One of the most polarizing movies of the 1990s is Independence Day. The reason why it’s polarizing is that the majority of people either love Independence Day or want to burn it at the stake. 20 years ago, the soon to be Summer Box Office King Will Smith teamed up with 90s shlock icon Jeff Goldblum as they fought an army of intergalactic aliens hell-bent on taking our resources via blowing everything to hell. Independence Day: Resurgence sees a return of all the original cast members with the exception of one fresh prince of Scientology. Now the story goes that Will Smith wanted $50 million dollars to return for a sequel. However, after the success of such critical hits like After Earth and Winter’s Tale, 20th Century Fox decided that money would be better spent more productive ventures like hookers, blow, and Facebook Stock. So instead Will Smith’s legendary one-liner machine is killed off-screen and that brings us to Resurgence.
20 years has passed since Earth beat the aliens by split decision and the world has completely rebuilt itself into utopia…in just 20 years. World Peace has been achieved and now the planet bands together to fight creatures from another world. Surprisingly Liam Hemsworth aka ‘No I’m not Thor’ serves as the main character, he plays superstar fighter pilot Jake Morrison along with his fiancée Patricia and former best friend Dylan who plays the stepson of decreased Will Smith character who really doesn’t say much . To be quite honest he’s in the film so little every time he pops up you have to remember that he’s even in the film, to begin with.
There are way too many subplots here, too many side characters and stories that never seem to pay off. Starting off with Bill Pullman who back as former president Whitmore, many argue the only good part of the last Independence Day was his iconic speech but here Pullman stands in for Randy Quaid and becomes the town’s, residential crazy man. Having visions and screaming the aliens are coming to which no one believes him until it’s too late. Also returning is Jeff Goldblum who is now running Area 51 research which is a huge step up from being a Direct TV repairman. His character is condensed to realizing how screwed the earth is and reacting to how screwed the earth is with hilarious one-liners.
Now if you are going into this movie expecting realism then leave the theater because Spiderman fighting a 50-foot giant is more realistic than anything you’ll see in this movie. You really have to go into this knowing that things are going to fly off the rails at some point. Maybe it’s the point where an alien ship that bigger than the entire United States of America combined wants to destroy the earth by drilling a space laser in the middle of the ocean. Or maybe it’s the point where a giant white Pokeball that comes from space that wants to teach us the art of kung fu. Or maybe it’s the part where a massive 70 foot Godzilla villain is chasing Jeff Goldblum and a bunch of school children in a bus while she’s shooting at it with a giant laser gun. As ridiculous as this movie sounds I found something quite charming about its ridiculousness. I mean if I was watching this movie on a Saturday afternoon, I would actually enjoy Independence Day: Resurgence. However, for a movie budgeted at 200 Million dollars, you would expect a little more effort in the arena of writing, acting, suspense, and time management. Visually I say this film is well done, Resurgence turns up the action to a level, not even the first one was able to achieve but the praise ends there sadly.
Would Will Smith have made this movie better? Possibly? Maybe the movie would have focused more on a Smith/Goldblum bromance instead of an ensemble cast of characters who never really stand out outside of an African Warlord. Independence Day: Resurgence is an enjoyable film if you are just looking to kill 2 hours. But a lot like the last film, you are either going to love this movie or hate its guts. While I didn’t hate this movie, I have no interest in sitting through this movie again and it’s not really worth the IMAX prices they will charge you to see Gale Hawthorne in 3D.
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