Script Doctoring: Independence Day: Resurgence Review

Independence Day: Resurgence is known for its panoramic beauty complete with high-tech gadget living and social advancements that reveal a world where everything has gone right. Unlike the first film, earthlings have worked out its problems and joined as a single, human entity. Although Resurgence isn't a bad movie, you can't help but feel like something is missing. Cameos appear in galore with some characters having passed away while others, including the kids, have moved on to great and wonderful things. And, since the great battle of Independence Day played such a big role in everyone's lives, all the kids have careers in the Air Force too. Yet, despite all this plenitude, something is missing. This film only got a little more than 1 star on Netflix and I think I know why. Narrative unity. There wasn't a strong enough theme to keep this war story together.

Narrative Unity & Independence Day: Resurgence

Narrative unity keeps the story together. Narrative usually applies to a story of some kind, whether it be about a particular person or a group. Unity implies that it keeps it together. Hence, narrative unity keeps it all together. In the first movie, the surprise attack guided the story from start to finish. This means that every character involved had snippets of their lives taken in order to tell the story of the coming invasion. Even if you think something didn't pertain to the story, remember that character development is important too. So, in order to fall in love with the people, you need to get attached to them emotionally.

Independence Day: Resurgence relies heavily on back story to build characters. Not totally, but enough. We don't need to know why President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) is going crazy. We saw what happened in the first film along with Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner). They got sucked on by the aliens and now have pieces of the hive in their heads. They know the queen-harvester is coming for them because of it. We also see some important character development such as the romance between Jake Morrison (Liam Helmsworth) and Patricia Whitmore (Maika Monroe). We need this to add substance to the story. Yet, it's still not enough. Something is missing. For two hours, I saw a really cool film that seemed to lack story. Then, I saw it. President Whitmore showed the way.

The Revelation through President Whitmore's Speech

Somewhere in the film, President Whitmore makes a grand speech in the hangar about the world coming together to fight the aliens. David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) witnesses the event. It's reminiscent of what happened in the first film just before take off. I'm sure you remember, the grand "independence day" speech when the President joins the crew to attack the alien ship. This speech wasn't the cool though. In fact, it fell a little flat, with no fault of Bill Pullman mind you. But, it did give me a clue as to how to achieve narrative unity in the film - or what would bring the film together.

Our world - the real world - is a huge mess. On some days it looks like it's falling apart. We're all interesting in coming together to fight global warming and oncoming pandemics. It's a huge issue. We don't know how it's going to happen, but we will somehow find a way. The world in Independence Day is in the same predicament. They have already come together, but now must rise to the occasion again to defeat the enemy. However, we spend so much time with characters and plot development, we don't spend enough time with story development - the ethos of the story. 

How to Fix Independence Day: Resurgence

My advice would be to spend more time with the world coming together. Show the problems of countries joining forces. Make sure they have a lot of problems, conflict, that audiences love to see. Show how people butt heads. How cultures are clashing. Sure, we came together because an alien invasion, but that doesn't mean getting together is going to be easy. Also, show the promise of it. Look at all the technology that we can use. Terrorism isn't a threat anymore. This brings unity to the story because it's the context of everyone's lives. It's the problem their trying to fix. Then, you can take the characters and entangle their personal lives into the bigger context of world peace. When all is said and done, bring back the aliens - both of them - especially the one that brings humanity into a larger, united federation of planets of sorts.

This would bring narrative unity to the story because everyone in the story has something in common. And, this narrative is your narrative and mine. We do need to come together really soon. We've only got a thousand years left on this planet. Throw all this in and Independence Day: Resurgence will be just as good as the first.

Think about it. Mull that over. It's narrative unity. Narrative unity brings it all together. The next time you see a film that makes you feel blah, then maybe it's just because nothing is placing it within a context that's relevant to you.

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