INDEPENDENCE DAY RESURGENCE
Director: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Jessie T. Usher, Vivica A. Fox, Maika Monroe, Judd Hirsch, Joey King, Brent Spiner, William Fichtner, Sela Ward
In the age of reboots, sequels, re-imaginings, and everything in between, does it really come as a surprise that there is a sequel to the mega blockbuster smash hit from 1996, Independence Day? The new sequel picks up twenty years after the aliens invaded the planet, and they’ve stayed dormant ever since then. The United States’ space technology has improved, and they have a command base stationed on the moon to keep a never-ending watch over the skies. Liam Hemsworth’s fighter pilot, Jake Morrison, is one of the cocky individuals stationed on the moon. His rival happens to be Dylan Hiller (Usher), the son of Will Smith’s character from the first movie. Don’t worry, Mama Vivica A. Fox is back in a glorified cameo role. In Africa, the one and only space ship to have landed in 1996 stays under the watchful eye of scientists and warlords. Yes, warlords carrying machetes. One of those scientists is Jeff Goldblum who is back as David Levinson.
The idea of peace on Earth comes to an abrupt end on the twentieth anniversary of that Independence Day catastrophe. There are catatonic aliens on the command base that start to awaken, and the space ship starts to light up without any human interference. The harvester queen alien is back with an army ready to destroy. The main ship docks over a large portion of the Earth and uses phasma drills to get to the center of the Earth’s core. It’s up to Goldblum, Hemsworth, crazy Brent Spiner who has awoken from a 7300 day old coma, and a bunch of others to stop them once and for all. Oh yes, how could I forget Bill Pullman. The former president is alive and present. He’s now a grizzly conspiracy theorist who suffers from nightmares of the aliens’ return.
Original hero Will Smith passed on coming back and chose to make Suicide Squad instead. Smart move on his part. I can’t decide if he would have made it any better or worse. While the first film felt somewhat grounded in reality with every day people reacting to an alien invasion, this one just goes beyond ridiculousness with a camp factor of 100. The tone and vibe just felt off from the beginning with the elaborate nature of how scientifically advanced they took the story instead of keeping it in the 2016 of today. Writer, director, and disaster flick aficionado Roland Emmerich is back with four other men to help piece together this script. There really isn’t much to it as the aliens attack within the first fifteen to twenty minutes; the rest just feels like a climax of a movie that lasts for two hours. It’s not even the good kind of climax. There really isn’t any build-up of suspense or fear making it oddly anticlimactic.
Listen, I get it. This is a disaster flick, there are certain elements that come with the territory, but Emmerich isn’t even trying to toe the line of good summer popcorn fun. He goes well behind that point making HEAVY use of his green screen for space invaders style attacks, destruction scenes, and huge CGI fighting aliens with guns. After watching a few Sharknado movies, I recognized the SyFy channel quality to Independence Day Resurgence. I want that budget and feel out of a tornado full of sharks, not a big Hollywood blockbuster. Did Emmerich not get the budget he wanted to try to recreate the first one?
Many of the actors in film including Goldblum, Pullman, and Spiner have full acknowledgment on their faces that they are making a sequel to Independence Day. They play along for the ride even if it means a bunch of over-acting on their part. Goldblum is pure cartoon Goldblum, and Spiner can play nutty really well. Sometimes there is no way of getting around what’s actually written in the script no matter how good of an actor you are. There is a given understanding that the dialogue in this kind of movie will be a bit corny, but this is so beyond cheesy that Sargento is now jealous. There are a multitude of empowering proclamations given over and over again whether it was from trusty Bill Pullman, President Sela Ward, or another fighter; you could hear the audience laughing. I was going to write them all down, but I couldn’t keep up. Here are some of my favorites:
-“There will be no peace.”
-“No one dies today!”
-“This is humanity’s last stand!”
-“Get ready for a close encounter, bitch!”
If you decide to tackle this alien mess, I’d recommend giving the first one a re-watch to prep. I feel like I missed out on some jokes and references, as it wasn’t fresh in my head. There are just some odd moments and one-liners that may have made more sense in context. Disaster flicks can be great popcorn style dumb entertainment. I remember the first one being a thrill-a-minute good time. This unnecessary sequel doesn’t even feel within the world of the first one and causes so much eye-rolling it lost its appeal very early on.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Instead of feeling like a summer blockbuster, it feels like a cheap made for cable movie.
RATING: 1 out of 5 TICKET STUBS