Anthony's Film Review

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Even after two decades, this sequel to a thrilling alien invasion movie keeps us riveted...

A lot has changed from 1996 to 2016. Science-fiction movies went from using computer-generated imagery often to using CGI pretty much all of the time. Evening movie ticket prices went from $8 to $12 (at least from my experience). The Internet went from pioneering online shopping to launching social media. Computers went from primarily desktops to mostly laptops and tablets. Cell phones went from bulky luxuries to commonplace smartphones. And I went from a teenager who was thrilled by the movie Independence Day in 1996 to an adult who was thrilled by the movie Independence Day: Resurgence in 2016.

Even within the fictional world of the Independence Day movies, a lot has changed from 1996 to 2016. The Earth went from being divided into nations to being united as one. Technology went from being all human-developed to being a hybrid of human and alien technology thanks to what the aliens left behind after the War of 1996. Humans went from living only on Earth to also colonizing the Moon and a few planets in our solar system. Speaking of humans, Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman) went from an actively serving U.S. President to a psychologically traumatized former President. David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) went from a cable repairman with scientific knowledge to a top-level scientist. Fighter pilot Steven Hiller, the Will Smith character who fought in the War of 1996, is now deceased, but his grown-up son Dylan (Jessie T. Usher) is following his father's footsteps. Other new characters include Liam Hemsworth as another fighter pilot, William Fichtner as a military general, and Sela Ward as the first-ever female U.S. President, among others.

Humans aren't the only ones showing a big change over 20 years. The aliens do, too, when they invade Earth in a way that overshadows the 1996 invasion (practically making the first Independence Day movie look like a low-budget movie compared to this one). Instead of multiple spaceships the size of cities plus one bigger mothership above Earth, the aliens launch their second invasion in a single 3,000-mile-wide ship that ultimately plants itself on the ground over Canada and the northern United States. It may be just one ship, but the widespread damage is devastating because of gravitational effects, direct collisions with skyscrapers, and tsunamis. If you think the aliens are just out to mindlessly destroy things, think again. These hideous beings are also highly intelligent, and they have a plot with two purposes: to destroy humankind's last hope for survival and to harm Earth in a way that would wipe out all life on this planet.

A lot of times, the scale of the 2016 invasion makes resistance seem hopeless. But the various characters in this movie's ensemble cast do what they can to fight back and/or escape with their precious lives. Given that there are plenty of characters to follow, don't expect much room for a significant amount of character development. Just be happy that the plot moves along. And, of course, you can't go wrong with the special effects here (that's the whole point of the movie, after all). Independence Day: Resurgence still maintains much of the spirit of the previous Independence Day.

It's also worth noting that this movie is two hours long, a half hour shorter than the first Independence Day movie. It makes this movie lose some of the feeling of epicness that made the predecessor awesome. That's why the imaginary needle on my 1-to-10 scale hovered between 8.5 and 9, not at or close to 10. And that is where I shall leave you. If you want 2016's Independence Day: Resurgence to be at the same level as 1996's Independence Day, you won't be happy. But if you don't mind taking a step down and still have plenty to enjoy, you can't go wrong here. There are still plenty of fireworks to keep you excited.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Independence Day: Resurgence, visit the Internet Movie Database.

In addition, check out my review of Independence Day.


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