Friday, June 24, 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence review

By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B- (3 stars)
The aliens are back to destroy mankind in Independence Day: Resurgence

            Here we go again, another sequel released over ten years after the first film to capitalize on its success. The film industry has been doing that a lot lately, haven’t they? Last year we had Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World, Terminator: Genisys, Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation, Spectre, and of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
            This year we had Zoolander 2, X-Men: Apocalypse, Finding Dory, and now Independence Day: Resurgence, the sequel to director, Roland Emmerich’s (Stargate, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012) 1996 smash hit, Independence Day. The first film was a huge box office hit when it first came out, although the reviews were pretty much split down the middle with critics, it made a lot of money, thanks to some breathtaking special effects and a really clever marketing campaign, it became one of the highest grossing movies of the 1990s alongside Titanic and Jurassic Park.
            The marketing campaign for the first movie was ingenious, back then we didn’t know what was going to happen in the movie and the trailer said a lot but showed very little, I’m not kidding, all they showed in the trailer was the White House getting blown up. Naturally that got a lot of people’s attention so everyone flooded to the movie theaters to see it.
            As a kid, I enjoyed it but today whenever I revisit Independence Day I always notice flaws in the story and characters. I’m probably not giving anything away but Roland Emmerich is best at destroying stuff but not so much at developing characters or an engaging story.
            Pretty much the only things I look forward to whenever I watch it are the action sequences (Which were undeniably amazing at the time) and Will Smith’s enjoyably cheesy but charming performance. I don’t hate the movie, but it’s certainly no Star Wars, Alien, or Jurassic Park.
            So twenty years later and after several misfires with The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 BC, and White House Down, Emmerich returns to his sci-fi roots with Independence Day: Resurgence. When I first saw the trailer before Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I raised my eyebrow and thought “Seriously?”, there was no point in this movie existing and knowing that Emmerich’s last films that were legitimately decent were Independence Day and The Patriot, I had very low expectations with this, not to mention that got rid of the Smith Man, come on.
            But seeing how Independence Day was a huge hit when it first came out, I decided to give the new film a chance and went to one of my local IMAX 3D theaters and watched it. And I basically have the exact same opinion on this movie as the first film.
            Like the first movie, Independence Day: Resurgence is short on interesting characters and gripping story. But the film shortly makes up for it with some very impressive action sequences and special effects, not to mention some new variations of action, so it’s not a complete rehash of the first film.
            After the war of 1996 against the aliens, planet Earth knows they are not alone in the universe and have now upgraded their defense forces with alien technology left over from the battle. We’ve had twenty years to prepare for another close encounter…but so did they.
            The former president, Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman-Spaceballs, Sleepless in Seattle, Casper) has a vision of the aliens’ return to destroy mankind and comes to warn the world that the aliens are coming back. But it won’t be as easy as it was the last time, there are much more aliens this time around, the mothership is “Bigger than the last one”, and there’s a giant alien queen in there, so yeah we’re screwed.
            In comes our heroes, U.S. pilot and lieutenant of ESD, Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth-Knowing, The Hunger Games franchise, The Expendables 2), scientist, David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum-The Fly, Jurassic Park, The Grand Budapest Hotel), former First Daughter, Patricia Whitmore (Maika Monroe-Labor Day, The Guest, It Follows (Replacing Mae Whitman from the first film)), and Dylan Dubrow-Hiller (Jessie Usher-Level Up, InAPPropriate Comedy, When the Game Stands Tall (Replacing Ross Bagley from the first film)), pilot and captain of the ESD and the son of now-deceased war hero, Steven Hiller (Will Smith’s character from the first film) to lead an army of soldiers to victory as they fight for survival and to save their planet.
            The film also stars William Fichtner-The Longest Yard, Blades of Glory, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as U.S. General and current president, Joshua Adams, Vivica A. Fox (Soul Food, Kill Bill, Sharknado 2: The Second One) as Steven Hiller’s widow and Dylan’s mother, Jasmine Dubrow-Hiller, Judd Hirsch (Taxi, Ordinary People, Without A Trace) as David’s father, Julius Levinson, Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Dude, Where’s My Car?) as the easily excitable scientist, Dr. Brakish Okun, and Sela Ward (Double Jeopardy, The Fugitive, Gone Girl) as the 45th president of the United States, Elizabeth Lanford.
            Overall, Independence Day: Resurgence is a fun popcorn flick, is it anything groundbreaking? No, is it heavy on plot and character? No, but it’s at least entertaining and a fun way to turn off your brain and enjoy some dumb summer blockbuster entertainment for a couple hours. The special effects are still very impressive, the action is gripping, and sometimes characters like Goldblum get a laugh here and there, and there are new variations of action sequences.
            It doesn’t do much new in terms of plot, going in I think you know what’s going to happen in the end. My advice is if you’re just looking for dumb fun for a couple hours you won’t be disappointed, but if you’re looking to be tested and be engaged with characters and story, this isn’t your flick, I would suggest Captain America: Civil War or X-Men: Apocalypse way above this movie.
Not sure what else to say but…

Sorry I couldn’t resist!

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