After 20 years, most people would have assumed any potential sequel to Independence Day would come after a subpar reboot featuring an alternative universe and a descendant of Will Smith. Instead however, Roland Emmerich has decided to take the first film, add zero character development and give the lead to a lesser Hemsworth…
Independence Day: Resurgence follows on 20 years from the original with Earth facing the second wave of alien destruction.
Looking at his history behind the camera, Emmerich could be one of the most experienced directors when it comes to the disaster movie. With the original Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and even 2008’s Godzilla behind him, you could even be forgiven in thinking that he is a master of the genre. After spending some time Resurgence and reflecting on his accolades however you start to realize something…he isn’t actually that good at them.
From a positive stand point, Emmerichs approach does come from a place of experience. The film itself is well balanced, dancing from one scene to another without getting bogged down in potential science. Further to this, his use of CGI is skilfully implemented, creating an interesting world that reflects the grandeur of a post-disaster civilisation. About a third of the way through, it looked like we were on the right track until reality hit…this is one of the most boring alien disaster movies in existence!
After this realization, the film begins to unravel and the issues begin rearing their ugly heads. Firstly, the lack of character development is astounding. With a fresh cast set to lead the trilogy it becomes apparent that not only are the characters onscreen not interesting, but the new blood has about as much charisma as a drunk baby. Secondly, the story follows the same plot and pacing as the first. Although this format worked for last year’s ‘The Force Awakens’, within the realm of alien invasion, this leads to a predictable and frustratingly repetitive story. Lastly, an underwhelming soundtrack takes the audience completely out of the experience and leaves you really noticing just how uncomfortable a cinema seat can be at the 2 hour mark. Once set in, these 3 factors all but seal the fate of this lacklustre sequel.
As you can expect, we are hardly treated to any Oscar winning performances here. The old crew do a solid job reprising their roles, Jeff Goldblum and Brent Spiner in particular add to the much needed comic relief with apt levels of nostalgia, its just a shame that the young cast just don’t really shape up. With a lack of charisma or even stage presence, Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T. Usher and Maika Monroe do little more than make you wish Will Smith had reprised his original role.
Overall Independence Day: Resurgence starts strong but falls flat soon after the opening credits. With an all too familiar screenplay, lack of character development and an overwhelming sense of boredom, this is a sequel that should have remained a dream. 2 out of 5 stars.