Independence Day: Resurgence 3 Stars (out of 5 for visual effects)
“Even with all of the bells and whistles, I am not sure how many of you in the end will really care.”
Disaster films have been around since the Silent Film era. There were big epics being made even back then. With the passing of each decade, this genre continued to be popular. I believe that the first, and most significant alien theme drama, was released in 1953 with THE WAR OF THE WORLDS.
The original INDEPENDENCE DAY, released in 1996, would go on to become the highest-grossing film of the year. At the time, film critic Robert Ebert has this to say about the new blockbuster film:
“INDEPENDENCE DAY is in the tradition of silly summer fun, and on that level I kind of liked it.” He went on to write, “There are some neat ideas in the movie–especially the revelation that Area 51, the government’s “secret” base north of Las Vegas, actually does harbor that alien spaceship everybody believes the feds captured in New Mexico in 1948.”
As the head of the Nevada Broadcasters Association at the time, I was part of a group of guests who were invited to the Las Vegas premier of the movie. I can still remember who was sitting directly behind me, Clark County Commissioner Lorraine Hunt and Churchill County’s State Senator, Mike McGinness. When that Area 51 scene first appeared, all of the politicos began to talk. “Have you ever been there,” asked one. “Is this what is actually going on at Area 51? I would love to go,” said another.
Now, twenty years after INDEPENDENCE DAY, we are introduced to part 2, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE. Area 51 plays a major role in this sequel. I would love to write that this new film, despite having the same director (Roland Emmerich) and many of the same cast members (Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner), was more than just a silly summer movie. Unfortunately, it is not. As I was walking out of the theater I heard a lot of, “It didn’t live up to the original,” and “Was not the same without Will Smith”.
There is a reason why 20th Century Fox did not schedule domestic press screenings for this film. I found that the screenplay was all over the place. Even more disappointing was the absence of character development resulting in no emotional connection with the story.
The characters played by Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Jessie T. Usher, Sela Ward and James Duval were all underdeveloped and their talents seemed wasted. Was there a middle portion of this movie? Was any time spent on creating conclusions? There was also an absence of heart, soul, and emotions in this film.
As the $165 Million project came to an abrupt ending after teasing a part 3, the audience remained muted as the credits began to roll. There was absolutely no applause. I said to myself, after 20 years of preparations, this is all that we get?
When it comes to visual effects, Director Roland Emmerich is a genius. This film is made to be seen in 3-D IMAX. It does have its technical wow moments, but even with all of the bells and whistles, I am not sure how many of you will really care in the end.
I believe that part of the disconnected feeling in this film is due to the current mood in this country and the reality of just how barbaric our world has become. Who among us could believe that a world united in order to defeat invading aliens, would then gather around the campfire and begin singing Kumbaya? I fear that we would go right back to killing each other.