MOVIE REVIEW: Independence Day - Resurgence
THOSE of us who are old enough to remember seeing Independence Day when it hit cinemas in 1996 will never forget how truly huge that movie was.
Ground-breaking special effects mixed with corny lines; it came at a time when action-packed blockbusters were in short supply. It has remained as popular for the past two decades as it was on release.
So when it was announced that in 2016 we'd get a sequel, expectations were high.
Independence Day: Resurgence (IDR) picks up in the present day. The alien technology left behind in 1996 means that mankind has united and created weapons, a moon base, space travel and the ability to defy gravity as helicopters without rotors fly across the screen.
David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), who is now Director of the 'Earth Space Defense' program, travels to Africa to discover that the last downed craft from 1996 sent a distress signal, and before you can say 'That's the guy from Jurassic Park' a giant craft is on its way to Earth to settle the score - and it's huge!
Returning from the last movie are Bill Pullman (as President Whitmore), Brent Spiner (as Dr Okun) and Judd Hirsch (as Julius Levinson), plus our own Liam Hemsworth takes the reigns as Jake Morrison after Will Smith passed on appearing in this sequel.
The world once again unites to take on the invading alien mothership, after it is discovered that the aliens operate as a 'hive', and the Queen herself is on her way. That's about all you need to know about the story, so strap yourself in people.
Cue attacks from the mothership, aerial battles against insurmountable odds, cities destroyed, a world in chaos, laser beams, explosions, tidal waves, complete destruction and special effects so big they leave you wondering which way to look.
You know what you're going to get with this one.
So was it worth the 20-year wait?
Well, they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
The first film created a great atmosphere of dread, a feeling of being helpless. While it's spectacular to see cities being destroyed, landmarks trashed and hundreds of thousands of human lives laid to waste, it all just feels that these scenes have been put in IDR for the sake of it and that it lacks all empathy.
IDR is basically a remake of the original, but with the cliché-o-meter turned up to 11.
A couple of examples of dialogue to give you the idea:
"Oh my God! Are we gonna get out of this alive?"…."You bet your ass we are."
Or how about this classic: "It's time to kick some alien ass!"
IDR is full of hundreds of similar lines like this from characters who are as see-through as a roll of cling film. You know it's never going to win an Oscar when the most (and only) emotionally-charged moment of the movie is met with laughs from the audience. Oh, you'll know when you see it.
The one thing IDR needed to make it a winner was Will Smith. His humour, screen presence and the fact we all had someone to genuinely cheer for, someone we could relate to, is what this sequel needed. Liam Hemsworth proved he can act in The Dressmaker but he just doesn't get a chance to shine as the big-screen hero that you're craving for the whole movie. Who doesn't want to see an Aussie save the world?
So it's not perfect, and it doesn't live up to 20 years of expectations…but after so long could it ever do that?
Is IDR worth your $15 to keep you entertained for two hours while you munch on your choc top?
Yes it is, but it would be a good idea to leave your brain at the candy bar. Just sit back and take it for what it is - a tacky, cliché-ridden action-packed return to '90s movies that will leave you walking out the cinema knowing you enjoyed a guilt-free, mindless experience.
It's cheesy, silly, and totally unbelievable, yet at the same time somehow you're having fun until the very end. It's just a shame you'll have forgotten it all by the time you get to your car.
Independence Day: Resurgence
Stars: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch.
Director: Roland Emmerich
Verdict: 3/5 stars