There are many things that Independence Day: Resurgence could be. Here’s a list of them:
A high-budget Starship Troopers remake;
A prequel to the current Star Trek universe;
A sequel set in the distant future of the Transformers franchise.
What it isn’t, however, is a sequel to Independence Day.
Now, for those of you who don’t entirely recall the 1996 blockbuster, Independence Day was as unique an alien invasion movie as the genre could get. While most flicks featuring aliens often made that an excuse to get as sci-fi as possible, and where most invasion features are pretty much destruction porn (not that Independence Day didn’t have its fair bit of destruction, but it was non-gratuitous), Independence Day managed to keep a clean focus on the human element of the story by not only providing us with very likeable and relatable characters, but also ensuring that story and character were prioritised above action and effects.
Independence Day: Resurgence, however, manages to spectacularly fail at that.
Having ditched Will Smith for budgetary reasons and Margaret Collins for reasons unknown, the movie still makes the odd choice of shoving a whole bunch of the previous cast members onto the screen for arbitrary reasons like shallow humour and unnecessary emotional motivation… ‘cause aliens invading your planet isn’t reason enough to fight back.
More baffling is the choice to not only throw in a mix of characters from the original movie with a whole new group, but to also attempt giving all of them some form of history over the last 20 years that somehow finds its way into the movie in a very prominent capacity.
While Jeff Goldblum’s David Levinson and Bill Pullman’s President Whitmore are sensible choices for reprisal, but in addition to throwing in the stepson of Will Smith’s character alongside President Whitmore’s daughter (both of whom have history with Thor’s brother) the personal element of the movie starts becoming a little more complicated than necessary.
Also, the chemistry between Jessie Usher and Liam Hemsworth is written to replicate Will Smith’s and Jeff Goldblum’s from the first movie…except without the humour, wit, talent, charm, and… okay, so they have absolutely no chemistry. But, hey, at least they have some of the history that the movie keeps talking about but never really show.
Ultimately, while part of the original movie’s charm was how different people from different walks of life came together to fight a common adversary, Independence Day: Resurgence just throws all of its cast into the mix and hopes that things will work well.
In all, Independence Day: Resurgence may be an acceptable alien invasion movie, but as a sequel to Independence Day, it’s a massive disappointment.
Independence Day: Resurgence releases today in all major theatres.