REVIEW: Independence Day: Resurgence

Eh, there are worse ways to waste your life.

When I fist saw the trailer for Independence Day: Resurgence I was worried that this was going to be a darker more serious Independence Day movie. But that trailer was misleading because this movie is DUMB. Like, really dumb. Like, dumber than the original dumb. And a different kind of dumb, in that it tends more toward generic scfi-dumb instead of just Roland Emmerich dumb.

The original Independence Day hits the right calibration of dumb fun and heartfelt drama and tension. It had a great cast and it everyone had their own memorable moment. There’s enough shit in there to make the argument that it’s a bad movie, but overall it just works and it’s very rewatchable.

I cannot say the same about this sequel. Will Smith’s absence leaves a hole in the movie, and trying to fill that hole with Liam Hemsworth and Jessie T. Usher just does not work. Those characters are positioned the part of the movie that’s just trying to have fun, but I don’t like them at all which kind of undercuts that. Bill Pullman is playing just a very weird version of his character from the last version, and while he does get his moment (Really the best emotional bullet in this movie’s chamber) it just feels like you could have gotten so much more use out of him. Jeff Goldblum is just kind of… there. He just doesn’t get to do or say anything memorable. Brent Spiner’s character feels like a maudlin feel to it that doesn’t work. I don’t really get why they brought back Vivica Fox given what they do with her. Judd Hirsch… just… no.

What I’m getting at is that this movie lacks the emotional core AND the comedic touch, that made the first movie special. I just didn’t care.

Independence Day also came at a time when movies about city destruction held visual appeal, which is not the case anymore. It’s just been done too many times. (With Emmerich himself definitely guilty of going to that well too many times.) The destruction in ID: Resurgence is just too big, too ridiculous. It all looks fake and it all feels fake. That could actually be OK, but the movie still sticks too close to the formula of the original movie. Multiple Times characters flat out say that the new Alien mothership is much bigger than the one from the first movie (which is the same mistake The Force Awakens made with the Starkiller Base), but they never make the stakes feel any bigger. It just hammers home how less impressive this new threat is because the movie is shoving the comparison in our face.

This needed a force of personality to just stand up and punch the aliens in the face and knock ’em out. Like Will Smith or Asura.

Given that fact, I has a surprisingly ok time watching this. It’s totally the benefit of low expectations, but I had an ok time. I do think this is easily Roland Emmerich’s best movie in well over a decade. This is dumb camp and I was ok with that. If you want anything more though just stay away. If I had liked the characters I could have been really into this.

The part that actually kind of infuriates me is how hard this movie sequel baits. The entire climax of the plot revolves around setting up this as a franchise, to the point where I was just thinking “Well why didn’t you just make that movie instead of retreading the plot of Independence Day, at least that’s an idea for something different.” It’s super annoying to watch a movie that’s really just an add for another movie, and also super importantly, I kind of hate all the new characters that they’re supposed to be selling me on. I kinda like this franchise premise as a dumb thing, but they need to scrub this cast to make it work.

Again, there’s some stuff here (which I don’t want to spoil) but I can’t recommend this either. If it happens to be on and in the right mood though you could have an ok time. I had time to kill and was at a theater where I could lie down so I was chill for this movie’s brand of crap. It is what it is.