruple the visual effects shots of what the original had. Almost all these effects are done with computers, but it still adds tremendous scale appropriately matching this newly arrived mother ship that took 20 years to improve for the next pursuit. This time, the ship is the size of the entire moon, and not even two decades could prepare our newly changed society for this.
There are many calls back to the first movie, and there are numerous subplots that span across the world, also like the original. Although there’s nothing quite as memorable as the shot of the White House getting blown to smithereens…
It all begins with the alternate 2016 from the world of this film series, where the current president is now a woman. Mankind now has a new meaning, for it took so much to recover from the war of ’96. But it paid off: they now have an international moon base where half-trillion dollar weapons are stationed in case of another invasion. Down in the state of Nevada, Area 51 is established as a grounds where they imprison the aliens. Over in Central Africa, the Rebel Forces now have high-advanced armory, and are working with America to analyze a mother ship that has rested there since the war.
This future is a pretty cool alternate reality, if only the characters lived up to it. Jeff Goldblum is back as the co-lead, and he is doing just about everything you’d expect Jeff Goldblum to do. As for the other stilted actors, Liam Hemsworth plays a new pilot on the moon base, and of course has some sort of love story with the typical female side character. Vivica A. Fox plays a potential love interest for Goldblum, and I could barely understand her half the time because of her accent. Jessie T. Usher is rather interesting as the son of Captain Hiller, but he mostly reminds us how much better this movie could have been with Will Smith.
But the focus isn’t on the acting. It’s on the intense, horrifying imagery that makes big summer movies so amazing. When the mother ship first arrives on Earth, genuine fear is felt as Britain’s major monuments burn up in the apocalyptic red smoke, ascending into zero gravity from the impact. Then from there, the mother ship launches its plasma beam into the earth’s core through the Atlantic Ocean.
Off in the US, places are flooded, leaving a bunch of possibly orphaned siblings to drive off with another man they rescued from the debris. These little personal elements add to the at-home feeling of how doomsday affects the entire world.
So sure enough, hundreds—literally hundreds of jets are sent out to fight the mother ship in an overwhelming blizzard of lasers. It’s spectacular to watch on a large screen, and may just as well be worth watching in 3D, if you don’t mind the overcrowding of things to look at on screen.
Although, I wonder if maybe the suspense could have been greater if we never saw the aliens. It’s not just that they were the worst special effect in the film, but because they simply did not add much to the enjoyment, and made the film’s overall impact less meaningful. But it is still nice to see the turquoise tint of the ship’s inside with the aliens’ simple design, just like old times.
I will admit, Independence Day: Resurgence doesn’t quite step it up from the movie we all grew up with, as its attempted message of worldly union is entirely forgotten by the last few moments. So it probably is not that worth the time to invest in, even with a third movie supposedly in the works…
Although the original Independence Day is not a very good movie, it still became the biggest box-office hit of 1996. Why? I say it had to do with public tastes at the time and America’s most common values.
The 90’s was a decade of reflecting back on history: we as a country went through a lot of turmoil that made us look terrible to the rest of the world. America was finally getting comfortable with its successes, particularly by the victory over the Cold War, and was finally looking forward to a new millennium.
Thus, Independence Day spoke out greatly to the people’s pride. They loved seeing how even alien invaders destroying the White House was not enough to rattle us. So naturally, the success of this movie meant a sequel had to be in the works. The problem? Well, it came out 20 years too late, when people moved on to other values that this concept could no longer resonate with.
I think people can turn so obsessed with exploiting things, which includes these franchises that producers use to nab money out of people’s pockets. They know that there are two things that cash in on success: nostalgia and big things. Independence Day: Resurgence has both.
I find it sickening how people today, like Hollywood’s overuse of sequels, have acquired the skill of using other people, something that can be overlooked when the person being used has autism.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #29: Will Kids Make Fun of Him?
Six-Word Lessons on Growing Up Autistic, Lesson #65: Every School Has a Big Bully.
These two lessons above specify kids with autism getting bullied, a cleverly repulsive method of smoothly taking advantage of others. In my sophomore and junior years in high school, a group of guys pretended to accept me into their circle of friends when in truth they were just faking the acceptance so that they could make me the butt of their jokes. While they didn’t always do it directly to my face, I still heard stories of them mocking me behind my back for my stupidity. Yet it wasn’t one of those things I knew right away. It took a long time for me to realize this. The saddest part is, I wasn’t the only autistic student in my high school who was targeted for bullying.
I could name two other kids with autism in my graduating class who were smooth-talked this way by students who only wanted to use their disabilities as ways to get a cheap laugh.
Even worse, this doesn’t stop after high school. To this day, most Americans by nature are exploitive in some ways. Movies are always a reflection of our society, and the fact that movies like this one are becoming franchises without much effort put into them proves that people are becoming less caring for what people actually want or need.
But it’s never too late to make a change.
If we just opened up our own perspective on ourselves and realized whenever we were exploiting somebody based on their weaknesses, then it would make us immediately more humble, instead praising others for their strengths.
- Warn your autistic child of the signs of bullying. Let him know that bullying does not often come in the stereotypical “Saturday Morning Cartoon” type of way. Tell him how it often is treated like Hollywood producers taking advantage of viewers and their money.
- Think about some milked movie franchise that you think needs to stop. How do you feel taken advantage of as a fan of the original within that franchise? Now, put that feeling in someone else’s shoes you feel you’ve taken advantage of.
- Consider who you have taken advantage of lately. It could have been a student or a coworker or a set of clients. Even if you don’t think the victim is aware of being exploited, it would show respectful character if you apologized.
If there is a specific movie in my Review List you’d like me to do an autism lesson on, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
"Independence Day" (1996) President's Address to the U.S. Fighter Pilots. American Rhetoric. Microsoft. Web. <http://www.americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/moviespeechindependenceday.html>.
Independence Day: Resurgence. Fox Movies. Web. <http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/independence-day-resurgence>.
Lambie, Ryan. Roland Emmerich interview: Independence Day Resurgence. DenOfGeek. Dennis Publishing, 22 Jun 2016. Web. <http://www.denofgeek.com/uk/movies/roland-emmerich/41605/roland-emmerich-interview-independence-day-resurgence>.
Park, Andrea. Watch the new trailer for "Independence Day: Resurgence". Digital image. CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 14 Dec 2015. Web. <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/watch-the-new-trailer-for-independence-day-resurgence/>.