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As opposed to the masses, Roland Emmerich’s 1996 INDEPENDANCE DAY (WATCH IT HERE) was a movie that I never managed to fall in love with. The set-up always greased me right and some of the cast (like Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsh) hit the spot but once the landmarks were blown to smithereens by the aliens, the film always lost me with its slapdash narrative, idiotic characters (Will Smith and Randy Quaid so grated me), immature comedy, crappy one-liners and asinine action set pieces. On that, I was looking forward to this sequel, just to see if they’d get it right this time (in terms of my own individuals affinities); and although far from a masterpiece; I can’t deny that was easily amused by this bloated McSequel!
On paper Independence Day: Resurgence had the same plot line as the original; Aliens come to earth to f*ck us up; but on this round they added some new swirls of flavour to spruce shit up (some things I won't address in the name of not spoiling the film). For starters I dug the idea of we humans having acquired and re-shaped our world with the technology the ETs left behind in 1996. By result the earth we found here was a futuristic looking one, with all kinds of cool fighter ships, tech heavy buildings and nifty alien inspired artillery (all conveyed by stellar production design and top of the line CG no less). Moreover, the comedy this time around was more in line with my personal tastes. Leaning towards the low key and organic further than the “welcome to earth” forced “yuk-yuks” found in the original. And talk about an action packed sit down! There was hardly any filler here and the flick wasted no time in terms of kicking into high gear and letting her rip!
Although that ADD friendly M.O. came with some pitfalls (more on those below) it’s hard for me to get peeved by a celluloid ride that just won’t stop bombarding me with eye popping visuals, fly looking aliens running amuck (loved the looks here, specially for the main tentacle heavy baddie) and varied physical get-downs! Yup, I was smiling the whole way through with this one, having an easy and cheesy blast! The cherry on top was definitely the solid cast at hand! Although, Charlotte “my accent keeps changing” Gainsbourg, the great William Fichtner, Liam “always yelling when piloting a ship” Hemsworth and cutie Maika Monroe did just fine, it was the old dogs that did for me the most! Judd Hirsch, Bill Pullman, Brent Spiner, Vivica A. Fox and Jeff Goldblum easily stole the show! The veterans were having so much fun here and that I couldn’t help but party on with them! NOTE: The amount of times I thought: “They should just rename this movie to Goldblum” was ridiculous. Yes the dude was THAT affable! LOL! END OF NOTE.
On the flip side, the chain of events went by so fast that weight and momentum were lost in the process. The “aliens arrive to blow shit up” build-up for example carried little awe or tension (it was handled in a firmer fashion in the first movie). I kept feeling that this used to be meatier experience that got “Slimmed-Fast” by the Studio in the editing room. Hopefully there’s some kind of extended cut down the road cause as-is although high on action; this one was lighter than the Blockbuster norm in the characterization and story progression departments Just ask Jessie Usher, he knows! The lad was one of the leads here but you wouldn’t know it with the NOTHING they gave him to play with it. I wasn’t too fond of the “kids on a school bus with Judd Hirsh” subplot either. It felt useless and came with too may convenient bits to serve the plot. And was I alone in being disappointed by that big black dude NOT going to town HARDCORE on alien scum with them machetes? If you’re going to set up such a badass character, use to him to the most of his potential. Finally for all its action, many of the set pieces weren’t as memorable as they should have been. The Jurassic Park meet ALIENS final aside – lots of the action came off as a bit of a blur.
At the end of it all though, I got some smiles and cheap thrills from this one and that was pretty much all I craved from it, hence mission accomplished! It’s really hard for me to hate on it for being what it is. Fans of the original may be let down, non-fans of the original may find themselves pleasantly surprised! I’m game for another one! Are you?