I happen to love Independence Day when it came out in 1996. In fact, I recall seeing it twice within a week of its release. So when a sequel was mooted some years ago, I took the news with a tinge of apprehension. After all Hollywood has an issue of mucking up follow-ups in the worse way possible. Independence Day: Resurgence suffers from that shortfall in more ways than one.
The Story: Independence Day: Resurgence takes place 20 years after the events of the first film with earth thriving following the global alien attack. United like never before, the nations have put aside their differences and utilised the alien technology to their full advantage with advanced weaponry and a global defence system designed to repel any further alien attacks in the future. Naturally, best laid plans never work as the invading aliens return enforce, threatening to destroy the planet.
What Worked: To be fair, credit has to be given to the effort of linking the characters of the first film with the new heroes and storyline of the sequel. President Whitmore and Director Levinson, the two central figures from Independence Day have equally important roles to play in Resurgence, as do Dr Okun and Julius Levinson as well.
What Didn’t: The convoluted storyline of the aliens returning along with an appearance of another mysterious alien craft. Understandably, 20th Century Fox wanted to make the sequel massively bigger but I’m not sure a gigantic spacecraft ¼ size of earth delivered the desired effect fans were looking for. Ditto goes for the dialogue, which comes off something the scriptwriters dialled in for the most part.
Plus Points: Watching the destruction of some iconic Asian monuments and buildings such as the Petronas Twin Towers and Marina Bay Sands on film. It’s a departure to say the least for Roland Emmerich who has destroyed the White House on film more times than anyone else in Hollywood.
Minus Points: Dodgy special effects in certain scenes, a supposed sentient being resembling that depressing robot from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the Godzilla type ending with the gigantic alien queen.
Conclusion: 20 years is a long time to wait for a sequel and Independence Day: Resurgence suffers from that old adage of being too little too late. It tries to make up for it by raising the stakes and interjecting the storyline with a bit of nostalgia and poor humour, but all it does is create confusion. That said, Independence Day wasn’t a critical hit, but it was certainly fun. Independence Day: Resurgence, not so much. Good luck with the third part of this franchise 20th Century Fox, you’ll need it!