Walking into the theater, there was one thing I knew this movie would need to address. In the very first film, there is a scene in which the President addresses an alien at Area 51, and experiences a form of a mental telepathic attack. After this attack, he says that he saw into their thoughts and how they lived. By moving their entire society from planet to planet, consuming every last available natural resource before moving into the next planet. Well if that's true, then by some measure of standards, this sequel shouldn't exist. We won. We foiled an alien invasion with the heroic sacrifice of Randy Quaid, a computer virus, and a good old fashioned can of whoop-ass. And I called it one of the funnest alien invasion movies you can see. So...do they address this plot point? Did they make this sequel worthwhile?
Well...if I'm gonna be brutally honest, no they kinda didn't. But it's still the fun you'd expect from Roland Emmerich. Right off the bat as the opening logos fade away, you are treated to a visual experience, one which almost makes me wanna recommend a 3D viewing of the film, as the visuals can at times be absolutely incredible to watch, from the exciting action, to alien drone swarms, to the backgrounds themselves. But as far as actual storyline, character, and overall enjoyability is concerned, Independence Day: Resurgence falls short of its predecessor. Now granted, the first film is no masterpiece, but the simplicity in that movie, the fact that it knows not to take itself too seriously, the clichés that it pulls off yet somehow gets away with, make it a very enjoyable film for me. Add a kickass soundtrack to that, and it's a movie I will continue to defend, despite its flaws.
Enter Resurgence. I will go ahead and give a bit of a warning, I may talk MINOR spoilers here. I don't usually talk spoilers, but in this case...I'm not too worried. Literally two decades later, we are given surprisingly very little as to what has happened since the "War of '96". While we do get a bit of a background as to what's been going on since then, it's very brief. We figure out that Will SMith's character was killed in that time period, we get that we've adapted the alien technology of our own, and that the world has been united in peace since the aliens first attacked us. We've got orbital defenses (which honestly kinda do jack shit in this movie, surprise surprise), there's a lot of tribute paying to the heroes of 1996, and life is good. Then the aliens come back...again, they kinda address that we knew they'd be back, despite them saying that they attack planets as a society. But at the same time, this little detail is kinda glanced over. Thus begins...a very confusing story honestly.
The first Independence Day has a simple story that has been told before, but tells it in its own unique way that is fun and followable. Here, I found the beginning of this movie dragging on itself, and even when things started to happen, I found it hard to follow. Maybe I just gotta see it again, but they don't do a very good job of passing the torch for a new generation. I am getting the feeling that Independence Day is trying to do what Star Wars did back in December. Reboot something for a younger audience. The thing is, none of the newer characters are that memorable enough to warrant it. So many of them are forgettable. The stereotypes are even blander than the first film, and we barely get time to know any of these characters. From a guy who kills aliens for a living...to this guy who literally no one likes, who manages to get maybe five minutes of glory in the film. Good job rookie. Hell, even some of the older characters that appear didn't even need to be here. Like David's father. You know, the Jewish stereotype from the first movie. What the heck is he doing in this film? His role serves absolutely no purpose to the story. He could have been killed off, or cut from the film entirely, and the story would literally be no different. Honestly, the only two characters that I found even remotely likable in this film were Brent Spiner, and Jeff Goldblum's characters, which I'm sorry to say, I can't exactly remember Brent Spiner's character name. I was actually surprised to see him in this film, as the first film gives you the idea that his character was killed.
Another disappointing thing about Resurgence is that the soundtrack...is nowhere NEAR on par with that of the first film. I kinda saw this coming. Much respect to Harold Kloser, he did fantastic music for "The Day After Tomorrow", but I don't think Independence Day is exactly his strongsuit here. While the soundtrack has its moments, there is nothing that really carries the scene, like David Palmer's score does in the first film. Sure you hear the classic theme at the end credits, and a couple times in the film, but it seems a bit out of place. The soundtrack of the first film pushes forward that the film is meant to be taken lightly, and strictly for fun. This seems more like a serious alien invasion film, and Roland Emmerich, I love the guy, but he's not capable of doing that. And with a subplot that I won't give away here in this movie, which is just baiting for yet another sequel at the end of this film, I'm not sure I exactly like where this series is going. The final words of this film are literally "We're going to be kicking some serious alien ass." Right there, they might as well put in bold letering "See you in Independence Day 3! Right after we do an unnecessary reboot of the Stargate film!"
I may be hampering down on this film, as if I hate it, but truth is, I don't. As I said, Roland Emmerich's mastery of visual effects is still present. When we see the action, it can be absolutely mind blowing at times. The alien's field of gravity, altering that of objects in it's vicinity (which seems improbable, but it looks gorgeous) is absolutely mind boggling. The combat, both in the air and on the ground is as fun as it always was and towards the end, I got feelings that I would get from watching a Godzilla movie. When the action gets going in this film, we can finally get that sense of light-hearted fun that the first movie portrays. It's just a damn shame that those moments just aren't nearly as present as they are in the first film. Maybe the charm of Will Smith really WAS needed here? I may be putting too much thought into this movie. Maybe I wasn't exactly fully prepared to see this movie in the way that I should have. I guess I like Independence Day to the point where getting this sequel was something I expected Roland to hit dead on target. I mean...this is something he has a lot of fun ideas with. Lately, he's been trying to hammer home films that touch on global warming or homosexual issues, and he's missing the target. Seeing him go back into the territory that he's good at, and missing the target at times, makes me wonder if the guy needs to take a break. I don't know.
Independence Day: Resurgence scores a two and a half star rating out of four for me. The action and visuals carry the film where the story, and characters do not. But the overall story is forgettable, and the fact that it is just begging for a sequel just makes me slightly annoyed. I know this sequel wasn't needed, but we should have seen it coming. I was hoping for something along the lines of likability in the first film, and while I enjoyed it for what it was, it needed more of the magic the first film had. Whether that was better music, stronger characters, a more familiar story...whatever it was. If you were to ask me if you should see it right away? Honestly that would depend. If you want a good action movie with little story, sure, go ahead. If you're hoping for a worthy sequel, I'd save the money. Rent it or see it in a cheaper theater. It breaks my heart to say that, but if Roland expects me to be merciful just because he's a bit of a guilty pleasure for me...he's gonna have to impress me with this upcoming sequel that we'll probably see in a few years...don't let me down Roland.
Please feel free to suggest any movies for me to have a look at down below. Leave a comment describing your own thoughts on the film, and as always, thanks for reading.
Final Verdict: 2.5/4