I still remember watching the first movie, Independence Day which came out in 1996 in the old Rex theatre together with my siblings and we were sitting on the premium class on the first floor.
On the very scene when David Levinson introduced a virus into the alien ship’s shield and asks Major Steven Mitchell to shoot the can, we actually heard the can flying from the right to the left in the theatre. It was a blockbuster that year. Image source: Tumblr.
When the lockdown in place and nothing much to do on the weekends, I decided to look into a list of movies to watch and noticed Independence Day: Resurgence in the trending playlist. What more the aliens could do now?
Overall the new plot was intriguing and made some sense:-
Twenty years after the devastating interstellar war against alien invaders, the United Nations has founded the Earth Space Defense (ESD), a global defense and research program that reverse-engineers alien technology and serves as Earth’s early warning system against extraterrestrial threats.
An unidentified spherical ship emerges from a wormhole near Earth’s Moon. Despite objections from Levinson, it is destroyed on the orders of the Security Council.
Defying orders, American pilots Jake Morrison and Charlie Miller then collect Levinson, Marceaux, Umbutu, and U.S. federal controller Floyd Rosenberg on a space tug. They head for the wreckage in the Van de Graaff crater, where they recover a large container.
An alien mothership suddenly appears, responding to the distress call, and proceeds to destroy much of Earth’s planetary defense systems before landing over the North Atlantic Ocean, where it starts to drill down toward Earth’s molten core for fuel that will destroy the planet in the process.
In Area 51, Okun opens the rescued container and releases a giant white sphere of virtual intelligence. The sphere reveals that her mission is to evacuate survivors to a planet of refuge from worlds targeted by the aliens, whom she calls “Harvesters”, and unite them in an attack on the Harvesters’ planet.
Knowing that the Harvester Queen has become aware of the sphere’s location, the ESD hides her in an isolation chamber and uses a decoy in Jake’s space tug to lure the Harvester Queen’s ship into a trap
Initially, the ESD soldiers’ weapons cannot penetrate the Queen’s shield, but after the Harvester Queen lowers her shield to fire her own weapon, a critical hit by Whitmore’s daughter Patricia deactivates her shield. This allows Dylan’s party, which arrives just in time, to kill her before she can take the sphere.
With the Queen gone, all the remaining alien fighters are rendered inactive, while the mothership stops drilling and retreats to space. Okun reveals that the sphere has asked humanity to lead her resistance and has offered them new technology in preparation for a potential counterattack on the Harvesters’ homeworld.
Looks familiar? We are missing one key person from the 1st movie. Image source: Wired / 20TH CENTURY FOX
The Returning Crew
Jeff Goldblum is back as David Levinson so if his father, Judd Hirsch playing Julius Levinson.
Bill Pullman is back but he is now the ex-President Thomas J. Whitmore but still have some fight in him and somehow given a free hand dealing with the aliens. And finally, we have Data or rather Brent Spiner as the crazy, whacky Dr Brackish Okun who in the first movie went into a coma after used by the alien to convey their message.
It is good to see familiar names – all the key players are there except Will Smith. Apparently, the movie studio was not prepared to pay the USD50 million salary demanded by Will Smith.
Instead of Will Smith as the ace-pilot, we have another actor playing the role of Captain Dylan Hiller and who is also the stepson of Steven Hiller (played by Will Smith previously)
I noted that Liam Hemsworth – the Thor in the Marvel movies is also acting – as Jake Morrison who has a string of discipline problems (there is always one in every movie especially if it is the hero). However, Liam Hemsworth looks different in this movie – did he get plastic surgery after this movie. Image source: Wired / 20TH CENTURY FOX
Nothing in this image is real but in the movie, it looks very realistic indeed. That’s the power of computing and imagination. Image source: Wired / 20TH CENTURY FOX
Cool Special Effects
I have to rate the special effects as first-class for this movie – from start to end. It was well done and several notches up compared to the first movie. This shows how much computing power and special effect designs have evolved in the last 20 years.
Looks good but plenty of plot holes – something that should not happen on a major Hollywood movie directed by a well-known director. Image source: Wired / 20TH CENTURY FOX
Major Holes in Plot
When it comes to action movies that are related to alien invasions, I expect that 2 things for the movie makers to get it right – the principles of science and right military tactics. In this movie, there are too many gaps in the plot when it comes to these 2 matters. Shankar did the same mistakes in Enthiran.
Emmerich does the same here – for a movie that has a budget of USD165million, why can’t they just engage some military consultants and some brilliant scientists to advise them to get it right? Just see how others have gotten it right – The Big Bang Theory TV series and Interstellar and many more.
Some of the easy holes in the plots that are way too obvious:-
- The alien that comes over to save humans only intimidates for it to be get shot from the Moon’s orbit
- The ex-President can escape from his room without anyone noticing, be able to break into secured areas and lock them out and all the sudden can fly the latest jet fighter.
- A mere Captain (with a famous father, no doubt) can command the entire Air Force fleet of fighters and bombers attacking the alien mothership.
- How did the humans know they can survive inside the alien mothership? The lake of water that they were in may have been a lake of acid.
- Petronas Twin Towers falling on London’s Tower’s Bridge – they are no way close to each other
- The alien mothership can land on a large part of Earth (3,000 miles) but departs without leaving any damage on the surface.
- The Queen alien dies and the alien army stops attacking and the mothership is recalled back by other alien Queens. Why another Queen is not taking up the fight and win over the humans?
There is a long list of plot holes and goofs at IMDB
It is disappointing to see Roland Emmerich who has directed other blockbusters such as Godzilla, The Patriot, The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 BC, 2012, White House Down and Midway has allowed such elementary mistakes in the plot of the movie.
The plot as a whole is acceptable – a sense of revenge, bigger weapons now, past mistakes learned, ships that can crush huge defences in seconds and an unexpected alien saviour from deep space. Then you have holes all over the place and the movie ends up as a big joke instead serious, inspiring one.
The only saving grace is the special effects which are on the dot and realistic. It is worth watching for these alone