“It’s a lot bigger than the last one”
And it is bigger than the last one – way bigger, in fact, and if you watched the first Independence Day you will understand how vastly different the size of the enemy is. Independence Day: Resurgence decided to go gung-ho and not hold back on the destruction.
But just because it is sizably bigger does not mean it is greater. The film starts two decades after the first alien attack and this time the human race are much more equipped to handle alien technology. Why? Because they have decided to modify the alien weapons left behind from the last war for their own use. Unbeknown to them, the enemy is planning a return, and this time they are smarter and more destructive, and us helpless humans have to rely on the new defence program to be resilient. The U.S President, teams of scientists and a set of brave fighter pilots have to face a tough task of beating a revitalised alien race. Sounds bigger and better, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately not. Whilst the film does show the destructive nature of what the humans are up against, it does not back this up with a narrative worth caring about. This is louder than the previous film but it lacks impact. You can see mass destruction, millions of people dying, shock and horror, but we have seen this type of film before – it is nothing new, and the fact that it is a sequel to Independence Day is the only differing variable in comparison to other “end of the world” films. The concept of mass destruction in big-budget Hollywood films has become boring, tiring and repetitive. Here is how I see it: step one – create a narrative worth viewing, and then, step two: show the impact of the aliens arriving. Step one is missing. The film does not even bring forth the feeling of desperation, or hope, which the human race would rely on if this ever happened.
When I see mass destruction I want to feel something, I want to feel shocked and in awe at how bad the state of affairs is. The film does not provide the seriousness of the situation, because all of the characters involved appear so laid back about what is happening that it takes away the importance of the predicament that they face. The spaceship that lands is ridiculously larger, and the film reminds you of this aspect on more than one occasion, but the audience does not need to be constantly reminded, and I did not feel more impressed each time a character made this insignificant point. I wanted to be impressed by the storyline and I wanted to see a reason for making a sequel. I wanted a worthy continuation – the destruction is larger but the storyline falls way too short. Maybe I am asking too much from a generic Sci-Fi action film and if I am, then maybe the industry should consider giving the grand production companies fewer budgets to produce such recycled garbage.
Once you get past the weak narrative the film is fun and entertaining as you immerse yourself into the CGI and the various battles the characters face. The dialogue is overly cheesy, but you can almost forgive that because, in essence, the film is just entertainment and a glorified remake of the original. There were a few moments where I chuckled at a couple of lines, and it was obvious that the production team had been given a large budget to create this, and that they wanted to have fun. The cast clearly enjoyed performing the roles. The story does provide nostalgia – it constantly reminds the audience of what happened 20 years previously and the people that died. By the time the film ends I just accepted it for what it is – mindless fun about an alien invasion, good special effects and a talented cast having fun on the big screen using extortionate budgets. I wish it was more than that but I assume some audiences will appreciate it for what it is.
The narrative is not too complicated either. It is very easy to follow despite its many movements in location. The fighter pilots are predictably masculine and/or attractive, there are a couple of generic romantic storylines thrown in there, the scientists are completely bonkers, and the government… well, they are just the run-of-the-mill patriotic US officials who make quick-fire decisions. All very Hollywood, and we have seen it before.
I am sure many fans were excited to see this after the success of the first film and I do wonder if some feel left down after so much hype surrounding this one. I do hope the fans who waited for this film enjoy it. I really do.
It is certainly bigger than the last one. But it’s far from better.
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Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.