Blockbuster 3D movies weren't really a thing back in 1996, so when Roland Emmerich's original Independence Day was unleashed in theaters, audiences had only the choice to watch the film without an added dimension. Twenty years later, however, the aliens are now returning to Earth, and the new Independence Day: Resurgence comes with the option of paying a few extra dollars to see the film in stereoscope. But is the option worth taking advantage of?
You can read our full review of Independence Day: Resurgence right here, but as we do with every newly released 3D film, what you'll find below is a full breakdown of the experience to determine exactly the best way to see the movie on the big screen. To 3D or not to 3D is the question, so read on for the answer...
Since 2009, the rule of thumb when it comes to 3D being a good fit is when a movie is A) animated, or B) a big, spectacle-filled action blockbuster. Considering Independence Day: Resurgence most definitely falls into the latter category, it earns a high fit score. Consider the image of a jet fighter tearing through the sky at high speeds, and reducing anything in front of it to flying debris, and it's pretty easy to see why the movie is a good fit for the third-dimension.
Because of the serious advances in the world of post-conversion 3D, it's become pretty rare for a movie to actually film in stereoscope anymore (given that it's physically limiting and expensive). As such, Roland Emmerich didn't actually make Independence Day: Resurgence with a 3D camera setup, but the movie has been long-planned for an extra dimensional release. The director has been dabbling with the technology for a while now (there was a Independence Day 3D re-release scheduled a few years ago that got cancelled), so it's safe to say that the blockbuster was always intended to be seen through a pair of polarized glasses.
Because it typically doesn't translate well to non-extradimensional screenings, stuff flying out of the screen has been a smaller and smaller part of the 3D experience in the last few years, and it's an area of Independence Day: Resurgence that is ultimately disappointing. With so much on the screen blowing up, you'd think that the filmmakers would throw at least one piece of shrapnel into the audiences' lap, but it doesn't even happen once in the movie.
What Independence Day: Resurgence lacks in the Before The Window category it does partially make up Beyond The Window. Emmerich and his team do a great job creating space, whether it's as characters find themselves trapped inside the ridiculously huge alien mothership, or the camera is strapped to the nose of a jet blasting enemy ships out of the sky. Because pretty much everything in the movie is completely gigantic, this area isn't limited by interiors and exteriors, and is consistently solid throughout the entire movie.
As we tend to mention whenever this category comes up, the brightness of a 3D film can often be subjective, as some theaters try to save money by not using their projectors at full capacity. My screening was admittedly pretty optimal, as I watched Independence Day: Resurgence at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, which uses the powerful dual-4K IMAX laser projector system, and I was left impressed by the movie's brightness. Overall the movie is a bit on the darker side, as a great deal of it is either set indoors or in space, but I never felt as though the glasses were dulling the image -- suggesting that the blockbuster worked to compensate for the lenses.
While it's not uncommon for a movie-goers eyes to "adjust" to 3D to the extent that the effect becomes less noticeable, a great way to test exactly how much bang you're getting for your buck is simply by lifting your glasses and seeing how distorted the screen is. While certain areas will appear in focus, the degree to which everything else is out of focus tells you how much layering is being created to generate the 3D effect. Some movies look perfectly clear when you do this, but I will say that I regularly lifted my glasses while watching Independence Day: Resurgence, and was impressed how consistently the big screen effect was notable.
Again, this is a category that can tend to be a bit more subjective than others, as everyone has their own degree of sensitivity to 3D movies. That being said, bad 3D can make a person motion-sick or generate headaches simply by not establishing key focal points that prevent your eyes from drifting all around the screen. I'm admittedly only been occasionally affected by the sickening effects of the presentation, but I can say that I walked out of Independence Day: Resurgence feeling completely fine health-wise.
Final Verdict: A 27/35 isn't exactly a great score -- as Independence Day: Resurgence is definitely hurt by its lack of Before The Window elements -- but overall I will say it's worth the extra couple of bucks to get the extra dimension. While we've seen plenty of movies that had no business being presented in 3D, this definitely isn't one of them, and if you're seeing the movie partially for the epic big screen experience, you should do yourself the favor and find a 3D screening.