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Independence Day Resurgence is big, dumb, retro-style entertainment...

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OK, I just saw Independence Day: Resurgence.

First, let me preface by saying I had a free ticket (Christmas gift I'd completely forgotten about till today). So for free? I got my money's worth... :lol:

********* MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!! ********

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Let me just break down what I liked and didn't like about ID: Resurgence (or Regurgitation, depending on your tolerance). First off, here's what I liked:

* Nice to see a big budget action movie that isn't po-faced, drab, misery porn; drowning in shaky-cam cinematography. The movie's look is bright and colorful; almost retro. With slow pans, static angles, and big 'money shots.' Cliched perhaps, but sometimes cliches are cliche because they work. Lots of armageddon porn, but more Irwin Allen than Zack Snyder.

* The 'alternate' 2016 that takes place 20 years after the 1996 alien invaded Earth of the original is very interesting. Humans harvested the alien tech and now have moonbases, orbital defense networks and no more international wars. It's nice to see (however briefly) a unified Earth on its way to a seemingly Star Trek-ish future. You know, basically it's the 2016 'future' my generation was promised 40 freaking years ago (!).

* More Brent Spiner! Spiner returns as the eccentric hippie/geek Area 51 scientist Dr. Okun, who awakens from a 20 year coma. Also surprising and welcome was that the character is (retro) gay, with a committed partner who visited him faithfully during his coma. Given that director Roland Emmerich is gay himself, this little bit was welcome (though it arguably would've had more impact if it were one of the four young, sexy pilots). Spiner really OWNS the role this time and is clearly having a lot more fun. His energy is infectious. He even gets the last line (!).

* A female US president, played by the ever-lovely Sela Ward (I'm hoping that was a bit of foreshadowing for November of our OWN 2016... hehe). Even in an alternate 2016, it's nice to see. And the title of "madame president" fit Sela Ward as nicely as it fit former ID star Mary McDonnell in "Battlestar Galactica"...

* Moonbases! Maybe because I'm always pining for them in our real present, but it was cool to see a very retro-looking moonbase in this future. Reminded me of the Duncan Jones' 2009 movie, "Moon" or Peter Hyams' 1981 "Outland" (which took place on Jupiter's moon of Io). Of course, as with all of those movies (and Space: 1999), the gravity always seems 'heavier' indoors than when characters are outside, but that's nitpicking... this is a big, silly disaster movie, not "The Martian."

* It's entertaining. Big, stupid, but entertaining. This isn't a smart movie, nor does it aspire to be. This is VERY much a B-movie. I'd recommend watching it in the same spirit one goes to see a Godzilla movie; it's that level of dumb, fun, action entertainment. There is absolutely ZERO gravitas to this movie, but I suspect that's entirely by design. This is perfect drive-in fodder, or something to watch on a giant, inflatable outdoor screen...



What wasn't so cool about it:

* Will Smith was SORELY lacking. None of the new generation of 20somethings in the cast have his star power or charisma (good looks do NOT equal charisma). Goldblum, Spiner and even Judd Hirsch (yes, he's in it too... mostly doing 'sweet old Jewish guy' stuff) do their best to pick up the slack, but Smith is definitely missed here....

* The new cast of 20somethings to fill Smith's place (Liam Hemsworth, Jesse T. Usher, Maika Monroe, Angelababy and Travis Tope) have the combined charm of Will Smith's left forearm. They all play their stock cliche roles ably enough, but not all-that memorably. They remind me of the human characters in a Japanese Godzilla movie; stock characters who basically exist to try to hold onto audience interest until the next big monster fight. Angelababy (not making that name up; it's in IMDB) plays a token hot Chinese pilot, overtly created to increase foreign bank. I get it. And I'm totally OK with that. Even '60s Japanese keiju-eiga movies brought in occasional American actors like Russ Tamblyn and Nick Adams to shore up foreign appeal. My only complaint is that her character, much like the other four, are mere ciphers. I never really invest in any of them the way I invested in Will Smith in the first movie; whose charm was a force of nature. Missed opportunities abound in this regard...

* Judd Hirsch. It was nice to see Julius again, but all he does is sweet, kindly, old man things. He rescues a stranded school bus full of kids. He reads to seniors at an old folks' home (the actor himself must be at least 80something himself by now...). He even stops to PICK UP A F--KING PUPPY. Even in a movie like this, my eyes were rolling to the back of my head...

* Vivica Fox in a blink and you'll miss her cameo. She's a dignified doctor now instead of a pole dancer. And hey, in a movie this silly, why not? I miss some of her fiery energy from the first movie though. She does provide a little extra bit of motivation for her son Dylan later on however...

* The fighter/mothership dogfights are an un-choreographed mess. But then again, they kind of were in the first movie too, so I'm not sure if this is a deficit or homage (?)...

* The alien 'queen' (yes, even that cliche stone wasn't left unturned) looks almost EXACTLY like the queen in ALIENS. Only she's tall a building. Kind of shameless...


That's about all for now. I'm sure I'll think up more in both categories later, as I only got home an hour and a half ago. Again, it's big, silly, unsophisticated entertainment. The space opera/disaster movie equivalent of a Godzilla movie. It's not at all smart, though surprisingly entertaining at times. It's a real B-movie, and I don't necessarily mean that as an insult...

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