Twenty years ago, director Roland Emmerich put out a little world ending movie known as Independence Day. The lead for this movie was Will Smith, who at that time had the fame of classic television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and had one big budget film, Bad Boys. Independence Day was Will Smith’s coming out party for Hollywood to see him as a bankable star, especially in the summer. Along with Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman, the world was saved from alien invaders and science fiction films officially made a comeback in Hollywood.
Rumors of a sequel was long discussed for years, languishing in developmental hell and becoming forgotten while the script went through rewrite after rewrite. After a long process, it became unknown if this movie would even happen. This year, Emmerich was finally able to release his long-awaited sequel on the world.
Twenty years after the War of 1996, we find the world united more than ever and finally at peace. The remains of the alien technology has been reverse engineered and used to protect the world on global scale. The veterans of the war include now Earth Space Defense Director David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum),Judd Hirsch as his proud papa, former president Whitmore (Bill Pullman), who seems to be broken and half-crazy in the aftermath of the war, and Brent Spiner as the nutty professor who snaps out of an unexplained 20-year coma at the right time in the film. Vivica A. Fox even makes a return (who’s so unimportant that if this was a Star Trek film, she could have been wearing a red shirt). A distress call (that took twenty years to find out by the way) sent into deep space has brought the aliens major fleet back to Earth for vengeance.
I’ll put this out there first: the movie was not the same without Will Smith. Since Smith is too savvy (and too rich) these days to be seen near this sequel, the first third of the movie is a roll call of the old and new faces – there’s the stoic and unmemorable Jesse Usher as the heroic second-generation flyboy of Smith’s dead Captain Hiller; Liam Hemsworth as a cocky space pilot that tries to channel Tom Cruise from Top Gun…and fails at it miserably; Maika Monroe plays his love interest as the now adult daughter of Whitmore. I could really only care about the female Whitmore because it seemed she had more to do as far as the new cast and seemed more passionate in her scenes, trying to make her character more three-dimensional.
I went to see this movie in IMAX 3D so I will vouch for the spot on special effects but overall, there is nothing completely impressive about Resurgence. It’s a complete popcorn flick but even popcorn flicks have to be decent. I have never felt less invested in the survival of the human race. Landmarks are destroyed as always, which is basically Emmerich’s signature in his films. It turns out they want more than to just wipe us out this time. They want to get their slimy tentacles on something else. Why? What? Who? How? Insurgence does make some sense but is just not that enjoyable. I’m not completely against the film but I feel like it could have been better given the time it was taken to work on the sequel. There is a serious lack of wit and charm in this film that was missing from the original. The best idea of wit is Liam Hemsworth taking a leak on an alien spaceship while giving them the finger. In a sense, that’s exactly what Independence Day: Resurgence did for those smart people that said a sequel was not necessary, needed, or wanted.