<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Roland Emmerich. Starring Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Jessie Usher, William Fichtner, Travis Tope, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Judd Hirsch, Bren Spiner, Vivica A Fox, Angelbaby, Sela Ward, Grace Huang, Deobia Oparei
Running time: 2 hours
The original Independence Day had charisma, great characters, superb actors, Will Smith and a good story. Resurgence has none of these things.
We do this don’t we, us children of the 80s and 90s, a time when films were good and became classics that you could watch again and again: we go for these reboots and remakes and ‘sequels’ (even 20 years after the original) simply because of nostalgia. We loved that film so we must be loyal to that memory. Time and again we are cheated, hoodwinked and denied a chance to keep those memories sacred.
It’s happened multiple times with films like Transformers destroying our cherished childhood morning cartoons and fantasies. We used to buy all the action figures (that could actually ‘transform’) and play with them for hours; no we didn’t have iPads and Instagram. Now we look at Michael Bay’s films and feel sick. Sick to our stomachs that the kids today have no idea of what the Transformers were actually about. Sick that ‘filmmakers’ ruin such classic creations simply to make themselves richer. Even the new Star Wars film was a simple rehash of the original three films. Is that what we deserve?
Independence Day: Resurgence is also more of a remake of the first film in that the story is… exactly the same! There is no plot or character development, no time to dwell on the destruction of the planet and deaths of millions. All of it is swept under the carpet with CGI and wisecracks. There are no stirring moments, touching dialogue or rousing speeches telling people ‘we will not go quietly in to the night.’ Instead we get mundane formula. We get an African-American actor (Jessie Usher) who is supposed to be Will Smith’s character’s son since he obviously didn’t want to do the movie. We get the hot Liam Hemsworth who is the actual hero of the film getting to sideline the ‘token black guy’.
Amongst the bursts of CGI – and Brent Spiner behaving like a mad man but at least giving us something to be interested in – there is not one thing unique as the film unfolds exactly like the first one, but with no interest in making us empathise with the tragedy or cheer for the heroes.
There’s romance between the young ones and even a gay romance between two oldies who only get to call each other ‘babe’, while the physical affection is left to the straight characters because who on earth wants to see two ugly old men kissing. Perhaps they should have made Liam Hemsworth and his ‘bro’ played by Travis Tope have a fling.
(Also read this from theguardian.com: Why Independence Day: Resurgence’s gay couple are denied a close encounter)
And of course there’s pandering to the Chinese market with a few Chinese characters thrown in for good measure that also speak in Chinese. Could they be more blatant about it all?
There’s a woman President of the United States (Sela Ward) as well, which is a tad coincidental considering what’s happening in American politics nowadays.
They had 20 years to think up a story for a new Independence Day but all they could add to it was a third element to the story that simply sets up another film. Would we even be interested in watching that? They defeated the aliens twice already. What are they going to show us? And do all Hollywood aliens come from the same SFX company?
I saw the trailer for the new Ghostbusters movie during this film and shudder to think what a mess they must have made of it. They’ll never be able to replicate the magic of those films but they do it simply because they know we’ll go and watch it and make them richer. It’s about time we said ‘No. We will not go quietly into the night, we will fight these bland, formulaic, lacklustre and messed up rip off films by not going and watching them anymore.’
They’re not just robbing us of our money, but our treasured childhood memories and affinity for these characters that we’ve grown up with. They play on our nostalgia and feelings for the ‘good old days’ since we’re not living in them anymore. We can write better movies than this. And we should… But as long as you keep going and watching movies like this, they’ll think that’s what you want. Go back and watch those old originals and you’ll see why these new films cause us to rise up against them.
PS: Also read this article from variety.com: The 5 Most Ridiculous Things About ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’