HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Independence Day: Resurgence
HTS Overall Score:81
“Independence Day” is one of the singular greatest awful movies of all time. A cinematic classic for all of the wrong reasons, but if loving that movie is wrong I don’t want to be right. 20 years ago Roland Emmerich made one of the greatest disaster movies of all time. It had it all. Alien spaceships, lasers, improvisational one liners from Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, and some of the most awful dialog known to man. I can’t help but watch “Independence Day” at least once a year and love it every single time I sit down and stuff my face with a bowl of popcorn. There’s just something symbiotically horrible and awesome that fuels the 1996 film into becoming one of the most watched films in my entire catalog. Roland Emmerich has gone on record saying that he wanted to do the sequel many years ago but the technology was not available to make his dream come true. That alone should have been a giant red flag, as technology was NOT what made the first movie great (although the special effects are still pretty cool even 20 years later). After 20 years it looks like there was very little knew to come up with as “Resurgence” feels like nothing but a retread of “Independence Day” with a few new tweaks and additions to set up the franchise for a 3rd movie that may never come due to tepid box office profits.
It’s been 20 years since Captain Hiller (Will Smith) and Dr. David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) saved the world by nuking the alien mothership from the first movie, and the world has changed a lot in those 2 decades. Captain Hiller has died off screen somehow (I guess Will Smith had some scheduling conflicts as well as his asking price for the movie was beyond ridiculous according to sources), but his son, Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher) has continued in his father’s footsteps as a pilot. The world is now a safer place thanks to the alien attack, with the different nations combining forces and ceasing hostilities which has lasted until this day. The alien technology left behind has allowed mankind to form weapons of destruction completely unheard of and they have a fleet that has created a barrier around the earth in case the Alien race ever comes back. Now that time has come. Jupiter base has been completely eradicated and a new ship has dropped out of hyperspace on top of the moon base, causing a panic stricken earth to open fire on it and destroy the spaceship. The only thing is that this ship wasn’t the original Alien race. What FOLLOWS was the actual threat. A ship hundreds upon hundreds bigger than any of the ships that attacked earth years ago. One stretching over 3000 miles in diameter and settling over the entire Pacific Ocean as it drills through to the earth’s core.
Now humanity is fighting for its survival once again. This time against a ship that is better armored and better gunned than anything humanity has ever faced. It will take everything humanity has to defeat this new threat and the threat is a doozy this time around. What was thought of as just another ship is something much more sinister. A ship that houses a hive mind queen. A queen that controls all over her minions and their ships, but is protected beyond belief. When a mission to blow up the queen goes horribly wrong, Captain Hiller Jr. and his ragtag band of pilots (including Lt. Jake Morrison, played by Liam Hemsworth) have to infiltrate the alien vessel and see if they can take out the queen themselves. If they can.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=82745[/img]I’m not sure where to begin with “Resurgence”. The term disjointed comes to mind when watching it. I watched this in the theater and came away less than impressed, and after watching it a second time on home video I still feel the same way. The movie feels like its missing the entire first act which is rather awkward and confusing. No setup is done for Lt. Morrison, or Captain Hiller Jr., and the exclusion of Will Smith is a giant gaping hole that is hard to fill as the new characters are really nothing to write home about. One of the MAJOR advantages of the movie was great chemistry between characters. Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith were AMAZING together, and dare I say the best part of the film. The same goes for Bill Pullman and Randy Quaid. Perfectly iconic characters with Will Smith spouting one liners left and right. Sadly the greatest parts of “Resurgence” were once again, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman. The absence of Will Smith is very evident in the humor and Randy Quaid was a one of kind character.
Much of the movie feels like Emmerich just copied the plot of the original and added in better technology for the ships and a bigger, badder version of the aliens. Instead of a few giant ships, we have one GINORMOUS planet swalling ship, and instead of being this mysterious race with a penchant for war we have a giant ship that wants to eat our planet core to fuel its technology. There’s the same old attack on the ship that ends in failure, and then Bill Pullman flying straight up into the ship’s weapons system to detonate a bomb with a catchy one liner. Sound familiar? The only new additions come in the form of the alien species that is accidentally fired upon during the opening 15 minutes and gives new purpose to humanity by the end of the film. Something which is SUPER obvious at setting up yet another sequel and having Brent Spiner act like the cooky scientist he was from the predecessor.
There were some very fun parts to the movie, but they were few and far between. Jeff Goldblum was fantastic as usual, and so was The African Warlord, but other than that most of the characters were rather forgettable. Liam Hemsworth is as bland as he always is, and no one gives a care about Captain Hiller Jr. In fact his dad’s death is glossed over in a matter of seconds and we’re just supposed to accept the rivalry between Lt. Morrison and himself. A rivalry that is played out extremely childishly throughout the film. Many of the original characters seem shoe horned in, such as Vivica A. Fox as Mrs Hiller, who randomly dies within 5 minutes of being shown, and Judd Hirsch as Jeff Goldblum’s dad seems to have been jammed in there with no real emphasis on anything substantial. He’s there only to say “hi, I’m here from the first movie, remember?!”. Then there’s Brent Spiner as Dr. Brakish, and this proves that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. In “Independence Day”, he was a loony scientist that got quite a few laughs, but here he’s overused to the point of annoyance.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and destruction, and for some language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=82753[/img]“Independence Day: Resurgence” was shot using the RED Epic and Dragon cameras and finished with a 4K DI, but I was actually surprised that the 4K presentation wasn’t as sharp and perfect as I was expecting from a native 4K mastering. There is a hint of softness on the 4K disc that seems to come from the COPIOUS amounts of CGI slathered all over the screen and trying to blend it with the live action stuff (Kind of like “300”). Still the image is a nice upgrade over the 1080p Blu-ray and the teal and green coloring from the alien spaceships just pop off the screen. Black levels are deep and inky and tons of shadows permeate the screen once Hiller and his crew infiltrate the alien mothership. Fine detail is usually amazing, but like I said, it just wasn’t AS sharp as I was expecting for a 4K disc. A byproduct of the extra clarity a 4K disc provides. Sometimes you see the CGI trickery used to blend live action and CGI that is less noticeable on a 1080p disc vs something with multiple times the resolution.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=82761[/img]Fox has kept the best for the 4K release and given us a fully upgraded Dolby Atmos track to enjoy today. Like with the 4K video track it makes a nice upgrade from the already stellar 7.1 DTS-HD MA track found on the Blu-ray. The heights are used to great effect with the alien ship battles. The little fighters scream overhead and rocket to the sides as the conflicting craft engage in dogfights, and the landing of the mothership on Earth is incredible as it slowly slides overhead with a deep and ominous presence. LFE is deep and POWERFUL. I will say this. While it knows when to bring out the heavy duty bass, it isn’t mixed so hot that every single sound in the movie sounds like a bass drop. Softer things maintain their lightness and the bass comes out to play when it REALLY needs to (which is actually quite often. Surrounds are used amazingly well with a sense of directionality that is even more precise and accurate than the 7.1 non object based track.
• Eight Deleted Scenes with Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich
• The War of 1996
• It's Early, ABQ!
• Another Day: The Making of Independence Day: Resurgence
• Gag Reel
• Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich
• Concept Art
• Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots
“Independence Day: Resurgence” is not a terrible film. But it IS a film that feels like it doesn’t need to exist. Copying the plot of the 1st movie and adding in an interstellar war to make it more advanced, “Resurgence” just copies the major plot points of a 20 year old film and follows them to their logical conclusions. As such it really is a giant spectacle on screen (and a beautiful one at that), but sadly lacks any originality or something to make it stand out as anything other than a CGI feast for the eyes. The audio and video for the 4k Blu-ray are simply stunning and there is a solid amount of extras, but I would still have to say that the movie is a rental. Especially if you loved “Independence Day” as much as I do.
Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Liam Hemsworth, Bill Pullman
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Written by: Nicolas Wright, James A. Wood
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (DTS-HD MA 7.1 Core), English Descriptive Service 5.1 DD, Spanish, French, Thai DD 5.1
Runtime: 120 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 18th 2016
Buy Independence Day: Resurgence On 4K UltraHD Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Independence Day: Resurgence 3D On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Independence Day: Resurgence On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Fun Rental
More about Mike