Some films warrant sequels, and then there’s Independence Day: Resurgence which I would categorize as a film that does not warrant a sequel. No, this is one of those “they’re-in-it-for-the-money” films so afterward, everyone will have to go make an art film and heal their greedy, guilty souls.
The set up is 20 years after the original Independence Day alien invasion. Every day life has evolved as alien technology has been blended with human gadgetry so we have flying cars, fancier weapons, a planetary defense system and more. We even have military bases on different planets now too. But just as we’re all full of ourselves and confident of our safety, guess who’s back for round two…
The aliens return, in a waaaaay bigger ship by the way, because BIGGER, IS WELL, BIGGER, right? This turns out to be the crutch and one of the gimmicks of the film. There’s just more of them and a big-ass queen to boot. Perhaps instead of focusing on a “size-matters” approach, they should’ve focused on making a better script. The story is as cliched as the terrible dialog in addition to very little character arcs or development. Some of the characters are just in here as fodder to fill in for lack of substance to just jam in something between effects, fight scenes and disaster. That formula is exactly director Roland Emmerich’s thing but in some of his films there is at times a sense of story and some plausibility where this film lacks both in a huge way.
Also back are some of the characters from the first film such as Bill Pullman as the former president, Jeff Goldblum’s David Levinson (who’s now a scientist) along with his dad played by Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner fresh out of his coma as Dr. Okun. I’m a fan of a number of these actors and it was kind of a drag to see them having to deliver lines you can tell they were not thrilled with. I get it, you have to pay the bills, I get it, but damn, you could just see it in their faces sometimes, especially Pullman and Goldblum. Everyone is just following the blueprints on this one with the lineup including Liam Hemsworth (the Hunger Games Hemsworth, not Thor), Sela Ward, William Fichtner, and Vivica A. Fox.
Even as a popcorn movie, it’s kind of BS. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but you’d be better off watching a Michael Bay film instead.
reviewed by Sean McKnight