It's been 20 years since Bill Pullman's character in Independence Day picked up a microphone and passionately told the pilots in waiting that 'we will not quietly into the night, we will not vanish without a fight etc etc, you get the idea. But it's hard to think it was 1996 when the aliens first came to Earth and took out some of our favourite landmarks.
Independence Day: Resurgence is set, conveniently 20 years after ID4 and since 1996 the people of Earth have set aside their differences, pulled together and thanks to alien technology integration enjoyed a higher quality of life. As a result of this new technology they've also boosted the Earth defenses and prepared for another invasion. This time, naively the human race think they're ready. As you can guess, they're not.
As you've probably gathered by now the aliens return bigger, much much bigger. In fact we first see the mother ship ripping through the moon, taking out the defenses set up on our nearest neighbour with so much ease we may as well have not bothered. Prior to the aliens turning up a mysterious sphere appears and hovers over our moon base. With no communication, the authorities of the world decide to take it out. After the events of '96, the human race have hot twitchy trigger fingers and shoot first and ask questions later is, it seems the best course of action.
Back to the main mother ship that is now heading to Earth and this thing is big. It's 3000 miles across and even has it's own gravity. The ship enters our atmosphere and of course all kinds of chaos begins. Buildings, cars, people and pretty much everything else is sucked upwards as the gravity of the ship takes over. Major landmarks are destroyed such as London Bridge and as Jeff Goldblum tells us "they like to get the landmarks.' What follows is destruction, running, destruction, action and have I mentioned the destruction?
The movie is two hours of guilty pleasure, which is no surprise as the director is Roland Emmerich. He is well known for providing these 'I like this but I'm not sure why' kind of movies. It has a bigger budget than it's 1996 counterpart so the special effects along with improvements in CGI ensure the battle scenes and aliens are bigger than before. Independence Day: Resurgence still has a b-movie feel to it which I'm pleased with. I was worried after watching the trailers that the whole franchise would take itself too seriously. It doesn't. The cheesy feel still oozes from the screen and cast are having so much fun with it, especially the stand out performance of the movie, Brent Spiner.
Jeff Goldblum returns as the scientist and Judd Hirsch his comic relief Jewish dad, Charlotte Gainsbourg is the savvy French doctor, but Brent Spiner who returns as the wacky Brakish Okun truly steals each scene he is in. He wakes from a 20 year coma just before the aliens arrive and
immediately gets to work trying to figure out the mysterious orb that they picked up from the moon. No wasting time getting dressed but strolling around in a hospital robe, his butt showing and long dangling white hair, you can't help but laugh at Spiner's character.
The cast isn't small in Independence Day: Resurgence and often the movie does frantically cut to scenes trying to fit in all the characters. There was obvious effort to fit in a few Chinese characters to please the Chinese audience who have recently embraced Hollywood and become an important part of the overall global box-office takings.
We have the predictable hot-shot hero role performed adequately by Liam Hemsworth. Hemsworth is Jake Morrison, renegade pilot in The Earth Space Defense Force, a special defense program full of good looking Top Gun extras skilled at dog-fighting and wielding advanced alien weaponry mastered since the last attack.
Jake Morrison is (reluctantly) joined by Dylan Dubrow-Hillier (Jessie Usher), the very serious son of decorated war veteran Steven Hillier who was of course played by Will Smith and noticeably absent from the movie. A large painting of Steven Hillier is the best we're going to get in this movie. By the way the back story of how and why Steven Hillier is missing from the movie is quickly mentioned in the movie but you can buy graphic novels that tell the story in more detail.
The soundtrack is adequate. The absence of David Arnold who scored the original is noticeable but Harald Kloser and Thomas Wander do a job worthy of the film. The familiar signature tune from the original is dropped in from time to time especially at the beginning when we hear the famous president speech being played. Other pieces seem to sound a little synthetic at times sounding like they've come from a soundblaster soundcard rather than from an orchestra.
I left the cinema smiling. I'm a sucker for alien invasion movies and Independence Day: Resurgence did not disappoint. As I've mentioned I was worried it was going to take itself seriously and it didn't. It looked great, was action packed and I had a blast. I wanted more and thankfully we are left with a story that paved the way for at least one more. That's what I want from an Independence Day movie. It was a serious close encounter...but not too serious.
Independence Day: Resurgence
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writers: Nicolas Wright (screenplay), James A. Woods (screenplay)
Stars: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman
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