Movie Review – Independence Day: Resurgence

Independence Day: Resurgence is less a resurgence and more a redundance.

⭐ ⭐ ½
Zachary Cruz-Tan

You’re an absolute fool if you don’t listen to Jeff Goldblum. The man has survived transmutation, dinosaurs (twice), talking domestic pets, aliens… and he still goes unheeded. All the world leaders and supposed intellectuals in Independence Day: Resurgence glare at him as if he’s a nutcase, then chuck his opinions in the bin, all before they’re either incinerated, stabbed, or shot. Clearly none of them have seen Jurassic Park (1993), or their own prequel.

That’s probably because they’ve spent the last twenty years preparing for an alien invasion and think they’ve got it all covered. That’s until a ship a bajillion times the size of the mothership in the first Independence Day looms over planet Earth like a parasitic Frisbee and sinks its gigantic claws deep into the ground; the effects of which should cause the Earth to rupture and split at the seams. But in Roland Emmerich land, all this does is toss some landmark buildings into the next continent and decimate entire populations. It’s a neat trade-off.

All the leaders of the world summon David Levinson (Goldblum), who you will recall saved the world before by infecting the aliens with a computer virus from a USB flash drive. High-tech stuff. Dave arrives and predicts total annihilation again, as if the alien ship the size of Africa, latched on to the planet’s surface, wasn’t proof enough.

Cut to a space station on the moon, where Liam Hemsworth and his buddies are fighting through thin characterisation and hammy dialogue to emerge as the movie’s true stars. Hemsworth plays a pilot who’s saddled with one of those generic action hero names and wears an action hero stubble like it’s the fourth of July.

None of these newcomers are effective in the roles assigned to them. Hemsworth is your typical wise-cracking macho saviour. His girlfriend (Maika Monroe) works in The White House and used to be a pilot. She does a lot of running and crying, which has long been the purpose of adolescent girls in disaster movies. They have a mutual pilot friend, Dylan (Jessie T. Usher), who is the son of the Will Smith character from the first movie and usually reacts to large-scale terrors as if, oh my god, he’s about to be assaulted by a green screen! There’s also an engineer pal (Travis Tope) who provides the movie’s Douchebag Relief by creepily ogling at the sexy Chinese pilot (Angelababy), who’s been dropped into the plot because diversity is important.

I think it’s time to pull the plug on disaster movies. They’ve done their job for the better part of a century, and I personally have had enough of buildings collapsing and roads splitting open to engulf unfortunate civilians. I’m also tired of the Roland Emmerich stockpile of reliable but clichéd character types.

ID: Resurgence has its funny moments (there’s a throwaway Star Trek reference that had me in stitches) and its visual effects are spectacular in a gratuitous sort of way, but this isn’t great entertainment. It’s a CGI extravaganza in which character and plot don’t mean as much as the amount of man-hours it took to create that giant Frisbee ship.

Independence Day: Resurgence is available in Australian cinemas from June 23

Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

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