Film review: Independence Day – Resurgence


Twenty years on and they’re back, and as Jeff Goldblum says, “It’s definitely bigger than the last one”. He’s not referring to Will Smith’s paycheck as there is no Will Smith this time around, rather the size of the alien spaceship. But is it an epic disaster movie, or just an epic disaster?

The good news is that you don’t have to have seen the original film to appreciate this one. There is a kind of ‘previously on’ section at the start of the film and enough references to the first effort of 1996 for the viewer to be in no doubt as to how we got to this point. The intervening twenty years have unified all the nations of the world in the common goal of providing enough of a defence network should the aliens ever return. Naturally, it is the leader of the free world, the President of the United States, that again makes the final decisions on how the planet responds. Much of the advanced alien technology has been absorbed into our own and allowed us to post an early warning outpost as far away as Saturn. Unfortunately, we lose touch with the Saturn outpost and the incarcerated aliens on earth are becoming highly agitated!

I’m a real fan of Jeff Goldblum’s work, so it was unlikely that I was going to find that this was two hours of my life wasted. Ditto Judd Hirsch, who reprises his role as Goldblum’s father. Will Smith decided to make Suicide Squad instead but there are enough of the original cast present to provide continuity. Most importantly Roland Emmerich is again at the helm directing this reboot of a franchise that we thought was dead. It seems that, like the character of Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner), the franchise was just in a coma for 7,300 days.


Jeff Goldblum & Bill Pullman

The majority of critics have panned this film. The script is undeniably corny and hokey. Bill Pullman (former President Whitmore) gets to deliver another of those “God bless America”, ‘rousing’ Henry V-style speeches to inspire the troops. The film could also be viewed as highly derivative. All of your favourite bits from Alien, Jurassic Park, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Signs, Prometheus and War of the Worlds are thrown into the mix. It is also basically a re-run of the original film. However, I am going to buck the trend. We all know that there is nothing new under the sun and despite its obvious similarities to other work, I found the film highly entertaining as did the Sunday afternoon audience I watched it with.

new-independence-day-resurgence-trailers-offer-better-look-at-the-alien-queen-27The legendary H.R. Giger provided the concept artwork for the original Alien film of 1979. This legacy has been the blueprint that others have adapted ever since for the portrayal of aliens in movies too numerous to mention (Predator etc.). In Independence Day: Resurgence, the alien has been convincingly re-imagined. It has proved impossible to identify the individuals involved from the 15,000 strong team that were involved in the making of this film, but the concept design of all-things-alien in this film is brilliant. This also extends to the clever integration of alien and earth technologies.

The original film won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. They’ve done it again in this film. The sequences of the alien spaceship arriving at Earth are fantastic. If I say that a craft that is 3,000 miles wide is so massive it generates its own gravitational field, you can work out the implications. Technically the film is beautifully executed. Best of all is the combination of the wonderful orchestral score and the most exhilarating sound mixing I’ve heard since Mad Max: Fury Road. This is the type of film that Dolby Atmos was created for. It’s a 20th Century Fox release so it should be out on 4K Blu-ray by Christmas.

It’s as corny as a tin of Green Giant. It is a formulaic earth versus alien disaster movie and we’ve seen it all before. However, it is perfectly executed with more twists than a bowl of fusilli and some great one-liners. The resulting movie experience is a combination of a really good video game and a theme park ride with just a hint of The Empire Strikes Back. The story and action build towards a thrilling, if ridiculous climax. If Dr. Okun’s final words of the film are anything to go by, a sequel is highly likely. As one critic put it; “just leave your brain at the door”. Enjoy.






Author: Simon, Norwich store