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Title: Independence Day: Resurgence

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :3stars:

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.

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

Video :4.5stars:
I did say that “Resurgence” is a spectacle and I meant it. Shot using Red Epic and Red Weapon Dragon cameras, “Independence Day: Resurgence” looks stunning. The colors and vibrant greens and blues of the alien weaponry are splashed all around the film with humanity adopting their tech, and the natural looking color grading (with a leaning towards the standard teal) makes the digital image looks amazing. Fine detail is perfectly replicated with facial pores and even acne showing up perfectly. The alien look incredible and exceptionally detailed, while the CGI blends almost seamlessly with the live action. Black levels are deep and inky and I could barely notice a flicker of banding here and there on my 120 inch screen. The destruction when the giant mother ship settles down into the pacific and tears up the Tokyo and U.S. landscape is awe inspiring and I have to say that this is one of the best looking blockbusters I’ve seen for a while.

Audio :4.5stars:
Fox seems to be following Sony’s lead by keeping the Dolby Atmos track to the 4K disc only, leaving us with a 7.1 DTS-HD MA lossless experience. That being grumbled about, the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track is nothing to sneeze at. Rough, tough and full of aggressive power, it grabs the listeners by the ears and doesn’t let go with an incredible blockbuster levels audio experience. Dialog is strong and well replicated in the center channel, but the surrounds get a TON of energy all around with space debris shifting from one side of the screen to the other and the LFE just creating a punishing attack on the listener. I did notice that the bass wasn’t as hot as “Independence Day”, but believe you me. It knows when party with the big boys, especially when the alien ship lands on earth and when the Earth fighters make their assault on the queen in her final last ditch effort to get away. It’s an amazing track, but I have to give a 4.5/5 due to the fact that the slightly superior Atmos track is available on the 4K UltraHD release.

Extras :3stars:

• 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

Overall: :4stars:

“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 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.

Additional Information:

Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Liam Hemsworth, Bill Pullman
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Written by: Nicolas Wright, James A. Wood
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, English Descriptive Service 5.1 DD, Spanish, French, Portuguise, Turkish, Ukranian DD 5.1, Russian DTS 5.1
Studio: Fox
Rated: PG-13
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

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