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.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, 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/>.