Independence Day: Resurgence (PG-13)
03/07/16 22:43 Filed in: 2016
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Liam Hemsworth
The below comments (in Black) were originally tweeted in Real-time from the back row of a movie theater and appear @BackRoweReviews. Though efforts were made to tease rather than ruin this movie’s memorable lines and moments, some spoilers may exist in the following evaluation (in Red). For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. All ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!
The War of 1996. Won by a #Mac.
“You don’t get credit for cleaning up your own mess.” Touchy, isn’t he?
#JeffGoldblum uses the word “tenacious.” Reference #JurassicPark.
“Welcome to the moon.” The scenery is kinda, eh.
The slippery floor line is amusing.
“Did we win?” #Data wakes up from a coma.
“Did the giant flag give it away?” Ha! #China
“We need to know who we just shot down.” Might’ve learned that first. #ShootFirst
“That is definitely bigger than the last one.” #ThatsWhatSheSaid
A controlled dive is still a fall.
#NewYorkCity is raptured.
“We have alien guns?” LOL
Alien within an alien. Gross.
“Why didn’t you tell me my butt was hanging out?” Hilarious!
Amazing FX on the air strike.
“Their enemy is our ally.” Duh! And you blasted them to smithereens.
How fortunate that the environment inside the mother ship has oxygen for our heroes to breathe.
The alien queen in the bus’ side view mirror is reminiscent of the T-Rex in #JurassicPark.
That’s it, fire your lasers up the alien queen’s bunghole. #VulnerableSpot
Final analysis: a predictable sequel with some amusing one-liners and superb visual FX.
Rating: 2 out of 4. Nice to see the original cast, especially @BrentSpiner who steals the show.
The first Independence Day (1996) was a frenetic and fun-filled alien invasion romp that won over audiences with its effective blend of action and humor along with a story that didn’t take itself too seriously (remember the scene where Julius Levinson (Judd Hirsch) tells President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) where all the extra money goes for each $30,000 toilet seat purchased by the government?). In the new ID, subtitled Resurgence, the charm has worn off and we’re left with a story so predictable and derivative it gives sequels everywhere in the universe a bad name. The story begins with a “shoot first, ask questions later” sequence where reactionary earthbound commander-in-chief (Sela Ward) orders twitchy fingered moon base commander (Chin Han) to destroy an imposing ball-shaped alien craft. David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and the audience are the only ones smart enough to notice the radical variation in design between the space ball and the original alien mother ship; this discrepancy sets up a “surprise” twist later in the story. Soon after the mini Death Star is destroyed, a continent sized alien ship arrives and crash lands on Earth (which would create an extinction level event, but no matter). Taking a cue from Aliens (1986), this sequel also features an alien queen. The queen proves to be far craftier than her single-minded predecessors: she plans to drill into Earth’s outer core and extract the fluid there since her planet has already depleted its store of precious core matter (raiding Earth for its resources is just one of many alien invasion movie tropes). Since the aliens in the first film were simply out to conquer our world, this shift in strategy is more than a little curious (lest we forget, that movie’s tagline was: “They only want one thing…DESTRUCTION!). The whole notion that killing the queen will send the rest of her minions scattering like mice on the lower decks of the Titanic is also a new wrinkle that, though logical when applying hive dynamics, sets up a built-in resolution that’s obvious, anti-climactic and a colossal cop out by the writers. And speaking of narrative shortcuts, what about the oxygen atmosphere inside the mother ship...why can we breathe their air and the aliens can breathe ours? Oh, and follow this logic: we can’t destroy the mother ship, but we can destroy the ball-like vessel which is the greatest threat to the mother ship. Huh? Other than its plot oddities, this movie’s greatest drawback is its similarities to the original film. The aerial attack on the mother ship, the alien assault on Area 51, a solo pilot engaging in a suicide mission and refugees befriending each other out in the middle of a desert are all conventions established in the first film. The only new element here that has any real-world relevance is how humans use alien technology against the aliens in a twist on the events of 9-11. Besides the handful of returning characters, some new faces grace the sequel, including: pilot Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), General Adams (William Fichtner) and too-young-to-drive Sam (Joey King). None of the movie’s characters are three-dimensional and most barely qualify as one-dimensional. Director Roland Emmerich’s patented “action over plot” methodology is in full force here as rapid succession conflicts curtail any meaningful moments or genuine character interactions. In fact, there isn’t a living, breathing character anywhere in the movie…the closest is Brent Spiner’s Dr. Brakish Okun who at least provides some color and humor to the proceedings. The one name conspicuously absent from the cast this time around is Will Smith (who wisely passed on this film in favor of the upcoming Suicide Squad). The indomitable swagger Smith exhibited in the first film is sorely missing in the sequel, which is replete with tepid performances. Likewise, for an end-of-the-world film, Resurgence is strangely dispassionate. Perhaps the fact that our heroes defeated the aliens once before has given them a quiet confidence that they can do it again. Be that as it may, the faced-with-extinction urgency that permeated the first film is nowhere to be found in this perfunctory plot which simply assumes that our heroes will kick the alien’s posterior regions by the two hour mark and that we’ll all live happily ever after…except for those inhabiting regions that were flattened by the mother ship, of course. This highlights another fallacy of disaster movies: who cleans up the mess, rebuilds civilization and recovers lost monuments once the dust has settled from an alien incursion? Maybe when the writers sift through the ruins of this movie they’ll find just enough original material to turn the franchise into a trilogy. If not, they should just leave the series to wallow in the heap of ashes that is this movie’s plot.