I was pretty excited about this film, when it was first announced; so excited, I went and rewatched the first film, Independence Day, and was reminded why that film is actually one of my favorite films of all time. The casting was awesome, I enjoyed the plot, I was moved enough to get chills and cry, but what made the film so top notch to me personally was the writing and the humor. I forgot how often I actually laughed in the film and how natural it felt. No only that, but the characters and their relationships were so organic, I loved it. So when I saw the trailer for the second one, with the improved graphics and the next generation having to deal with the same thing their parents did, I was stoked. Finally, June 24th came around and I was asking everyone when they wanted to go see it.
Mom: Wasn’t feeling the crowds.
Sister: Can we go see “Secret Life of Pets” instead? (Um, yes, and it was worth it.)
Brother: Nope. 14-year-old too cool for you.
Obviously, this spanned a couple of weeks, trying to find someone to go see it with me. I was reaching the point when I was just going to go alone, dammit. Finally, yesterday, my Dad was like, “Do you want to go see a movie?” and after perusing what was out, I asked, tentatively, “Do you want to see the new Independence Day?” and then he said, “Sure.”
So we go to the theatres. Until the previews, we were the only two people in the theatre. By the time the film was about to start, three other souls had joined us. I had my nachos, my Bunch-a-Crunches, my grape Sprite; I was ready to go. And then we watch the film. During it and reflecting upon it since, I’m not disappointed in it. I’m not overjoyed about it. I don’t love it like I loved the first one, but am I going to go see the third one?
I realized that I had almost the exact same response as I did with Jurassic World (except Jurassic World has grown on me quite a bit and I actually like it a lot more than I did the first time I saw it in theatres, and I had left the theatre content). With both films, I enjoyed them and I wasn’t disappointed. With both films, I definitely believe that the originals, the first films, in the franchises, can never be topped or compared to. They are just too good. With both films, the effects and CGI and details were great.
It was the plots that gave me pause.
In Jurassic World, it was the brothers-with-soon-to-be-divorced-parents-coming-together-because-of-experiences-at-the-park storyline. It felt overdone and not properly fleshed out. I didn’t care that Zach was super interested in girls and didn’t care about his brother, while Gray was a genius who felt left out and underappreciated. It felt unnecessary. Honestly, they could have just been brothers who were visiting the Park that their Aunt ran and I would have been content. But I never harped much on the storyline because let’s be honest, I’m not watching Jurassic World for a riveting storyline. I’m watching it to see kickass dinosaurs (and Chris Pratt, if we’re getting real honest).
Switching to Resurgence, I was looking forward to the updated graphics. I wanted to see how the aliens improved and changed and I was very happy when I could tell they were the same aliens from the first film, yet they also looked so much more badass. So I wasn’t disappointed on that front. And I knew the film focused on the next generation, so the children of the previous heroes were our new heroes. And I was stoked for that! What I was really looking for was that balance between awesome humor and end-of-the-world doom that happened in the first film. Plus, characters that all totally meshed and everything just felt natural. That’s what I wanted.
And that’s what I didn’t get.
Orphan Lieutenant Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth) has bad blood with Captain Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher). Hiller is the son in the first film who was shooting the aliens while the hero, Will Smith, was still waking up. Morrison also is engaged to President Whitmore’s (Bill Pullman) daughter, Patricia Whitmore (Maika Monroe). The three youths used to be in flight academy together but now there is bad blood and drama-fused storylines that aren’t fleshed up property, thus, making me question why they are even there. Hiller, upon being reunited with Morrison on the moon, punches him. Then, during the invasion, they make up. Problem solved. I’m not saying it needs to be this drawn out thing, but I felt like the drama was there just simply for drama’s sake. Yet I didn’t think the film needed it, not in the halfassed manner it was presented.
Then, add in the kids that David’s (Jeff Goldblum) Dad (Judd Hirsch) finds and takes in, David’s one new romance with no explanation (or a missed explanation on my part) regarding his old flame, the deaths of the previous cast to make way for the new one…The relationships and friendships between most of the characters didn’t feel natural, like they did during the first film.
I laughed a few times (and my Dad did once, which says something), but not nearly as much as I was hoping for. The saving grace was character Charlie Miller, played by Travis Tope (who, might I mention, was definitely a cutie. Though I know Hemsworth was meant to be the heartthrob, I was falling for the dorky, quirky best friend that Tope played ten times more). Though I think his character was entirely built-in for comic relief, I think it was definitely needed and I appreciated it. I wished more clever humor could have been incorporated throughout.
If I was nitpicking, I would say that the technological advances that happened in 20 years between the time of each films was a bit far-fetched, even with the help of alien technology. Yet I was also pleasantly surprised with what they did with the advances and how they incorporated them, and how they used them to set up the next film in the future.
Overall, I did enjoy it and only started really critiquing it when I started thinking about this review. I do plan to buy it when it comes out on DVD and I will definitely see the third one when it comes out. If you were a fan of the first film, I think there will be elements you like in this one and elements you don’t. Might as well give it a try and find out for yourself!
PS: Also, the tagline for the poster? “We had twenty years to prepare. So did they.” That was brilliant.
PPS: Gbenga Akinnagbe’s character was the best. Hands down.