Independence Day: Resurgence

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Release date: 23rd June 2016/Watch the trailer here

Independence Day: Resurgence – or Independence Day: The Sequel That Nobody Asked For. Aside from a handful of familiar faces and many, many references to the events of 1996, there’s very little that makes Resurgence an Independence Day sequel, and not just another alien invasion movie.

Set twenty years after the first film, Earth has been busy using recovered alien technology to build an immense planetary defence system. Then, aliens appear. It’s all very sudden – there’s a lot of time spent catching up with old characters (apart from Will Smith, conveniently killed off in the space of a sentence), but very little foreshadowing with regards to the actual aliens – although it was considerate of them to wait until the 4th of July to attack the planet again.

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At least things get slightly more interesting once the aliens show up. There’s still virtually no character development for any of the new characters – Liam Hemsworth and Maika Monroe join the cast, as well as Jessie T. Usher in the role of Will Smith’s son – and it’s still all very silly and nonsensical, but at least the special effects (and there are lots of them) are pretty good.

To Resurgence and Roland Emmerich’s credit, it’s not all as bad as it sounds. The dull new characters are excused by the immensely likeable original characters, and while it’s the old faces who get given the patriotic speeches (there are lots of them, too), the new players are allowed the occasional cheesy one-liner (‘It’s the fourth of July, so let’s show ’em some fireworks!’).

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The real problem with Resurgence is that nothing about it feels new or original – or even necessary. Making the spaceship bigger doesn’t make it better: a spaceship the size of an ocean is so unfeasible as to be unthreatening, and it seems like little more than an excuse to show off how much special effects have advanced in the last twenty years.

Some scenes even have a whiff of rip-off to them: a squad of fighter pilots navigating a spaceship to blow up its core is all very Star Wars, isn’t it?

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a little cheese and a sense of familiarity in a sequel – take Jurassic World, for example – but in Resurgence, it all ends up feeling like too much. Even though what most viewers will be looking for in this sequel is a two hour piece of popcorn entertainment – which Resurgence more than delivers – nothing can excuse a plot that doesn’t make sense and a terrible script. Except for Jeff Goldblum, maybe.

★★★

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