I still can’t believe it’s been 20 years since the first Independence Day hit our cinema screens. And 1996 was an amazing year for movies too with Twister, Mission Impossible, The Rock, The Frighteners – all out in that year! Apparently, Independence Day had mixed critic reviews back then, with many unable to comprehend what the general public were enjoying. But with a great cast, rousing speeches, major threat and destruction of our planet, action, heart – it was just a standout summer cinema blockbuster. Back then, scenes of mass global destruction weren’t as mainstream as they are now, so seeing The White House blown to smithereens was fantastic. It’s a classic scene that has been referenced many times since then, my favourite being Dr Evil in one of the Austin Powers movies when he was trying to scare the president into giving him 1 billion dollars… I think… even that was a long time ago!
Anyway, I was kind of concerned as to how well Resurgence was going to hold up what with it being a 20 year sequel. As mentioned earlier, the large scale destruction that wasn’t so commonplace back in 1996, now features pretty heavily in modern cinema, particularly in the growing number of superhero movies that we’re getting. Cinema audiences are used to seeing that kind of thing now and expect more from their movies (well, some do!). I’ve got to admit that when I saw the early trailer for Resurgence and we knew that Will Smith wasn’t back for it either, I was kind of worried. The latest trailer won me round though – more rousing speeches, more action, more complex destruction, more funny lines from Jeff Goldblum at the expense of London landmarks. Things looked good, and I went into the cinema feeling pretty optimistic, hoping to recapture the feeling I had in 1996, despite seeing a very wide mix of reviews over the last few days. Still, if the original can have mixed reviews and still be a satisfying cinema experience for the general moviegoer, surely this one can too??
The movie begins by introducing us to the huge number of characters, old and new. Liam Hemsworth is quickly established as a cool rule breaker (maybe that will come in handy later… 😉), Jeff Goldblum is still clever and funny and playing an important role in Earths defence. The world has changed in the last 20 years – utilising alien technology harvested from the remains of what was left behind after the last movie.
It’s not long though until a new threat arrives. A big ship, 3000 miles wide, makes light work of taking out Earths defences on the moon (bye bye to some of our new characters!). It begins cruising towards Earth, taking out another wave of defence on the way and skims over Asia lifting buildings, cars, people, everything with its onboard gravity system. As it goes over London, the contents of Asia get dumped, leaving London in a pretty sorry state. It then parks itself over the Atlantic Ocean, nudging itself snugly up against the rebuilt White House, which only manages to sustain a broken flagpole this time – yay! The destruction as the ship arrives is highly detailed and very impressive, although a little confusing to follow at times during the London scenes.
As the big ship settles and begins drilling towards the Earths core (and therefore, our destruction), we discover that the aliens are part of an intergalactic war. What’s more, there’s a sole survivor of a previously conquered race here on Earth too, and they hold the knowledge to wiping out these enemy invaders. On-board our big mother ship is a queen, and once she discovers the presence of this survivor the race is on for the aliens to take it out. At the same time, the race is on for us humans to take out the queen before our core is breached.
The queen is big, Cloverfield big. She’s badass and pretty impressive and the final act as she makes her way across the desert to Area 51 while everyone tries to stop her and the drones protecting her is very good. The talented Maika Monroe finally gets her chance to shine here too.
A lot of the characters are boring and some of the plot lines are just plain ridiculous (a few times I caught myself thinking ‘really?!’) but overall I really liked this. I think it’s safe to safe though that if you enjoyed the first movie, you’re going to enjoy this one.
I’m sure it’s not going to be a spoiler for me to say that Earth wins at the end. But, it also looks like we’re getting another Independence Day movie! With the humans declaring in the final scene that they’re going to take the fight to outer space, who knows what will happen next!