One of my favorite critics, Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, once described a formula for making a good sequel. He said, “A good sequel is one that uses the original as a jumping off point for a whole new story with whole new technology. While a bad sequel merely wallows in the original like a hippo in a vat of liquidized children.” Croshaw was talking about video games, but this formula can be applied to Independence Day: Resurgence and is helpful when explaining why it's a horrific disaster. The film certainly showcases new technology both in the film, and in terms of CGI since the original, and that’s about it. Independence Day: Interstellar Regrets is a terrible travesty.
Before I go all in on Independence Day or: How Fox Stopped Caring About Quality Control and Learned to Love the Bottom Line, I’d like to preface by saying that I, like most Americans with a conscious brain in 1996, absolutely adore the original Independence Day. But what you have to understand is that the original was lightning in a bottle. It was a disaster movie with Alien invaders that delighted in destroying national landmarks. It helped cement Will Smith as a summer blockbuster icon. It was a masterfully enjoyable jingoistic tale that starred a black guy, a Jewish guy, and a drunken redneck as its main heroes (and was directed by a proud gay German) which is as American as apple pie. And of course President Whitmore’s speech. Easily one of the most rousing speeches ever committed to celluloid, it helps give what could have been a lazy action film gravitas. Most of us were grateful that there wasn’t a shitty, clichéd, rip-off sequel that would diminish the original. We were.
Independence Day: Retarded is so bad I could spend weeks describing how. Thankfully I don’t have a DVD copy yet, nor the time, so I’ll try to do it in one day:
You’d think the plot would write itself in a film like this. Aliens return to finish the job, and this time, they’re pissed. Bam, I wrote that in thirty seconds. Now let me describe the film I just saw. Independence Day: We Invented the Remix takes its time at first describing the world twenty years since the devastating Alien invasion from the first Independence Day. At first, all seems well, we get a look at a united human race, the new technology, and a glimpse at what all our former heroes are doing. Then the plot shits itself inside out with a silly and convoluted mystery plot about sphere drawings. We want to see Aliens destroying things and human heroes kicking some Alien ass. Don’t spend half the film boring us to death with contrived plot threads.
Whenever one of the characters from the previous film is on screen the movie almost jumps with emphatic joy, “Remember Him! He’s was in the good one!” David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), possibly the only good thing in the movie, spends much of his screen time making fun of the franchise itself. President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman) is now an insane man. In spite of this, he manages to have a heroic death that turns out to be pointless. To make matters worse, they try to redo his classic speech from the first movie. Not only does the new speech suck but he doesn’t even have a radio, so only the people around him hear it and are like, “Oh ok, well thanks that was a good speech I guess.” The new characters introduced are boring stock characters and not a single one of them are likable. None of them have any depth or meaningful arch during the entire film. Furthermore, most of the action is dull, and since the characters suck, we don’t care if and when they die.
As I strongly hinted at above, Independence Day: Retold sucks by trying and failing to be the original but better. And keep in mind these are the only times when the film is even remotely good. So do the Aliens destroy famous monuments? Yes. Do the humans fly into the Alien space ship? Yes. Do they launch a desperate half-baked plan with “No chance in hell” and come out victorious? Yes. Will you care about any of this nonsense? No. The parts from the trailer with the “epic” falling monuments happens for all of ten minutes. Billions of people are killed, and if you blink you may miss the comment mentioning the entire eastern seaboard of the United States was destroyed.
Independence Day: Forever can’t even be bothered to have a decent run time. The film runs just over two hours and boy do you feel its length. The film goes to absurd lengths to justify getting main characters together for this Alien jamboree. For example, David starts off in Africa to a meet warlord about an Alien ship and before long, he’s visiting a space crash on the moon, then darting falling monuments in London before finally mercifully stopping at Area 51. The film even has the gall to try and pave the way for a sequel film that, if Fox has any self-respect left, will never be made.
The entire film is a dense quagmire with subplots that no one cares about. The most egregious of which has got to be Judd Hirsch and his merry band of children. I wish I was kidding. Judd Hirsch manages to somehow also survive the second Alien Invasion. He manages to find a car, then a bus load of kids. The film inexplicably focuses on them for at least 20 minutes! We want to see Aliens and humans fighting it out, not Judd Hirsch with a bus full of children who, of course, find their way to the very center of the action. NO ONE CARES ABOUT JUDD HIRSCH AND A BUS FULL OF CHILDREN!
Independence Day: Regurgence isn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen but by god it’s horrible. The only times it’s good are when it’s aping its infinitely better predecessor. I was initially upset when it was revealed that Will Smith didn’t agree to star in the film, but now I’m certain he looked at the script and told them to go f**k themselves. Independence Day: The Twenty-Year Search For More Money is a textbook example of why some sequels need never be made. A bloated, idiotic mess, with lame action, and boring dull characters (including some we used to care about) reduced to clichéd stereotypes. Further marred by head-scratching plot decisions, internal inconsistencies, and the audacity to set up a sequel to this tripe, I beg you to avoid Independence Day: Revelations.
TLDR: Independence Day: Revolution is an awful sequel to a 1996 Sci-Fi classic that fails to live up to its predecessor in every god damn way. 1/5 Stars.
Croshaw, Ben "Yahtzee" "Bioshock 2." Escapist Magazine. Defy Media, LLC, 3 Mar. 2010. Web. July 2016.