Maoist Movie Review: Resurgence
One of the more hotly anticipated sequels to a classic (or, approaching classic) science fiction film has been the new Independence Day film: “Resurgence”. The film is set in 2016, exactly 20 years after the last film, and is quite vague in discussing the geo-political developments since the events of the first film. What we are given is obscure exposition by the new president of the united $tates on the “great advancements of humynity” since the defeat of the alien invaders. Of course, the united $tates in this arrangement is depicted as the noble defender of humynity and of earth in light of a humyn victory over the aliens 2 decades ago. What is also made clear is that an entirely new and more comprehensive military alliance has been drafted between all of the major imperialist powers and with China playing an increasingly prominent role in this new military coalition labeled the Earth Space Defense (ESD), this will be important later.
What is more immediately puzzling is the talk of the great period ushered in by the humyn victory which has allegedly seen no military conflict and has achieved great leaps in prosperity with the use of alien technology to benefit “all humynity.” These are some pretty big achievements, if they were to hold water. However it seems that like most boasts of amerika, even in this film, are just as hollow as they are in real life. Little is ever shown of the rest of the world outside of amerika (other than bits of Europe later in the film) although we do get to see several glimpses of an obscure destination in Afrika that is visited by the protagonists to meet with a local “warlord” whose people live underneath a large alien ship which had landed there during the first invasion.
What is interesting about their depiction of Afrikan people during this time is not only the direct contradiction with the president’s speech previously celebrating the great peace and prosperity, as well as the fact that this film does little to avoid the western stereotypes of Afrikan people in the media generally. The Afrikan people depicted in the film seem to have gained virtually nothing from the alien technology other than weaponry (consistent with a western worldview of what Afrikan people would find important) as well as the fact that they explicitly state the people in this region have been at near-constant warfare with the remnants of the alien army, and have been ruled by a “cruel warlord” whose aesthetic is meant to closely mirror that of a strong Communist leader, with the red flags and red stars. So much for “peace and prosperity” for all humynity.
This is very revealing about not only the mentalities of those who created the movie, but also of the characters within the film itself. The Afrikan people are summed up by this one vague and unspecified people they encounter who are meant to be the archetypical hyper-violent, probably Communist, and backward peoples. Furthermore, it becomes clear that when the president of amerika says “all humynity” what they mean is “all First World humynity” with an expressed focus on amerikans. These are the humyns they find to be particularly important, and worth talking about when making the generalized statements of peace and prosperity. So while for Communists it would seem contradictory to hear these statement and see the reality of Afrikan peoples at the same time, it is entirely consistent with the worldview of most amerikans and would be therefore uncontroversial to most of them.
Later in the film we are presented with the new alien threat, which is supposed to appear much more challenging than the previous one. Again, amerika champions itself as being the principal world leader as all of the seemingly most important battles are fought in North Amerika and a majority of all scenes address amerikan characters in the aftermath of the second invasion. There is a focus on two euro-amerikan characters who constantly paint themselves as born-of-hardship soldiers who are entirely misunderstood by their non-white superiors, including the Chinese commanding officer. This falls entirely in line with the amerikan perception of being the “unwanted hero” that always must intervene to save the world. They are underappreciated, overdeveloped, and the model for humynity in this film’s depiction.
Though aside from the centrality of amerikan characters in this film, another interesting aspect alluded to previously has is the prominence of China in this. China is not only a major power depicted in the film, but several of the most prominent characters, such as the commander of the lunar military installation, featured in the film and one of the more central protagonists, are Chinese. The film makes several overt attempts to appeal to the potential Chinese audiences. This has less to do with the film’s overall message so much as it has to do with an increasingly popular trend in films overall in the West with regards to China. Despite being anticipated in the united $tates and Europe, Resurgence has not done well so far in the amerikan box office, however its revenue was nearly matched by the Chinese opening. One could easily connect this to the overt attempts to make the film viable in the Chinese box office.
This is not unique to this film, however, with many other recent films now pinning their hopes on a success in both the amerikan and Chinese box offices. Two good examples of this in recent years have been the new Warcraft film which did extremely poorly in the united $tates and yet was a huge success in China, as well as the Red Dawn remake, which had actually undergone enormous changes during production to change the antagonists from Chinese to northern Koreans in order to ensure it could be shown in China. This is a rather strange example of how China is being transformed in its current place in the global markets as a major contender for marketing in the West as the Chinese government primes exclusive parts of the population for integration into the imperialist world economy as a large power.
Overall this film’s release exposes quite a lot about not only the amerikan consciousness, but as well the state of the global markets as they must now recognize China as being a large and viable marketplace for their goods. Films such as this one appeal directly to the ultra-racist and eurocentric worldviews of the audiences in an attempt to portray them as the saviors of the world, who take upon themselves the full burden and prestige for rescuing the planet in its hour of need. It goes to great lengths to demonstrate amerika and the imperialist countries as the rightful leaders of the planet, and to obscure all real social relations behind their prosperity and the misery of Third World peoples.