film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence 2016 * 1/2 Stars

Independence Day: Resurgence Director: Roland Emmerich
Year: 2016
Rated PG-13
Rating: * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Liam Hemsworth, Bill Pullman

In Independence Day: Resurgence (my latest review), twenty years has passed. Guess what, the aliens are still ticked off and looking for some sweet revenge. Now does that concept have to be so complicated? The five dudes hired to pen the script for "Resurgence" sure think so. This sequel to 1996's original Independence Day will give you a headache. Gone is the first film's feel of a popcorn flick, gone is Roland Emmerich's ability to shoot coherent action sequences this time around, gone is ID4's Will Smith (that might have been a good decision on Will's part), and gone from the first film is well, the fun. Independence Day: Resurgence has too many sci-fi ideals, too many characters, and way too many subplots (a mothership drilling a hole in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is one of several). Sure the CGI in the first outing seemed a little dated but at least it got the job done. Oh yeah, did I mention that the editing is sloppy too.

Personally, I think Independence Day should of had a sequel come out ten years ago. With the passing of two decades, too much time has gone by. "Resurgence" almost feels like it has no true connection or transition from 1996's original. Most of the troupers from the first installment are gone and their absence is never fully explained (Margaret Colin, James Duval, Harry Connick Jr., Adam Baldwin, and of course The Fresh Prince). The actors/actresses that do stay on board aren't exactly fleshed out as characters. Bill Pullman's ex-President (Thomas J. Whitmore) is now a bearded whack job, Vivica A. Fox's Jasmine went from a stripper to being a doctor (nice), Brent Spiner's Dr. Okun is in a coma, and Jeff Goldblum's David Levinson is off somewhere in Central Africa. What happened earlier to these people is a mystery that we the audience, have to figure out. And how mind you did the 2016 of Independence Day: Resurgence turn into the world of Blade Runner? The 2016 we presently live in doesn't look all technical and ultra-modern. We don't have roving space vehicles, two hour trips to the moon, a Starship Troopers-like environment, and thousands of laser guns. Just saying.

As for the special effects, well in "Resurgence" they aren't bad. In the first Independence Day however, simplicity and attention to detail payed off much better. You don't see hardly any landmarks being blown up this time (previously it was The White House, the Empire State Building, the Capital Records Building, and the U.S. Bank Tower). I mean yeah a random city (or two) bites the dust but it happens so quickly. Nothing has time to completely resonate in the mind's eye. Buildup is also absent in "Resurgence" because in the first flick, you waited nervously to see what was going to happen to our world, you know the destruction and humorous paranoia of it all. With Independence Day: Resurgence, there's no anticipation of life termination and no one seems to be in that much danger because disaster sequences are cut so sparingly. They come off as remote and off-key.

In terms of "Resurgence's" Star Wars-like dogfights which carry over from 1996, well Emmerich feels the need to make them too chaotic. You don't know which protagonist is shooting at which antagonist, what spaceship is flying where, and what extraterrestrial species is the head honcho or not. And when an important character dies (like Madam President Sela Ward (spoiler)), we don't know how or if it actually happened. Finally, did I mention the geography in "Resurgence"? Oh yeah, most of the actresses, actors, and side extras globetrot all over the country and/or planet Earth (the Moon too). You lose track of where they are at any given moment. Presidents, the First Daughter, pilots, scientists, and lieutenants go from point a to point b so quickly you'd think they beamed themselves up like in Star Trek. Basically, this thing is a mess.

Bottom line: Independence Day: Resurgence is 25 minutes shorter than the original Independence Day. It still manages to be less entertaining, polarizing, a little slower, and much more convoluted. If you think you're entering the theater to see a summer blockbuster, think again. Highly ambitious, highly elaborate, and highly budgeted ($165 million) doesn't always mean better. And by the way, do you remember the original Independence Day when Jeff Goldblum uttered the words, "don't say oops"? Funny. The last word of that quote is what I said immediately after leaving "Resurgence's" 4:30 showtime. Rating: 1 and a half stars.

Of note: My favorite line in the original Independence Day involved a woman welcoming the aliens on top of a skyscraper by saying, "oh gosh, I hope they bring back Elvis". That got a laugh from me. Sadly, the hilarity in "Resurgence" is attempted again by unknown actors and it just doesn't feel the same. Bummer.

Written by Jesse Burleson

No comments:

Post a Comment