Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence - 6 stars out of 10

Independence Day: Resurgence - 6 stars out of 10

"Independence Day: Resurgence" is better than the critics would have you believe.  The action-packed story is everything that we want from a summer sci-fi blockbuster.  The issue is its connection to the iconic 1996 “Independence Day.”  Mega-fans of the original flocked to theaters to see a continuation of the story but were inevitably disappointed; meanwhile, anybody born in the past 25 years stayed away because they don’t feel any nostalgia for the original.  The end result?  A disappointing critical response paired with disappointing box office results.  “Resurgence” is a decent alien movie in its own right but probably would've made a better standalone film than a sequel.  The bad news is that the film spends so much time trying to connect itself to the original that the first quarter of the movie feels like a boring rationalization of why a sequel was necessary.  The good news is that if you show up to the theater a half-hour late, you won't miss anything.  That being said, it was amazing to revisit many of these characters after 20 years.  Jeff Goldblum,  Bill Paxton, Judd Hirsch, and Brent Spiner all delivered a fulfilling encore to their previous performances while newcomers Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe, and Angelababy established themselves as “Independence Day: The Next Generation.”  My favorite performance comes from Deobia Oparei as the machete-wielding African warlord that is a perfect fit for any action movie.  The film also gives us all of the Easter Eggs that we wanted with references to the original that are subtle but easy to spot so that they enhance the film without distracting from the plot.  I found the comedy to be better paced in this film than in the original, helping to preserve the intensity without interrupting it.  Much of the comedy is manifested in farfetched concepts (particularly the school bus) but they fit in well with the film’s action-comedy approach.  My main issue with the film, aside from the first half hour, was the lack of consistency in the timeline.  There was a large amount of travel squeezed into this one short day, such as multiple trips from the earth to the moon and a cross-country journey to Area 51.  I had a much easier time accepting a 30-foot tall, totally awesome alien queen than I had accepting the stretched out passing of time.  Many might argue that it is “just an action film,” but this needed to be more than that because “Independence Day” was such a cultural phenomenon 20 years ago.  I truly enjoyed “Independence Day: Resurgence” but its stunning special effects, interesting story, and good use of comedy was not enough to live up to the hype of its 1996 predecessor.

[Pictured: Dubai gets dropped on Paris - There are plenty of cool disaster sequences in this film]

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