Star Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Prior to Independence Day: Resurgence, I fully believed that X-Men: Apocalypse was the worst film out of the summer blockbusters. Boy, was I wrong. I went into it with low expectations based on the poor ratings on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, but even those expectations were too high. Resurgence tried its hardest to piggyback on the massive nostalgia craze we’ve seen in the last few years, and while the trailers made it seem like a bigger, better extension of the first one from 20 years ago, the actually film was an incoherent mess of plots, characters, and lazy writing.
Resurgence picks up 20 years after the events of the first film. Humanity has advanced further than our own real world as a result of contact with alien technology. The military has laser blasters, moon bases with laser canons, jets with ion/fusion engines, and even large screen jumbotrons with fancy ion/fusion engines. Its basically the future we’ve always dreamed of. The United States is preparing to celebrate Independence Day and the events of the first film with a large celebration outside of the white house when the aliens return and this time they are bigger and badder than the first time they came. Just like the first time around, the world must fight against this alien threat in order to save the earth from destruction.
There were so may issues with this film, its hard to decide where to start. The entire plot was essentially a rehashing of the first film, except this time the humans had better weapons. Life seems good for earth at first, until the aliens show up with bigger ships. So big that, in perhaps the only interesting scene in the film, they generate their own gravity. The humans then have to destroy the queen alien in order to stop the biggest of the ships from drilling to Earth’s core. There some a few differences between Resurgence and the first film. In an attempt to add more depth to the original Independence Day it is shown that one ship managed to touch down on Earth’s surface and had started to drill to the planet core. This happened somewhere in Africa, where a warlord and his people were forced to fight against the aliens on the surface level instead of in the little space ships that zip around. Resurgence also introduces another Alien race into the mix. This one is a robot, hive-mind, consciousness, sphere, thing that is the last survivor of its race. This new alien has a secret planet where it trains survivors to build weapons to combat the “Harvesters” (the name given to the bad guy aliens). The Harvester aliens can detect where this robot sphere is and that is the reason they came back to Earth because this sphere thing is their only enemy.
As well as attempting to add more depth to the original story (because thats what audiences want in 2016, more exposition), it also has three or four side plots that end up serving no purpose to the overall narrative. If you thought all the aliens were destroyed at the end of Independence Day, you were wrong. They’re all either hiding out in Africa, fighting a warlord and his people, or trapped in Area 51 jail. The plot with Jeff Goldblum and the African warlord did little to contribute to the story since President Whitman and Dr. Okun (surprise, he’s not dead) have the same visions about the robot sphere and the Harvesters. It did add that the Harvesters were drilling to Earth’s core, but I think we can all agree that explanation ruins how terrifying their attack was in the first one. Also, Judd Hirsch returns, because he has to drive a group of children in a bus to where Jeff Goldblum’s David Levinson is at Area 51. Why? Because its important to know what all of the original characters are up to, and instead of killing him off like they do with Vivica Fox’s Jasmine Hiller and Will Smith’s Steven Hiller, he needs to drive those children to Area 51.
The film also suffers from a lack of timing. Any film is going to have to condense time in order to show a full series of events that make a full story, but Resurgence suffered from a lack of time control. Instead of scenes, we got moments. The first film succeeded in making certain scenes feel like they were taking place in real time, because they would unfold slowly, and naturally. Resurgence suffered because a lot of events happened too quickly, and others happened to slowly, or had their timing arbitrarily inflated by the inclusion of another subplot with a boat in the ocean that conveniently could time out the drill the aliens were using. Instead of establishing a set pacing from the beginning, the film ignored convention in favor of things that look cool. At one point Jessie T. Usher’s Dylan Hiller punches Liam Hemsworth’s Jake Morrison in the face, and it happens in a cafeteria in the base on the moon. Not as a natural flow of the events unfolding, but because the director clearly wanted that classic cliche of all the people in the cafeteria standing up to watch and hope these two characters fight it out. Resurgence is filled with scenes like this. They happen because it looks cool, but the film moves on and it almost doesn’t even matter.
Resurgence took all of the fun out of the first film and tried to give reason and explanation to it. As an action movie, we never needed there to be a reason why the aliens attacked in Independence Day, we just thought it looked cool and it was inspiring to see all of humanity band together to face a threat bigger than what divides us. Bill Pullman’s speech at the end of that film is one that still brings tears to my eyes when I watch that film. I think the fact that his speech in this one lacked the same emotional weight that the first film had speaks volumes as to how terrible this film was. It was as if they wanted to recreate the nostalgia of the first one, and set up a new franchise of movies at the same time, but they couldn’t decide which they wanted more. Even if Will Smith had been in this film, I don’t think he could have saved it from terrible writing and directing.