Independence Day: Resurgence movie full length review - I Almost Fell Asleep
It's 2016, and apparently what audience's really wanted from an Independence Day sequel was to return to the 90s, because that's what watching this movie feels like.
Yet I don't feel it would have done any better back then. The corniness of the original movie was a byproduct of it's time, so it's forgivable. Cheesy one-liners, and rekindled romances that don't really come out of anywhere; on which note, those romantic interests are also the ones completely left behind in the final action sequence.
I'm just going to cut to the chase about why I didn't like this movie. I'm obviously not the biggest fan of the original movie. It's enjoyable, but I can live without it. What was great was it's sense of apocalyptic doom, and the wanton destruction left in the aliens' wake. Resurgence lacks that almost entirely. All those scenes of destruction in the trailer are crammed into about five minutes and then largely forgotten about. At least the first movie has some debate on and awareness of the sheer loss of life. Even if characters aren't built up enough for us to get attached, we sort of feel for the deaths from the reactions of other characters. Resurgence cuts that out as well. The most we get is a single tear from a loved one during the daring kamikaze run reminiscent of Randy Quaid's noble sacrifice.
Resurgence isn't a complete failure. I can't fault it entirely, because there are a handful of good ideas here. I was reasonably captivated during the movie's early moments because the passage of time was shown quite well. It's been twenty years, and the state of the world has moved along to a technologically prosperous world peace (barring that one African warlord who had to take on the aliens by himself). Levinson is now a major player in the UN, Whitmore is now ex-president who suffers from his mental invasion by the captive alien first time around, little Patricia Whitmore and Dylan Hiller are now all grown up with interlocking histories from inside the Air Force, Jasmine is somehow a senior medical consultant at a city hospital (from stripper to boss of a hospital department in twenty years, impressive), and it turns out Dr. Okun wasn't actually dead, but had been in a coma the whole time. Oh and by the way, he's gay.
What really grabbed me about the passage of time was this new sci-fi world of Fusion Drives, massive laser cannons on the moon, and giant television screens the size of the White House used for formal addresses about easy victories over aliens that may or may not have been friendly. Resurgence definitely felt more like a sci-fi movie than an alien invasion movie, as the alien tech we got from the first invasion has transformed our world entirely. More crucially, it's not just us vs the aliens any more. It's us plus some alien robots (apparently with some other aliens) vs the aliens. The new weaponry as well was super cool, even if they did seem to have tracking so untrained users could hit with one hundred percent of their shots.
Resurgence is, unsurprisingly, rife with CGI in order to bring this new world order to life. It's used to good effect most of the time; breathing more life and fluidity into the aliens, adding extra detail work to the ships so they're more than just just vague monoliths in the sky, and making the scale of destruction even bigger. By which I mean picking up entire countries worth of landmarks and cities, and dumping them on other countries and cities. Seeing the Petronus towers fall on London Bridge was impressive, although I did wonder why (and how) London and other cities were built back up again, including their ancient, irreplaceable landmarks.
So, uh, yeah. I did not rate Resurgence. Not because I wanted something deep and serious, but because it lacked what made the first movie enjoyable despite it's flaws. Resurgence's comedy is completely unfunny (to me at least, the guy behind us seemed to be having a whale of a time laughing every five minutes), and it's corniness was something I thought we had left behind, or at least refined, since the 80s and 90s, but apparently not. It has some interesting ideas, and the base story itself held promise, but there wasn't enough destruction, the action was dull, and the whole thing felt a bit like a soulless parody of the original. I give it a bad, but not completely awful 4/10.