“Independence Day: Resurgence” hopes to capture nostalgia 20 years later

independence day resurgence
You could generously call the decision to hide Independence Day: Resurgence from critics an “unconventional” choice. 20th Century Fox initially wasn’t screening the movie at all before it opened, then opted to only show it earlier today at a press screening hours after it hit screens, that’s not much of a sign of confidence. It’s odd too, considering how well regarded the original is and how well nostalgia worked for Jurassic World last year. Well, I hate to be the one to say it, but they were right to hide this one. It’s out now and likely will do strong business, but the quality drop between Independence Day and Independence Day: Resurgence is staggering. What a shame too.

I’m sure everyone knows what this flick is about, but just quickly, I’ll state the obvious that it’s a sequel to the disaster epic that more or less re-invented the modern summer blockbuster. Set 20 years after the first one, we catch up with almost every character from the first one (minus Will Smith, who has his character killed off since he passed on the project), along with a new generation of folks who will become heroes. You see, while Earth has integrated alien technology and made a bit of a utopia, the aliens have been planning revenge and are on their way. Once they arrive, everything is just bigger (though not better) than last time. I won’t even pretend to tell you where the plot goes, but it doesn’t make a lick of sense, that’s for sure. Roland Emmerich returns to direct, as well as co-write with his original partner Dean Devlin, who also had screenplay help from James Vanderbilt, James A. Woods, and Nicholas Wright. The cast consists of returning champions Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Bill Pullman, Brent Spiner, Vivica A. Fox, and Robert Loggia, as well as newcomers Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Jessie T. Usher, William Fichtner, Sela Ward, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Joey King, Deobia Oparei, Travis Tope, and more.

Independence Day Resurgence 2016

Having literally just seen it at that previously mentioned press screening, it’s my sad duty to report that this film is atrociously bad. Not only does it pick and choose what plot points from the first one it wants to follow, it just disposes of any of the character work that made you care. Emmerich doesn’t bother with personalities, so the orgy of destruction is as faceless as can be. Smith was right to pass on this. The returning players seem bored, and they’re only hindered more so by having the newcomers be the focus, as they’re poorly written and bring nothing to the table. Monroe especially is absolutely wasted. If there’s any Oscar viability to this one, it’ll be in the technical categories, but the movie is probably too poor to even have it contend for tech nominations. Time will tell though, I guess.

Overall, Independence Day: Resurgence was a complete bomb to me and an utter waste of time, but that might not be your perspective. Starting today (technically last night, even), you can give it a shot and see for yourself, even if that’s in no way my recommendation. Depending on the box office, we’ll likely get another one in a few years, so hopefully Emmerich and company can get that one back on the right track, but I’m not optimistic. Considering how poor Stonewall was last year and how much worse this is, he just doesn’t seem to be a very good filmmaker anymore. We shall see what happens, but this is out now and available for your viewing pleasure, though I use the term “pleasure” very loosely here…

Be sure to check out Independence Day: Resurgence, provided you have an interest, in theaters everywhere right now!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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