I’ve always been a big fan of 1996’s alien adventure flick Independence Day, so I was pretty excited to see INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE. I had my reservations, of course — was it needed? Would it live up to the first film? — but I wandered off to see it anyway, at a midnight showing preceded by Independence Day (yay!) and a lot of excitement from me.
Now, RESURGENCE is a fun watch for what it is, but, ultimately, I found it completely unnecessary and slightly muddled. The introduction of familiar but older characters didn’t really work, and I didn’t care about a single one of them. In fact, I was really hoping a couple of them would be eaten by aliens, but sadly that never transpired! I know it was a logical route to go twenty years down the line, but I think brand new characters would have fared better, and also been a damn sight more interesting while they were at it.
RESURGENCE does have its good moments: there are very welcome role reprisals from Jeff Goldblum (need I say more?) and Bill Pullman, a couple of impressive set pieces, a semi-exciting mini battle, and an alien that looks like something borrowed from a Ridley Scott set circa 1979. Entertaining, yes. Worth a second or third watch? I’m not so sure.
Several days after seeing it, my main issue with RESURGENCE is that it hasn’t stayed in my head at all. Maybe I’d have liked it more had I not had the absolute treat of seeingIndependence Day directly before it (“Welcome to Earth!” will never get old), but, to be honest, I still don’t think it would have lived up to my admittedly high expectations. I’m one of those people who remembers ridiculously small details about the majority of films I see at the cinema, but this one has succeeded in eluding me — its lasting effect appears to be next to none.
Maika Monroe (Patricia) and Liam Hemsworth (Jake) are the main additions to RESURGENCE, and two of the biggest contemporary names on the billing sheet. I’ve never been a fan of Monroe but have always quite liked Hemsworth, though neither of them did anything for me in this little alien outing. I can’t help but think there are better actors and actresses out there at the moment, many of which would look more convincing during an alien invasion than these two did. Jeff Goldblum (David) is a shining light where the cast is concerned, and, without him, RESURGENCE would have been a very different film indeed.
Aside from all my little quibbles, I have to say that RESURGENCE is worth a watch, whether you’re an existing Independence Day fan or not. The scale isn’t as big as I was expecting and the plot suffers from raising more questions that it answers, but overall it’s a well-made film that serves as a fun continuation of a story that still holds a special place for many a cinephile. I personally think the story should have been left alone, but that’s just me — I firmly believe Independence Day works better as a standalone, and I think there’s a reason we didn’t see a sequel eighteen years ago. Some films just have a lasting impact by themselves, without the need for superfluous sequels, and Independence Day definitely falls into that category. Still, see it for yourself and decide whether it’s a resurgence or a forgettable Hollywood mishap — either way, there are some cool aliens waiting to be seen!