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Independence Day 2 - Resurgence (2016)

Independence Day 2 - Resurgence (2016)

I wonder if we'll look back on the sound effects of recent years like we do now on the special effects of the eighties, wondering what the hell is up with that shit? The Transformer-like effects are going too far. It's taking over. I keep hearing the same things in different movies, even when it no longer feels like a natural sound. There's too much trying to sound cool, and loud, and too little trying to sound authentic in a lot of recent year's biggest blockbusters - this one included.

It's not just the sound that's disappointingly disinventive: the movie plot is pretty much a repeat on the previous Independent Day too, with the aliens back to take over the planet, but with a twist. The Earth now has the technology to defend itself, and humanity has evolved, and yet when the aliens do arrive all of that technology doesn't even leave a dent, and a select few heroes end up trying to save the world again with the most mundane means available. Similar to last time they save the most memorable characters and cast aside the rest as sacrifice, to add some tragedy, and yet there's barely any room to mourn each loss along the way. The action picks up again before the tears even start to form, like they're afraid they might actually make viewers emotional.

The action is cool and all (apart from those unsuitable sound effects mentioned above), but it feels like it could've been more than that. All character relations and losses get sucked down through the riptide. And the enemy of the enemy... a power button rotated 90 degrees CW? Well, why not. it's functional symbolism, albeit also a bit inventiveless.

Though a lot's happened since the last movie, and the world's united, it still plays tiringly much on patriotism and resolve, character clashes, and burnt-out jokes. Of course the USA is leading the counterattack, and though they speak about the world uniting in this final effort, they say it in such a way that... well, it doesn't feel like the world is truly united at all. The prior movie had a better speech - one that inspired confidence and trust, whereas this one seemed like something aimed at calming the masses. Ample propaganda.

The last movie had better everything, really. It had Will Smith too. I wonder if he opted out of this one voluntarily, or if they wanted to get some less iconic people in the spotlight - though I guess Liam Hemsworth isn't all that unknown either. Usher as one of the main characters was a surprise though. He does OK, but I do miss Will Smith´s insurmountable charisma. And the old world, to which it was easier to relate. It seemed like a better place to live in, too.

The new world's a shinier, more unified, but also somewhat more boring big brother state. Or, big sister I guess? Female president and all.

I wonder if Hilary had a hand in that, or if it just seemed like a relevant movie move for this election year. Potential presidential product placement? Though if so it's a strange way for them to go swapping out the president towards the end, as if a woman's unbefit to lead. Not that it matters which race, creed or gender the president belongs to, as long as s/he's old and wise and capable of leading a country, which the latter does seem to be, but whatever their intentions with the script decisions they take I doubt it's as incentiveless as that.

The world's come a long way in the twenty years since the last attack, and yet it hasn't really gone anywhere at all. Maybe if they'd worked on this movie for the past twenty years, it would've been in another level entirely. It feels like we've all been here before, in this place and time, and despite incredibly detailed destructive CGI: last time was better.

It is cool to see David (Jeff Goldblum) make a re-appearance, and look pretty much exactly the same as he did last time, and the same with his dad, and president, and a few other notable re-occurrences, but nostalgia isn't enough to make a good movie. Maybe an entirely new cast would've been better. Maybe something new, like chasing the aliens into outer space and confronting them there.

Maybe I'm being unnecessarily negative though. Some scenes were good. Some characters were good. I liked the bus chase, the tech, and the further you get into the more you get sucked into the action, but it still feels used - even with the movie taking place in a more parallel version of our present day. It's like a cover of the original, that's not better than the original. I enjoyed it, but at the same time I wanted something new.

If it wasn't a sequel but a stand-alone title it would've been different; it wouldn't have had as heavy expectation to try to live up to - and fail.

Feels like one of those sequels time may (rightfully so) forget.

 rated 3/5: not bad


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