Review: Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)


Director: Roland Emmerich

Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Liam Hemsworth

Release Date: 23rd June 2016 (UK)

It’s been twenty years in the making, but Roland Emmerich has finally brought himself to direct the sequel to Independence Day. Expectation was always going to be high, with many critical of how the story could feasibly continue following Earth’s defeat of the attempted invasion in 1996. Well now they’re back, bigger than ever and hellbent on enacting some serious revenge.

Things have changed since the end of the last film. Earth has been preparing for the possibility of another attack with a small colony on Mars and a sophisticated defense system, but Will Smith is dead so it’s very much swings and roundabouts. It takes only a matter of minutes for the new mother ship to arrive with another army, mobilised and ready to strike, but the new President is much hastier to retaliate than Mr. Whitmore and her actions could inadvertently trigger an interstellar war. Don’t worry, no spoilers here.

As for Whitmore, the trauma of the 1996 has taken its toll on his physical and mental wellbeing. He looks old and worn, but like the doctor they are still equipped with a telepathic link to the aliens following their close encounters in the previous film. As the aliens reawaken they are key to understanding what their intentions are and where they will hit next. Enter Liam Hemsworth and  Jessie T. Usher – the fighter pilots who will ultimately take responsibility for the fate of humanity, with the experienced and now very senior Jeff Goldblum by their side.

Resurgence is loyal to the plot of Independence Day and creates a feasibly context within which this sequel, soon to be threequel, can exist. Fortunately this is not a carbon copy but feels more like a natural extension to the preceding story, though littered with acknowledgements to the former, but where the former was more action Resurgence proudly embraces science fiction. There are more aliens, there is more fighting and there’s a lot more space than you may expect but will certainly appreciate.

Emmerich retains the style of the original, with far more advanced effects tools at his disposal and no doubt they will be looking for a nod or two at the Oscars. Expect contention in the visual effects and sound categories.

Anyone going in to see this film will benefit from watching Independence Day but it’s not essential. Essentially this is a human vs alien movie that refers to but doesn’t rely on it’s companion to make sense. It stands alone as an entertaining blockbuster that takes advantage of every trick at its disposal. Resurgence is eye chocolate, and we’re not just talking about Liam Hemsworth, though we still think the character could have been better played by Channing Tatum.

Some characters will die and some won’t, but Resurgence is certainly more ruthless when it comes to the fate of its old guard. This was very much about passing the baton on to a new generation of humans who can, and we quote, “take the fight to them” and carry this franchise into its third chapter.

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