Monday, June 27, 2016

Looking at Movies (First Run) - Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

I waited until my son saw this movie before writing this review because he has a tendency to see things in movies that I miss. He was able to make some sort of sense out of that mess that was the last Terminator movie, so I figured he could help the old man out with Independence Day: Resurgence. While my boy was able to clarify a couple of thing for me, even he was disappointed at this movie. My son hates to speak ill of action movies with big special effects because that is the kind of movie he loves to watch. But after getting past the first one or two good points associated with Independence Day: Resurgence, even my son had a really hard time finding anything redeeming about this film.

Independence Day: Resurgence makes the first Independence Day look like Citizen Kane. Director Roland Emmerich has gained a reputation for ignoring logic and telling stories that look fantastic on the screen, but make little or no sense in reality. I have said this before and it applies to this movie - while you should suspend disbelief for a fantasy story, you should not be asked to suspend logic. If you thought Emmerich's ending to the first Independence Day was ridiculous, then you ain't seen nothing yet.

This movie looks awesome. At some points, Emmerich over-reaches his $200 million budget to get effects that looked like paintings instead of high definition pictures. There were several points in the movie where it looked like the CGI team mailed it in that day instead of actually trying, and that tends to take away from the rest of the film. To me, big special effects and 3D are gimmicks used by people who cannot tell a good story. I found that Independence Day: Resurgence did not prove me wrong.

To me, it looked like someone told Emmerich that Independence Day was a good film but it needed a different ending. So what he did was film the same exact movie all over again, and then gave it a new ending. All of the old familiar plot elements are here including the pilot who goes crazy, the crazy pilot flying into the alien ship to destroy it, and alien ventriloquism with a tentacle around the neck of a human. If you loved all of that stuff in the first movie, then you will be happy to know it is all in the second movie as well.

The characters in Resurgence are almost identical as the first movie as well. Aside from the five characters carried over from the first movie, you also have the young, slick African American hot shot pilot, the strong-willed woman in the White House, the president with military experience that he just cannot get out of his system, and David Levinson's love interest. The problem is that Emmerich assumes that, since he is just plugging new actors into the same types of roles, he does not need to do any character development. The result is that, when everything starts hitting the fan, we have no idea who to root for, no idea what to look for, and we simply don't care.

In the first Independence Day movie, Emmerich actually did a very good job at building up the characters to the point where each main character had a personality we could grab onto. In this movie, he bypasses character development to focus on special effects. Character development is essential to a good story, while special effects are gimmicks. Once again, the focus on gimmicks causes the story to suffer, and that is bad movie making.

If you liked all the corny lines wrapped in cheesy reactions from actors from the first movie, then you will love this one. There is enough cheese and corn in this movie to fill a million burritos. The dialogue in Resurgence is not as bad as a George Lucas Star Wars movie, but it is not good either. The dialogue is clunky, predictable, and almost unnecessary in so many places.

Just like Jurassic World was a remake of Jurassic Park, Independence Day:Resurgence is a remake of Independence Day. Resurgence even goes so far as to end in the salt flats of the desert in just the same way the first movie did. If you like special effects and cheesy dialogue, then you will love this movie. Otherwise, bring a good book.

Rating: 1 out of 5

George N Root III is a movie fanatic who did like the first Independence Day movie. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at