It has been twenty years since mankind defeated the aliens in the first Independence Day film. With the loss of three billion people, and the capture of alien technology, Earth has rebuilt. People are united now for peace, and have been preparing to defend the planet from any future threat from the stars.
The old favourites are back, with Jeff Goldblum (as David Levinson), Bill Pullman (as President Whitmore), Brent Spiner (as an even quirkier Dr. Brakish Okun), and joined by new comers Liam Hemsworth (Jake Morrison), Sela Ward (President Lanford) and Maika Monroe (Patricia Whitmore).
As the film begins, once again a signal has been detected. And while the the smart people are busy figuring out what this may be, the audience has already looked ahead to determine that the original aliens are returning, saving viewers from the puzzle of signal interpretation, so they can follow the establishment of the various characters that will become the heroes of the story, played out by an ensemble of known-names and talented newcomers.
Independence Day Resurgence, however, borrows far too much from the first film, which was a critically acclaimed hit with critics and audiences. From the overuse of footage as news broadcasts, the repeated use of President Whitmore’s big monologue, right down to camera angles and shots from the first film (shooting the glass of a containment chamber when Whitmore is held by an alien).
The initial story is being repeated, in a sense, a little too much. Relying on nostalgia for the first film, rather than allowing this one to stand a bit more, on its own. And it is for this reason that one should definitely see the first film, before embarking a viewing session of this one. This will, however, show the many short-comings of the sequel.
Special effects certainly show the progression into the new century, but relying on those, too, does not promote an engrossing film.
Independence Day Resurgence is bound to appeal to fans of the first film, however, it is that very reason it is likely to disappoint them.
A science fiction film, with aliens attacking Earth, that relies too much on the strength of the genre and its predecessor, rather than pushing the bounds of story and creativity.
Overall, the disc is technically of a high quality, with several bonus features and extra material.
Independence Day Resurgence is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.
Video is encoded at a high average bitrate. There are no visible artefacts on screen. Colours are vibrant, with no bleed. There are several darker scenes, where blacks are deep, and maintain their detail. Contrast in some of the scenes outside the moonbase is high, providing detail in light and dark areas.
Viewers with the necessary hardware or software are able to scale the film up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.
The main audio soundtrack is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. This is encoded at a high average bitrate.
Dialogue is clear via the centre channel, with ample use of the surround channels during the many action scenes, serving the expand the on-screen action and further draw the viewer in to the film experience.
Navigation is simple, and easy to use. The menu backgrounds are static images, saving room for more bonus material and less compression of the main feature.
There are sub-menus for selection of the audio track and subtitle languages. A menu for scene selection, with numbered scenes and still image thumbnails from that scene.
The extras menu presents a list of bonus feature titles.
The disc does start with an warning about pirating movies. This can not be skipped. It then has an advert for Digital HD media, for online film distribution. This too, can not be skipped.
Deleted Scenes: There are several deleted scenes included on the disc, including an alternate opening. These can be viewed individually, or via a “play all” menu option. While the scenes do not include too much additional information with regards to the overall plot, they do show a slight insight into how the filmmakers initially saw the film playing out.
The scenes have the option to be viewed with commentary by Roland Emmerich.
The War Of 1996: A mini-feature in the form or style of a news story, showing footage from the first Independence Day film, and bringing the viewer up to speed on the changes that have taken place on Earth since the initial encounter with the aliens, showing how the planet has not only been rebuilt, but united in peace and utilising the captured alien technology for mankind.
It’s Early ABQ!: A slightly slapstick feature, in the form of an early morning television magazine show, with an interview of Julius Levinson on his book. The humour is sure to appeal to some viewers, but would be a matter of personal taste.
Audio Commentary By ROland Emmerich: Director, writer and producer Roland Emmerich narrates this audio commentary, as the film plays. While one gets the feeling he has a deep personal connection with the film, and a love of the work, the commentary is interspersed with many little facts, never really delving too deeply into the process of creation. It is a bit slow and laboured at times, so is likely to lose the interest of some.
Audio commentaries are always good for avid fans and filmmakers alike, so its inclusion is great, nonetheless.
Theatrical Trailers: A selection of two theatrical trailers for the film, and a TV spot. Not adding too much to the film, but interesting to see the reveals used in the trailers, as compared with the very simple teasers used for the first Independence Day film.