I remember a while back, I saw a documentary, I can’t remember exactly what it was about, but I think it was about the Top 50 Box Office Successes in UK cinemas and the documentary got to Independence Day, a film which to all intents and purposes a massive success with audiences. The critics weren’t too thrilled with it overall, if you want proof of that, go look up Cisco and Everts review, but a couple of pundits talking on the documentary said that 9/11 would kill off this type of film making because it wouldn’t be fun to see famous landmarks being destroyed any more. Well I think somebody should tell Hollywood that because it seems in recent memory we have seen nothing but that. If global terrorism killed off apocalyptic destruction in blockbusters then it only did so for a very short amount of time and at the forefront of all this has been Roland Emmerich. Professionally, I don’t like this man, I like his politics and I am glad he is promoting gay rights and other things like that, but his films are just terrible at the best of times. They always have amazing trailers and set up, but they never stick the landing. Even Independence Day, which most people like, I am not a big fan of. I remember it coming out and wanting to see it, but I was too young and when I finally got round to seeing it, I wasn’t much of a fan of it . But you have to look at this guy’s other films, he made the godawful 1998 Godzilla, there is the really stupid film Anonymous that gives the Shakespeare authorship question, which has less historical accuracy than an episode of Desperate Romantics (a drama about the Pre-Raphelites). Then to top it all off, he did the film 2012, which for my money is one of the dumbest blockbusters of the decade so far and one of the prime examples of CGI gone too far and his ideas of effects by showing tons of apocalyptic destruction and cities and landmarks being destroyed is having such a poisonous effect on blockbusters in general. Look at Man Of Steele, for example, the first part wasn’t too bad, but the second we are down to the massive destruction element, it lost all its soul and really ruined Superman. Then you see London get destroyed half the time, I mean, then you see a film like San Andreas which was clearly cloning Roland Emmerich’s style, to such an extent that I didn’t realise until I was doing my research on the film that it wasn’t a Roland Emmerich film and if you want more evidence about why that film sucked so much, check out my Worst Films of 2015 list, I gave it an honourable mention.
This belated sequel, which has taken 20 years since the previous film came out is once again directed by Roland Emmerich and if there’s one bad sign to look for with this film, it is that Roland has not allowed any press screening for critics, which means, like me, they didn’t get to see the film until it officially came out, which means there were tons of press in my screening. Needless to say, I have mentioned in the past that this is a bad sign, especially with blockbusters, since this is mostly reserved for horror films and comedies. There is also the factor, what is the point! The first film was 20 years ago!! You haven’t struck while the iron is hot, the fan base has moved on! Who is the audience for this film? Nevertheless, I did give this film a fair stab and I did re-watch Independence Day in preparation for this review and my opinion has not really softened towards it. It’s not incredibly awful, but it is really dumb and the writing is tremendously stupid, I will say though the effects have held up rather decently, or a few of them have. So how did Independence Day: Resurgence really stack up now that blockbusters have moved on quite a bit?
Resurgence takes place 20 years after the events of Independence Day. The world has moved on, technology has advanced seriously fast, due to harvesting alien technology from the previous war and the world is in a good state of peace, however, what the humans did not know is that the captured aliens had been sending a distress signal out and now a new queen alien is approaching with the intention of drilling a hole into the earth’s core and destroing the human race once and for all.
I actually saw Independence Day Resurgence on the same day that I voted in the EU Referendum (I voted to Remain if anyone is curious) which was the day it was released, which as Alex Brooker pointed out on the Last Leg is surprisingly aptly timed. I am assuming this one is going to fail at the Box Office because there was barely anyone in my screening and I don’t really get who the audience will be for this film as I mentioned earlier, and really this film deserves to bomb because this feel like a really cynical cash grab. Now I am a rather cynical person, but I do like a good popcorn blockbuster, because when they are good, they are really fun and enjoyable, the downside is when you get people like Roland Emmerich, who just put a film out for a quick buck and studios tend to like them because they don’t have to put as much effort into them and they make back their money. Independence Day works because it has the brand recognition, and really, this feels like a re-make of Independence Day, and I am not even joking! There are several scenes that look shot for shot. Now I know I didn’t go nuts for this when I reviewed Star Wars the Force Awakens, but that’s because that at least felt like something new. This feels like the exact same movie!! The only exception was really the ending because we got an action scene that looked like it wasn’t out of the original film, everything feels re-enacted. The Presidents triumphant speech to the masses, the various sub plots feel rather similar, including the Scientist who is played by Data from Star Trek working on some tech that is going to beat the aliens once and for all. The only big difference this time round is that there aren’t as many stereo types on show because of obvious reasons, for example, Randy Quaid isn’t around to play the red neck stereotype and the best friend stereotype got killed off in the first film and believe me, that’s all the best friend stereotype ever exists to be in films. Even the aliens don’t really do much different, the only difference this time is that instead of blasting the landmarks with laser beams, they use gravity based weapons to destroy cities, which, by the way, you’ll never guess, London gets it again!! Seriously I am surprised that anyone actually lives in London considering how many times it has been destroyed in film blockbusters, is there some subtle message being delivered here that I am not aware of!! The aliens also have a drill weapon drilling into the earths core and believe me that creates a scenario that makes science cry with how dumb it gets by the end.
You may have noticed in my plot synopsis that I didn’t mention a single character. That’s because they feel even more useless than last time. They are all kind of fitting into a certain role, but this time they are just bland. The only one who is vaguely interesting is the returning Judd Hirsch who at least gets a funny line every so often and is mildly entertaining. I did really like the bad ass African warlord alien hunter who really should have been in the film a lot more than he was who was excellently played by Deobia Oparei even though he is basically in there to be the African stereo type. Surprisingly quite a few cast members return to reprise their roles, including Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox and Brent Spiner but the biggest one who contributes the most is Jeff Goldblum. Will Smith hasn’t shown up, but that was probably because he is busy with Suicide Squad, we will see how good a decision that was in a month (though he must have made a bit of dosh for his likeness with the poorly photo shopped portrait in the White House at the beginning). You would have thought the character who was his son would be taking his place in the film, but actually it is more Liam Hemsworth (you will recognize from The Hunger Games films) who takes that role. Seriously Liam Hemsworth is basically playing a white Will Smith in this film, his character is exactly the same, except, as I am sure he has been told, is not as cool as Will Smith. Will Smith’s on screen son isn’t that interesting either, he is really dull and boring, he gets a bit of a subplot with Liam Hemsworth but it’s not interesting and it never really goes anywhere. The same goes for Maika Monroe who is now playing the daughter of the president from the previous film.
It’s just a really boring pointless film, the characters feel really dull and I am completely disconnected from them. In the first film the characters may have all been raging stereotypes, bordering on the offensive, but at least they were interesting and you remember them, this lot are dull, dull, dull. Even the returning characters like Jeff Goldblum’s David Levinson and Bill Pullman’s former President Whitmore, who by the way, does the exact same thing in this film that he did in the last film only this time we enjoy it. There were some interesting action scenes towards the end of the film because those scenes at least felt different from the original Independence Day. The rest of it is just the same plot, it’s still dumb, the government are still written to look like idiots, everyone is a one dimensional character, the only difference is that this time Roland isn’t having any fun with it or running with it, so as a result no one is having any fun. It’s a film that will just come and go and I was watching it feeling like I was just going through the motions. The film even has the gall to end on a hook for a sequel which sounds even more ridiculous than the two films which precede it, just NO!!
As for the performances, they are all passable, that’s it. I’m not going to say much more about them. The one who disappointed me most was Maika Monroe an actress who I believe has immense talent, as proven by her roles in The Guest and It Follows, but she has really sold herself short this year in this and the previously reviewed The 5th Wave. Honestly, this girl need to fire her agent and get back on track. I’ve heard that she is going to be in 4 more films that are going to receive their initial screening this year so hopefully she will get back on track because I really think the is an unsung talent. Goodness me, don’t you ever sleep girl? If you have seen one Jeff Goldblum performance, you have seen them all, he is not doing anything different much here. I have already said that Liam Hemsworth is basically playing a white Will Smith. Bill Pullman is pretty good for the most part, even though he is basically resigned to the same dialogue in this film. William Fichtner isn’t using enough of his talent and I didn’t care about the rest of the performances, but I did think that Jessie T Usher should have given a more interesting performance than he did. What can I say? This is it. I didn’t care much about this cast, I thought they were all slumming it, the only 2 who give good performances are Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner. But that’s just because they are Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner and they are even memorable in terrible films.
As for the effects, well there’s a problem for you. The original Independence Day was like Top Gun being inserted into a Sci Fi film. This one is pure Sci Fi, so as a result, the entire film is a complete CGI fest. As if Roland Emmerich didn’t already use CGI enough in his previous films like, The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 BC, 2012, the list goes on. As usual with this heavy reliance on CGI the whole thing doesn’t feel very real. The design of the fight planes looks really off and as a result the whole carnage doesn’t feel very real because we don’t have those amazing practical effects that made the first film so good, oh, and Roland, just because you point out that these films seem to rely on landmarks being destroyed, doesn’t make it any less of a cliché. The fight scenes are at least well shot, they don’t have too much shaky cam and it’s pretty easy to tell what is going on, but because of the sheer amount of fakish looking CGI you feel detached from the whole film. I’m glad they actually didn’t use any new technology because it would have created a massive plot hole with the government after all this time not using any new technology at all, but it did create a bit of a detaching experience and you can really feel the green screens in a lot of places.
I saw the film in 3D and I really recommend you don’t see it in that format. The 3D wasn’t even that noticeable it’s very much a 2.5D which was evident when I took of my glasses briefly and noticed that the film wasn’t even that out of focus. Also several of the scenes are in dark environments like space or inside the mother ship and those scenes are even more difficult to see thanks to the darkening effect of the glasses. If you have a choice, I would definitely seek out the 2D version.
Roland Emmerich, the other day, posted an article saying that he couldn’t get into the Marvel films because he thought they were ridiculous, yes, now that really is the pot calling the kettle black, because at least Marvel films are blockbusters that don’t feel like they are pandering to the studio executives and the masses. This one is pointless! This whole film feels pointless, it’s an over CGI’d re-make of Independence Day disguising itself as a sequel with little flair, little originality and is bland and dull. The effects aren’t that good, the acting isn’t that good, the characters are boring and apart from the end, it feels like a shot for shot re-make of Independence Day done by people who that have played too much of the Halo Games. Roland Emmerich is yet another director who has been proven over the years to have been a barely competent director who just happened to get lucky by coming out with Independence Day when he did because it was the right film for the right audience at the right time. This film I don’t think will match any of those. It’s a film 20 years in the making and it wasn’t worth it and please do not make the Independence Day 3 that you alluded to in the final scene, because that sounded even more ridiculous. What can I say it’s just a dumb, dull film. It has all the same problems that the first film had but it’s decided to stop having fun and character so there’s no investment for anyone.
Right, only one more film to talk about because I only saw 1 other film between this and The Secret Life of Pets and that was Long Way North, or as it is known in its native France, Tout en haut du monde. I guarantee none of you saw this film since it was only played in select cinemas for 1 weekend. I managed to catch it, and you know what, it’s really good. This was a nice, charming animated film with some great characters and a really great subplot but the real star of it was the animation, which makes the whole thing look like a beautiful oil painting that has come to life and really gets across the nature of the settings. It’s a lovely animated film and I would really recommend it to people that like Studio Ghibli films. It doesn’t stand too high in my estimations since the plot is too kind of simplistic and I would say that I thought a couple of the English dub actors, because my screening was in the English dub, were not perfectly matched with their characters which is something I would like to compare when I watch it in the French language version after it comes out on DVD. Nevertheless I really liked this film, it just happened to come out a week after the previously reviewed When Marnie Was There so it was never going to quite win me over, but I really recommend it. It comes out on DVD on 10th October, give it a try. If you are still unsure about it, check out the trailer on YouTube and you will see my point on the animation front.
“So what are your thoughts on Independence Day: Resurgence or Long Way North?”
Well, you got this review a day early because I start my Holiday tomorrow. Don’t worry I am only away for one week, so I will be back on 22 July, because before I left, I watched and quickly reviewed the newest DC animated film Justice League Vs Teen Titans. and at the end of July I will be reviewing Ghostbusters.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
You know what, sometimes you don’t need a sequel, or want one.
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