The following review is spoiler free (ish) so feel free to read away.
I just got back from the cinema after spending almost 6 hours in the company of aliens attempting to wipe out humans on Earth.
Yup, there’s a new Independence Day film out. But don’t worry, the 6 hours included the original 1996 film and a 40 minute break in the middle.
Allow me to take you back 20 years. It was the time of the Blockbuster movie. Jurassic Park, Titanic…and of course Independence Day, the film which, along with Bad Boys launched the career of one Will Smith…Fresh out of Bel Air he would soon become hot property, facing off against Aliens again in Men In Black, and who can forget Wild Wild West (seriously…can anyone forget that?)
But in 1996 Smith “Captain Steven Hiller” would battle forces from space, teaming up with Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman to prevent the world being taken over by those who like to blow shit up!
The film was a huge success. It took massive amounts of money at the Box Office and everyone has seen it at least once on DVD…so what happens next? The big bad sequel alarm starts to ring!
Plans started being thrashed out for a sequel a while back but it never came to fruition…and frankly, that’s how it should have stayed. Upon watching the first film on the big screen again, it’s certainly lost absolutely none of it’s charm, adventure and fun. It has aged really well (apart from the odd miniature building blow-up)
But obviously times move along and this film, set 20 years after the other conveniently moves almost everything along too.
We pick up finding out that the world has taken the alien tech found years ago in a ship that landed which was never mentioned in the original film, has been used and developed to enhance the world. We have better electronics, travel systems and oh yeah we’ve built a huge weapon on the moon and also have a base on Saturn…things have really moved fast.
We also learn early on that Will Smith will not be returning to the film…apparently his $50million price tag was just too much for the studio.
Instead we have his Step-son (remember the little kid in the first film) who is now, surprise surprise a fighter pilot who can fly all the alien machinery. Handy eh?
The old president from the first film returns too, troubled by visions of visitors. And we soon see his daughter, all grown up and dating Liam Hemsworth…yeah.
Where the original film centered very much on the story moving along, keeping it simple but effective, the sequel lacks a lot of the heart seen in it’s predecessor. We have way too many father/daughter, mother/son, doctor/patient relationships going on to follow. When the threat does come, they obviously needed to go bigger than before…but it’s not necessarily better.
The film also suffers from annoying, bordering on pointless characters, from the African warlord, to the wimpy lawyer. There’s a silly little story as to why Hiller’s stepson and Hemsworth’s Jake don’t get along that isn’t needed either.
We get way too many set-pieces happening usually at the same time as another, as though the filmmakers want you to be on the edge of your seat the whole time, but end up leaving you slumping into it instead.
Sure there’s some absolutely stunning effects at work, and there’s some genuinly comedy moments too, but the whole film falls a long way short of the original.
In 20 years time it’s likely I’ll be still watching Independence Day and not Resurgence.
The only thing worse than this film was having to sit through the new Ghostbusters trailer at the beginning!