Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman
Two decades have passed since earth successfully defended itself from an alien invasion, and we have successfully integrated their technology to not only enhance our world, but create sophisticated defences from potential future invasions. However, when the same alien race returns with far more fire power than before, will our twenty years of preparations prove to be enough?
Film fans of all ages, persuasions and tastes love Independence Day. Though it may be admittedly for a variety of reasons, it is one of those films where no matter at what end of the cinematic spectrum your tastes tend to find themselves, and despite its many, many flaws, there is something universally likeable about it. Well of course since then director Roland Emmerich has often spent huge budgets on destroying what has been put on (well, drawn on) the screen. Why he chose to return to a sequel twenty years later is anyone’s guess, and to me personally very much unexpected, but of course the very big question is can he bring back the magic?
Well, despite managing to assemble most of the original cast, the answer is an extremely disappointing and even more resounding no! Independence Day: Resurgence is a film whose existence is deeply cynical, creation extremely lazy and execution painfully embarrassing. I don’t think anyone was ever expecting a profound masterpiece, but while flaws and glaring plot holes can be forgivable (as with the 1996 film) if a film has a sense of fun and genuine heart, Resurgence is a film that commits so many completely unforgiveable cinematic mortal sins! Despite having an almighty budget at its disposal and plenty of acting talent, Independence Day: Resurgence is far worse than just being disappointing; it is a hateful insult to cinema and very much a (leading) contender for worst film of the year. This is a film where it has to be seen to be believed just how badly Emmerich and his crew have cocked the whole thing up.
An air of escapism and the makers taking a few creative liberties is always necessary for this kind of film, but in Resurgence the writers seem to not only go completely overboard, but also make it up as they go along. The setting of the 1996 film was very much set in the 1996 that we all knew at that time, but because the ‘plot’ (the very loosest definition of the word) of the film includes a world we where we have taken the alien technology for our own world, it is immediately an unrecognisable setting that is impossible to relate to. A few initial ground rules and limitations would have made it potentially okay, but the writers just use it at their convenience and make it up as they go along, using the whole Harry Potter approach (though replacing technology for magic) of letting characters get out of situations with convenient things that are suddenly introduced at the drop of a hat and make no sense.
The so-called plot is just the tip of the iceberg, as the complete incoherence of that makes the film completely laughable and almost impossible to follow, but all the other elements are just as bad. Pretty much the entire film is a drawing, with Emmerich throwing as much CGI carnage at the screen as he possibly can in what may well be a desperate attempt to distract from the appalling plot, script and embarrassingly clichéd subplots. The film is also very, very loud.
The performances too, from both returnees and newcomers, are particularly bad; whether Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum were contractually obliged to appear or were just a little bit in need some extra pocket money at the time, they both not only look like they cannot be bothered, but almost appear embarrassed to say some the of abysmal dialogue that the script gives them. The other main returnee is Brent Spiner’s hippy-haired Dr. Brakish Okun, who takes on a much bigger role than in the first film. The actor looks so happy to finally get his biggest role since playing Data in Star Trek, he not only chews scenery as if his life depended on it, but his character is so enthusiastic about the aliens return that he completely defies basic medical science! He also gets the ‘honour’ of saying the film’s final line of dialogue, and it is no exaggeration to say that it is a contender for the most embarrassing and cringe-worthy closing line of dialogue in the entire history of cinema!
The newcomers are also embarrassingly bad; Liam Hemsworth did initially show promise in past films, but unlike his brother Chris, his career seems to already be on the descent. Meanwhile Maika Monroe has impressed in a couple of recent films, but here delivers a performance as flat and unconvincing as her clichéd dialogue.
Deep down I think we all have an affection for the b-movies that can be found on the SyFy channel, well though Independence Day: Resurgence may have a lot more money and supposed acting talent at its disposal, its execution is of the same standard as those films. Those films have their rightful place and can be guilty pleasures, but there is no excuse for this film ultimately being of a standard even below those films. In reality though, this film does in some ways some up the entire mentality of the film industry, and that is not only depressing, but deeply concerning.
To call this film a B-Movie feels like a compliment to its complete cynicism and total lack of creativity; Independence Day: Resurgence sums everything that is wrong with the film industry at the moment, and then some! Avoid this and just watch the 1996 film!