Mini Reviews, Movies

Mini Review: Independence Day

So I recently gave my impressions of the long awaited (or maybe surprising) sequel to Independence Day. While I liked Resurgence, I certainly wasn’t overly impressed, and commented on a number of problems including the lack of heart. First and foremost I don’t want to get into issue with the computer virus, yes I know it doesn’t make sense, it’s been 20 years get over it. Leaving aside that (and not even touching the fact that the new movie has even more ridiculous parts) Independence Day hit a lot of summer blockbuster high notes. It’s a well loved movie for a reason.

Yes, like the new one it has a rather large ensemble cast. However, unlike the new one everyone seems to have their place. The original movie wasn’t afraid to write characters in for short scenes then move on. One of the biggest problems with Resurgence is that it seems unable to just let characters go. If a character has any importance at any point then they want to hammer that home. Independence Day has a number of quick burst characters, then it allows those characters to just go. Even with the large cast the movie does a good job on really focusing in. You have your main stars, a few secondary, and then everyone else is well written, but there is not driving force attempting to force you to care about them more than you are able to. Conflicts and romances between the characters are also well written and seem natural.

The action/special effects are also completely solid. Resurgence had one major thing against it, we knew what was coming. Even with attempting to surprise us the plot development remained rather predictable. With Independence Day it still suffers from what we expect from action flicks, but doesn’t suffer the direct comparison. There is still a loss of surprise for key moments, but for the most part the movie remains exciting and unpredictable enough that it keeps you on your toes. The movie is also a bit of a technical marvel for the time, the White House blowing up alone is proof of the actual technology behind the film. It is safe to say it has not aged perfectly, 20 years later there are a few moments that are a bit cringe worthy, but for the most part it’s top notch.

So we have a great cast, good action, solid special effects. The last competent is story. Again, it does suffer a bit at key moments, but overall the story is compelling and interesting. It’s not a story that will change your life, but summer blockbusters don’t have to be that. Summer blockbusters are meant to be fast, loud, and entertaining. Independence Day manages to be that while still bringing a level of heart that many movies in that vein are missing, including the sequel. To me what really grabs me about this movie, even 20 years later is that it proves that a summer blockbuster doesn’t have to be completely shallow to still fit the bill. It’s hardly the most complex movie I’ve ever seen, but it does bring a certain something extra that is often missing in action movies. I believe that something extra is almost completely tied to the wonderful characters, and the fact that it’s not over worked.

Bottom line, a quick comparison of the two. What it ultimately boils down to is the cast of characters and heart. Even with the bad plot line, even with the special effects suffering, even it being just another summer blockbuster. Independence Day manages to rise above so many other similar movies, and blows the sequel away because of heart and good characters. I do think you can enjoy both this summer, and I hope those of you that celebrate it have a safe and wonderful Independence Day.

So what do you think? Do you like the original better? Do you agree with my reasoning? Or am I just plain wrong? Let us know in the comments!

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