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| 24 June 2016 | Reply

Directed by
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
7 /10

Independence Day Resurgence poster Australia

“We had twenty years to prepare,” the tagline boldly shouts, “So did THEY!”

And so did all of us, dear viewers.

Lest we forget, 1996’s Independence Day was a gung-ho, ultra-Americanised, often implausible, sometimes twee take on the standard alien invasion trope, complete with one dimensional characters making ridiculously Hollywoodised patriotic speeches.

It was also great entertainment, and full of fantastic visual effects of the city-sized spaceships come to suck the Earth dry – and that’s exactly what we get in episode 2.

Keeping true to the timeline, we are now twenty years after Bill Pullman’s U.S. President Whitmore and Will Smith’s fighter pilot Captain Hiller led the resistance against a squiggly tentacled alien horde, and Earth transportation and weaponry has advanced considerably using the salvaged alien tech.

Once again the filmmakers use valuable setup time to assemble their ‘dream team’ (now with added multiculturalism) who are the only people on earth who can thwart the new invasion: cue a returning Paxton and Jeff Goldblum’s scientist David Levinson, psychiatrist Catherine Marceaux (Charlotte Gainsbourg), African warlord Dikembe Umbutu (Deobia Oparei), Chinese pilot Rain Lao (Angelababy), the ex-President’s daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe), Hiller’s pilot son Dylan (Jessie T Usher) and renegade pilot (who just happens to be Dylan’s nemesis, and Patricia’s fiancé, played by Liam Hemsworth).

Dream team in place, we learn that the alien spaceship this time is almost as big as Australia (complete with its own gravity field) and houses a huge hive queen controlling all the others, quickly disables Earth’s moonbase and satellite defence systems, starts drilling to the molten planet core, and pursuing another alien which has come to help us against them.

The effects are again stunning (and far more believable than some of the characters on the screen) – the carnage when the alien ship lands has to be seen to be believed.

Pullman’s ex-President makes another of those gloriously dumb speeches-in-crisis, this time about how the invasion was positive for uniting the planet’s different nationalities against a common foe in the face of the alien threat. Dumb, yes, but also very poignant and thought provoking: is that the only way we could ever unify and achieve global peace? Would it be worth the lives lost?

The moment is, however, fleeting, and within seconds we’re back to the non-stop action assault, leavened only by the comic relief of the returning Judd Hirsch’s Levinson senior and Brent Spiner’s Dr Brakish Okun.

Independence Day: Resurgence is blockbuster entertainment of the biggest, dumbest, most flag-waving kind. Don’t come expecting any great treatise on the nature of the species, and get comfortable because at two hours it’s twenty-or-so minutes overlong, and you should get your daily fix of thrills and spills and bang-for-bucks.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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