Let me start off by saying, I love Independence Day (the first movie). It was a big part of my childhood, and I still love to watch it every Independence Day. It was a cheesy, sci-fi thriller that critics hated but fans enjoyed. For the past 2 decades, I have been waiting for the sequel to come out but it seemed that the movie would never see the light of day. But now, I am happy to announce that Independence Day: Resurgence has finally been released and it is just a hokey and corny as the original… and I LOVED it (for the most part)!
First things first, if you’re expecting an engaging story with highly defined characters with twists and engagement, this movie is not for you. This is a popcorn flick, as in you come in to see a movie to eat popcorn and see the flashing lights. The characters are pretty one-dimensional, the story is predictable, and the plot ridiculous. This is a film we’ve all seen hundreds of times. There were many times while watching I thought to myself, “OK, let’s see how this plan is going to fail.”
“But, Mike,” you ask yourselves, “how can you praise the movie so much when there is so much wrong with it?” Well, my dear reader, it’s because my expectations of this movie were abysmally low. Very few sequels live up to the hype of the original, especially one that took decades to see the light of day. I think that what ID:R does best was to not take itself so seriously. It knows exactly what it is and doesn’t try to make itself any grander. It’s not going to win any awards. It’s just trying to entertain it’s viewers, and that is exactly what it does.
What’s the story you ask? The aliens come back with a bigger ship and break sh*t. That’s about it. OK, an oversimplification, but that’s pretty much all it has to offer. There is a side story of the aliens trying to harvest our planet’s core, but really only serves as a way to provide tension to the story. It follows Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), a fighter pilot who doesn’t play by the rules, Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher), step-son of Captain Steven Hiller, hero of Earth in the first movie, and Patricia Whitmore, daughter of former president Lonestar, err, Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman), who is also the fiance of Jake and works for the White House.
We also see the return of several characters with original cast such as David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), Julius Levison (Judd Hirsch), former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman), Jasmine Hiller (Vivica A. Fox), Dr. Isaccs (John Storey) and Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner), who I was sure died in the first movie but apparently has just been in a coma for the past 20 years. The biggest omission was the return of Will Smith as Captain Steven Hiller, but honestly, I feel like if he were to appear, it would have detracted from the story. Usher does a great job at taking the reigns, though Goldblum and Hemsworth take most of the screen time.
There really isn’t a lot to talk about without going into spoilers. It’s a standard fare of fight aliens, the aliens might win, BOOM we defeated aliens. I will say that the end of the movie does open up the opportunity for a sequel, should this movie do well. And I want it to do well. This has the potential to be a fun space-themed series. There were also a couple of surprises that I didn’t expect and it added to the lore of the aliens and their enemies, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
There were some characters that provided little to now bearing on the little plot that the movie had, such as the kids that were with Julius Levinson during the majority of the film. That entire plot point could have been removed and nothing would have changed. It only served as something for Julius to do. It’s sad to see such a crucial character in the first movie being reduced to such triviality.
It might be the nostalgia, but I liked ID:R. If you go into the movie expecting nothing more than to see cities and aliens blow up, you might get a kick out of it. I saw it in IMAX 3D, which is what I recommend seeing it in, if you wish to pay the money for it. At any rate, it’s a movie that deserves to be seen on the big screen. It doesn’t come close to the original, but it definitely was a fun summer movie.
Final rating: 6/10 – It’s a special effects extravaganza with little in the way of story but with tons of nostalgia.