Emilia Rowley || July 7th
Completely unapprehensive towards this movie – yes, I willingly wanted to see the already-slated sequel – I awaited the dimming of lights and, more importantly, Jeff Goldblum’s blockbuster return.
A little slow off the mark, it seems Roland Emmerich wants us to think this isn’t a straightforward rehash of Independence Day 1996; well it is, but it isn’t. We’re introduced to ‘new blood’ in the (fine) form of Liam Hemsworth, his love interest Maika Monroe, and Jessie T. Usher. Let’s not forget here that Jessie is playing our favourite Will Smith’s step-son; and because plot/you’ve probably already seen on the Internet, I won’t tell you why Big Willie Style is missing. Again, this isn’t a rehash.
Twenty years have passed since those good-for-nothing aliens decided to show up and cause havoc, and as we all know the good guys won; so Peace On Earth is the focus in this parallel-present. However, we’re mainly located on the moon for this drawn out opening sequence; Jake Morrison (Hemsworth) shows off by flying around in some really expensive equipment which stops some more really expensive equipment crushing the new Earth Space Defence (moon) HQ. This is followed by some really angry glares from ‘authority’ but secretly everyone is chuffed to bostin’ that they’re not squished. Anyway, immediately after this something happens that makes people think – wait for it – the original aliens are back! Or are they? Again, this isn’t a rehash.
If you were waiting for some explosions, they have now arrived. Destructive action has taken place, enough so that I legitimately thought the film was over just 30 minutes in. Luckily for me, and for all you sci-fi-action fans, it wasn’t; but something was left behind. Again, this isn’t a rehash.
There are some things regarding particular current events that ran through my brain whilst watching this which I’d like to share. The parallel-present U.S President is female: of course I cannot rightly say if this is coincidence, forward thinking or even a prediction, given how long it takes to make a movie; however #Hillary2016. Facial hair: specifically beards. Previous President Whitmore’s (Bill Pullman) substantial chin-cuddler displays a representation of age, anti-vanity and perhaps even weakness. However be warned, the pre-President we swooned over the last time, for his motivational speeches of course, becomes our hero – you’ll have to find out for yourselves whether it’s with or without his beard; and that friends is ‘Character Development Film Studies 101’. Now remember Dr Okun? And, for all you more hard-core ID1 fans, Dr Isaacs? Well to avoid spoiler alerts and such, be sure to keep a look for their togetherness on screen as it’s downright bloody lovely. Speaking of ‘old blood’ and with major kudos to my pal for telling me this, “We need to get you to sickbay!” and the scene within which this is exclaimed references another major franchise associated with Dr Okun (Brent Spiner). You’re welcome sci-fi fans who-didn’t-already-know-this. Again, it’s not a rehash.
This whole next paragraph is dedicated to on-screen father and son duo, David and Julius Levinson. Jeff Goldblum’s David is nothing short of Jeff Goldblum himself, which along with the rest of the parallel-present stuff mentioned, kind of makes it all slightly more believable….well for me anyway. As for Judd Hirsch, praise be that he has returned – it definitely takes the heat off the Fresh Prince not being here – the ‘bantz’ that occurs in their collective scenes brings a familiar and comedic element to the film, and at one point he is one tidal wave away from “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”. It’s not a rehash of that movie, either.
If characters (Jeff Goldblum) alone are still not enough to warrant you watching this film, you’ll be pleased to hear that some aliens do show up! They are bigger, better, angrier, more advanced technologically, more advanced strategically, and more advanced geographically this time around. Because it’s in the trailer, I can tell you that you’ll see the Hemsworth-that’s-not-Thor ducking and diving around the crumbling landmarks around the River Thames (another parallel present?) in a mini-spaceship. This is actually a really cracking sequence; your classic ‘car chase’ in the sky with exploding scenery to boot. Again, it’s not a rehash.
That’s basically covered the intro, so if you can get past the side-line characters that aren’t really doing anything, get into the characters that have returned, want to see some aliens that may or may not be the same ones from 1996 destroy some stuff that may or may not just have recovered from 1996, and find out the actual reasons why Dr Okun is still alive (!) after 1996, then there’s still time to watch this film. Independence Day: Resurgence is your early summer blockbuster, your easy cinematic escape which also just so happens to include a story that is ever so slightly familiar.
Again, it’s not a rehash.