Total déjà vu – Independence Day: Resurgence


Last Saturday, my wife Alex and I went to see Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day: Resurgence in English at Cineplex in Grünau. I have to say, contrary to all the negative reviews you may have read, we actually had a really good time! By the way, while I won’t give away too much of the story, there are obviously some mild spoilers ahead.

So, what’s it all about? After having defeated the aliens in 1996, united humanity has learned to use alien technology to defy gravity and to travel at exceedingly high speeds.

As you may have guessed from the posters, the aliens are headed back to earth looking even scarier, and having an even bigger spaceship.

Once again it is up to human ingenuity (and a lot of large bombs) to find a way to defeat those alien bastards.

The best thing about this movie is that it’s a lot like its predecessor. Most of the original cast reappears in one form or another (including characters who most certainly died in 1996, but that doesn’t matter), and you will find the story… slightly… familiar.

If you loved ID4, chances are you’ll enjoy Resurgence.

Do you remember the eerie interior of the alien mothership? This time you’ll get to see one from close up. There are also closeups of handgun fights between humans and aliens. And of Africans being particularly good at killing them. With machetes.

But anyway, this movie is funny. And that is mainly due to Jeff Goldblum, who reprises his role as David Levinson, the genius cable TV technician who saved the planet in 1996. In some scenes he actually makes fun of the déjà vu feeling that the entire film carries, saying things like, “Hmm… it’s definitely bigger than the last one” (in reference to the spaceship).

Admittedly, there are a few things you just have to ignore to make the film enjoyable. While humanity is depicted being as united as never before, it is America that appears to roll the dice. In two scenes, it is the American president who makes the calls on the world’s decisions. In one of them, the other world leaders are not even consulted.

Yep, there are also pretty bad stereotypes about Africans. For the scenes set in Africa, a country setting is not even defined, and the location is just stated as ‘Central Africa’. Fine, this may be a smidge better than ‘somewhere in the jungle’, but the alien skulls pierced on spears make explicitly neo-colonial descriptions unnecessary.

And please don’t try to reconcile the mythologies of ID4 and ID4: Resurgence. It is perfectly fine that the first movie claimed that the aliens’ “entire civilisation” travels from planet to planet and that they now, after having been wiped out, mysteriously return to earth.

And you just can’t blame Hollywood for mixing up the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

And also don’t be upset if you notice that one central character from ID4 has just disappeared… without as much as a mention (and no, it’s not Will Smith).

And, argh, never mind. I don’t want to ruin what was meant to be a positive review!

If you want to have a fun night, with lots to complain about afterwards, but still having the feeling that the movie was pretty cool, go and watch ID4: Resurgence. You can next watch it in English at Cinestar on Wednesday (20/07) at 20.00.

More movie showtimes…

Harald grew up in Großpösna, a village just outside the boundaries of Leipzig, but it is only after living elsewhere for four years that he really came to appreciate the city he was born. He is an idealist, a Christian, a socialist, a Europeanist, and, above all, a true Leipzig-lover. He will write about Leipzig’s history and politics, both of which are rather inaccessible to our English-speaking audience.

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