[Movie Review] ‘Resurgence’ Reignites ‘Independence Day’ Fireworks

Posted By on July 19, 2016

The new Independence Day invasion of angry aliens reignites the fire in the sky, but there is little else to this mostly unnecessary Resurgence to make it shine with much more force than a sparkler.

Resurgence is of course a sequel the landmark blockbuster Independence Day, which left audiences in awe when it was released in 1996, with it’s never-before-seen scale of destruction, and it is a legitimate classic that more than holds up today, but I am not sure that anyone was really begging for a sequel. 

Aliens attack in 'Independence Day: Resurgence'.

Aliens attack in ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’.

Where the original film successfully hits on every level, from epic spectacle to intimate emotion to perfectly timed comic relief to just enough romance, with charisma to spare and the best possible special effects of its time, the new sequel brings little more to the table than the now-familiar eye-popping blast of watching even bigger flying saucers destroy even more national landmarks.

The tagline for the new movie is “We always knew they’d come back”, and it must be true because not one character in Resurgence seems to be at all surprised that the unnamed aliens are back for another attack, and when we retaliate, it’s as if it’s just another day at the job for most involved. Maybe this is because some of the main characters were just kids 20 years when the first attack happened, and so perhaps it is all so deeply ingrained in them that this is and will be their reality, that it’s not shocking to them? 

In any case, it is fun to see the always entertaining Jeff Goldblum back, though his character is tied up with a former love interest who interestingly is not the one he was sharing a kiss with when the credits rolled 20 years ago. The great Bill Pullman is also back as the former president, now haunted by memories of the first attack and visions of the oncoming resurgence. 

Jeff Goldblum stars in 'Independence Day: Resurgence'.

Jeff Goldblum stars in ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’.

Liam Hemsworth is our new hero, Jake, but his motivation and history is left a bit too vague to invest much in him. 

Meanwhile, the two kids from the first film – the president’s daughter and fighter pilot Will Smith’s son – are both featured prominently, now played by Maika Monroe and Jessie Usher, respectively, and they have deep drives to fight this fight that we can understand.

Monroe and Usher also show a glimpse of promising chemistry in their few on-screen moment together, making me wish it was just about them, minus the stereotypical Jake.

Vivica A. Fox also returns, but only in a small cameo as the widow of Smith’s character, and former Star Trek droid Brent Spiner is revived from an alien-induced coma to offer a bit of insight into the invaders. 

Just like any horror sequel, however, the more that gets revealed about the motivations behind the killers, the less scary they inevitably become, as the first film wisely gave no reason for why there were attacking and attempting to exterminate us. 

Bill Pullman stars in 'Independence Day: Resurgence'.

Bill Pullman stars in ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’.

Resurgence tries to tap into what made the original great, but it is ultimately less accessible, due in part to the fact that in the film’s universe, the last 20 years since the first attack have seen major scientific and military advances thanks to the alien technology, making the world of the sequel more of an unrelatable alternate universe as opposed to the tactile original that echoed our actual real world and how we imagine the planet might have reacted. 

With all the colorful fireworks but none of the spirit of its predecessor, it is Independence Day again, but this Resurgence is no holiday.

Official Rating:  2.5 out of 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Matt Artz

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Independence Day: Resurgence

Independence Day: Resurgence (rated PG13) is now playing locally at RC Theatres in Kill Devil Hills.


Posted by Matt Artz

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