On its own merits, Independence Day: Resurgence suffers from a little bit of sequelitis, a lot of “bigger=better,” and felt longer than it really was despite so many cool things happening on screen. I liked it, but did not love it.
The thing it did right, it did almost perfectly. The events of the first film, set in 1996, are treated as if they happened 20 years ago. It’s now 2016, and the actors who appear in both films played their characters as having aged twenty years. Which the actors actually have. Sequels almost never get to do that to this extent, and I liked it a lot.
And that’s it for the “review” part of this review. If you’re just here for the movie, stop reading now.
Had it not been for the disastrous results of the Brexit referendum, and the “Leave” campaign’s abuse of the word “independence¹,” I might have given this film nothing more than an ordinary review. One of the connections is far too strong for that, however.
See, the thing Independence Day: Resurgence did perfectly is one of many things which the Brexit referendum underscored as a terrible failing.
The film tells a story in which the old people champion a future that the young people have chosen. The older generation in Independence Day: Resurgence has spent twenty years in a world united, and is fighting to preserve it for the next generation.
I don’t know what the UK’s older generation, the ones who voted “Leave,” have spent twenty years thinking, but the younger generation has spent those years looking forward with hope, not backward with fear. With Brexit, the older generation voted against the future that the youth of the UK overwhelmingly desired.
At 48 I guess I’m technically an old person², at least in the eyes of the 18-24yo voters who so overwhelmingly favored remaining in the EU. I’m an old person who has changed his mind numerous times, and who looks back and is appalled at some of what I used to think³. If I’m wise, it’s not because I’m constant, unless you count “constantly learning.” Young me probably would have been won over by words like “sovereignty” and “independence.” Old me sees how connected we all are, and how every single act of ignorant distrust tears at the fabric of the future we want to build.
Fellow old people: Look around. Listen and learn. That thing you’ve believed for decades may not be true anymore. It might not even have been true then. Inertia is not wisdom, and those who praise common sense are often calling for you to remain ignorant.
Young people: Old people aren’t all jingoistic relics of the isolationism that has been useless since before most of them were born. Some of us want to hand you a world that is better than the one we were handed, better even than the “good old days” that we, in our more honest moments, will admit never actually existed.
¹Along with a many other words.
²There are at least two generations of people who are older than me, and who look at the number 48 and furrow their brows, scowling at me for co-opting their adjective. Sorry. I’m camping on your lawn now, but in ten years I’ll be moving into the house.
³I still hold to the “faith of my fathers,” but I am quite happy to not conflate it with the cultural baggage that so often accompanies it.