Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
June 26, 2016 5:20 AM - Subscribe

Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind's new space defenses be enough?
posted by phunniemee (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We saw the movie last night. Me and Mrs. Fleebnork have a lot of nostalgia for the original film because it opened a couple of weeks after we were married. We watch it every year on July 4th as a tradition.

For this movie, some of the nostalgia works, some doesn't. Judd Hirsch looks like he has barely aged a day. Robert Loggia looks like they had to prop him up for his brief appearance. Bill Pullman has a speech that isn't nearly as inspiring as his previous one. Jeff Goldblum is Jeff Goldblum.

Most of the younger cast are forgettable. Brent Spiner Obviously enjoys chewing the scenery, and concludes the movie with a "wait, that's the end?" sort of line.

If you enjoyed the first movie and have some nostalgia for it, you'll probably like this one. Overall, I would say it's like they were trying to make a 90s style action movie without realizing its 2016.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:15 AM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

My thoughts.
posted by phunniemee at 6:33 AM on June 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

Actually my real thoughts on this are that I rate it a solid 6 overall, but give it an 8.5 or 9 in terms of seeing things explode in new and exciting ways.

I was really looking forward to see how they were going to deal with a few different things (knowing, of course, that the movie was probably going to be objectively not great):

1) That it's set in the present, but with the benefit of 20 years of borrowed alien technology. We got that in this movie with a ton of gratuitous exposition piled on top. But that's ok. We got a whole generation of kids who fly spaceships now, and I guess the moon is a thing, so that's cool. And GIANT SPACE LASERS. Yes.

2) How does destroying the world affect the economy? Lots of people died, so there's less competition for jobs. The world needs to rebuild and protect itself against this sort of thing in the future, so the government is probably going to spend a huge amount of money getting things back on track. Huge openings in the tech sector, lots of construction jobs, people united in a common goal, etc. And we got that in this movie, too. It was a little treacly, what with all the governments working together for the last two decades, no wars, all the militaries combined into one big earth/space defense teamwork project--but ok fine. How nice for them.

3) Earth's resistance to the new threat. This we did not get, which I found disappointing. Here they had been, preparing their giant space lasers for 20 years, and NOTHING worked. Nothing. All of it was destroyed by the Big Bad before even getting a chance to run. I just wanted to see it in action, even if only for a few minutes. But no, a couple targeted zaps from the aliens and it all went kaput.
posted by phunniemee at 7:16 AM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Saw this last night. I do have a good amount of nostalgia for the original. Very much not impressed, they dropped the ball in nearly every area.

The setting is done pretty well, an imagined future 20 years down the line of an alien invasion, where society has used the tech as well as the opportunity to unite works well, but doesn't really inform as much as it might. I liked the idea of the ground was against the aliens in Africa, but setting up the warlord doesn't have as much payback as it might have, a decent sequence of him and Floyd hunted/hunting in the dark (sort of Alien: Isolation style) would have worked better I think.

I thought the casting was particularly egregious. Like him or not Will Smith in '96 was possibly the most charismatic action star available. Replacing him with Hemsworth was an appalling choice, I assume taken as he checks out with the under 25 demographic. He has nothing to offer here except a thinly written rebel persona (the writer's fault not his really) and a grin so unconvincing and rote that it will probably be the first human expression that computers master. Clearly this needed new blood, the problem is the new blood was completely insipid. The young Whitmore was morose and unappealing, Hemsworth's mate was irritating and unfunny.

The old cast that do survive are used to different degrees of effect. Spiner has an expanded role and it works ok, and his relationship with his assistant is one of the stronger points in terms of character interaction. Goldblum is a bit of a placeholder with not that much to do. Hirsch gets back into character well but isn't given much to do. Possibly the biggest failing is how the characters interact, either the ones with relationships established in the old film or the new ones. Goldblum and Hirsch probably offered the most potential but its not taken advantage of and the new characters are also poorly served in this regard. Pullman gets to give a mini-speech which works ok, but the substitute for his presidential speech comes from William Fichtner, now I am a Fichtner fan, but inspirational presidential material he is not, and his speech is so tacked on and devoid of meaning that it is pointless. Why is he talking to the world when the world knows nothing of what has been happening in their defence and they have no role? I would rather not have had Mrs Hiller in the movie than see her egregiously killed off just as passing motivation for her son.

The dialogue is pretty ropey throughout and the plot doesn't really make a lot of sense. I can see they would want to exploit the nostalgia and the references to the first movie but it feels like they picked out some key scenes and then tacked some more stuff on later. The speeches don't work and feel forced in. The attack on the alien ship is pretty much the same as in 1996 but (I) done less well and (ii) makes less sense - why attack from the side when all your ships are able to fly in space?

Disappointed basically. They set themselves up for a third film: The friendly alien offers high tech weapons from previous defeated species but also says no one has ever defeated a bad alien harvester. Then the humans beat it with the borrowed bad alien tech. Then the humans decide to go after the bad aliens in the sequel, using the loser alien tech. Doesn't sound like much of a plan. Not excited at all about seeing it.
posted by biffa at 7:40 AM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Actually the friendly alien says nobody had ever killed a Harvester Queen before, although PLOT HOLE ALERT if there was actually a Harvester Queen aboard the mothership in ID4, which would explain why they all went meep after we blew it up, then we had already killed a Queen 20 years previously and since the friendly alien detected the distress call, it should have known that.

Like the original it was big dumb fun and not meant to be taken too seriously. Everybody was very surprised at the success of ID4, to the point that the filmmakers published a big public "thank you" to the fans who had made the movie so much more successful than they had ever dared hope. The shoutouts in Resurgence to other movies come fast, and it's almost worth seeing the movie just to track them. 2001 and the Alien franchise get the most love, although it's also obviously no accident Spiner promises to get his shot friend to "sick bay."

The pre-reinvasion world-building is superb and the designers had a lot of fun adding alien tech to the last 20 years of our own tech development. I personally loved the flyers that were obviously pre-1996 helicopter bodies outfitted with new alien flight engines. That was an almost Blade Runner-esque "layering" of the new tech on top of old.

I was really hoping we would prevail again because the aliens, being telepathic, had no concept at all of computer security, and while we had (at least on the cutting room floor) gotten the tech for computers from them, we had to harden ours against non hive-mind adversaries. Which is actually a sensible explanation for why Jeff Goldblum was able to hack their system with a Mac in 1996. Everything about the new Big Bad was a little too Big and a little too Bad to believe, but I rolled with it because it's Jeff and Brent and everybody and OOOOOH look at the 3D shit blowing up. The Maguffin was a little too pat; the aliens are drilling down to suck out the Earth's core and one minute makes a difference? But I just mentally substituted something a little less stupid and let the characters roll.

Although I know it seems like they set it up for another sequel I hope they don't go there because there is no way to do it that will make any damn sense. What the friendly alien has set us up for is a generational war that will last for thousands of years. Obviously there are many Harvester Queens out there and killing one doesn't affect the others except that they recall the orphaned resources. If they try to end the whole war which the friendly aliens have been losing since before we had civilization in a single stroke ID4 / Resurgence / Ender's Game style, I think my disbelief will collapse into a black hole and suspending it will become impossible.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:53 PM on June 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

This was a terrible movie, and I say this as someone who enjoys action movies. The worst movie I've seen in years. I was mad that they didn't even get the special effects right, they were really bad, a lot of very obvious green screen stuff, plus the bad acting and bad writing, well.... It was bad.
posted by bq at 10:19 PM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Robert Loggia looks like they had to prop him up for his brief appearance.

That's who that was? I didn't even recognize him.

They set themselves up for a third film

Hopefully that one won't show up until 2036.

It wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen, or even the worst this year (BvS gets that honor). So much wasted potential though.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:36 PM on June 28, 2016

It's an entertaining enough movie, but not one that'll be rewatched the way the original was. Bill Pullman pretty much just sleepwalks through this, Jeff Goldblum is a toned-down version of his 1996 character; and if Judd Hirsch refuses to age then they should have slapped a ton of makeup on him, because now he looks more like Goldblum's brother than father. And Hemsworth is pretty, but other than generic screamin' & cussin' that's about it for his acting skills.

They really, really should have gotten Will Smith back: he was the best thing in the original, and his partnership with Goldblum made that movie.
posted by easily confused at 3:10 PM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm with bq on this one. I thought this was a terrible movie. I rarely find myself hoping that a movie ends soon, but every time they gave some sort of time hack, I would rejoice that only so much more time was left in the movie.

There were a few laughs here and there, but mostly I didn't find it enjoyable.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 6:55 PM on July 2, 2016

Holy shit, how does that level of gorgeous world-building and amazing sets/ships in space turn into such a boring charisma-free mess?

I saw this less than 8 hours ago and can't remember a single character's name.

Liam Hemsworth, I'm sorry dude, you're very good-looking and in my mind the lesser Hemsworth. And Chris IMO peaks with his Thor role -- it's really, REALLY on-point but also hope he can find another role that doesn't suck.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:41 PM on July 3, 2016

Despite loving the original, I had low expectations for this movie. And it was still a huge disappointment.

The whole movie felt like they were checking off a list of scenes that happened in the first movie. Detecting the alien just before it arrives? Check. Dog saved in the nick of time? Check. People driving across the desert to Area 51. Check. Someone has to sacrifice themselves by flying into the enemy sphincter? Check. President gives a dramatic speech? Check. (Don't get me started on how inutterably awful and pointless the speech was this time.) There are at least a dozen other examples. It's one thing to pay homage to the original, it's quite another to rip it off scene for scene.

What the first movie absolutely nailed was the sense of dread and awe at seeing the aliens, and how it impacted the world. In this movie we have a world united and it still feels so much smaller. Where the first one let the movie slowly build up, this sequel had no chance to breathe and let us really experience the possible impact. Where the world was wrecked and history changed during the first movie, after this one it feels like we're right where we started.

The movie seems to believe that "bigger is badder." What if the ship is bigger! 3000 miles diameter! What if the alien queen is this huge monster!

Some of the dialogue was absolutely terrible. Like, it was put forth in the writing room as a joke but someone took it seriously. "There's a tall, gangly man out there waving at us?" "Tall? Gangly? Must be my son." "Hey Boo-boo!"

Most egregious of all is how much time was wasted in this movie. There were three sets of characters having their own "stories" in this film that had literally zero impact on the story. They could have been edited out entirely and nothing would have changed.

The treasure hunters in the boat near the alien ship could have been replaced with a countdown timer in Area 51.

Ian Malcolm's dad was the impetus for a revelatory moment in the first film, in this one he teleports from a boat on the ocean to a school bus in the desert where he drives kids around and tries to sell them books for $9.99.

And then some guy who for some reason was with Ian Malcolm visiting a warlord who has been fighting the aliens hand to hand for years manages to finally do something impactful and shoots up some aliens - while the much more interesting warlord stands around uselessly and tells him he has a warrior's spirit.
posted by 2ht at 7:58 AM on July 4, 2016

This was a bad movie and the people who made it should feel bad.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:58 PM on July 15, 2016

They want our molten core!!! I thought this movie was hilarious.
posted by gt2 at 3:43 PM on October 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

OK, so this just hit HBO; and wow, this really was kinda terrible.

Most egregious of all is how much time was wasted in this movie.

Yes yes yes. It's full of relationships that we have no investment in. And it feels so long and drawn-out compared to the original: although looking at IMDB this is a 2hr movie and the original was 2h 25m!

But the original is so much better paced; a thrill ride where this is a slog. Maybe because the original had to ration its effects budget carefully, so it builds the tension to each big action sequence; whereas this one has CGI action pretty much all the damn time.

I liked the idea of the ground was against the aliens in Africa, but setting up the warlord doesn't have as much payback as it might have

Yep. And it heavily lampshades his "attack them from the back" knowledge, but then at the end the "attack the queen where the tentacles join" information is delivered by... one of the generic white characters. And then he's pretty much just present at the end just to make generic dorky white dude feel good about himself? Ooooookay.

(Also I noticed: y'know I think they're hinting that Dr. Oken's gay, but it's so coy and so chaste that they're plausibly-deniably just-good-buddies? Yes; yes.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:56 PM on March 25, 2017

So, they keep saying how humanity has banded together to fight a common enemy, put aside their differences, etc. but they still really wanted their African character to be a "warlord."
posted by RobotHero at 9:38 AM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

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