Independence Day: Resurgence

Director Roland Emmerich recently made some negative comments directed at super hero movies, specifically to Marvel, calling them silly.  After seeing Independence Day: Resurgence, Emmerich’s comments makes him look like the ultimate glass house owner throwing stones everywhere.

This film wishes it could be a Marvel movie.

A sequel to the big time, albeit corny, 1996 Independence Day, Resurgent focuses on a futuristic world where the citizens of planet earth have taken the alien technology and advanced their society with the expectation that the alien attackers would, one day, come back.   Fortunately, the aliens choose the 20th anniversary celebration to launch their return to earth, sending out earthlings into a tizzy.

Will Smith did not return for this sequel and you can feel his absence.  His character, Steven Hiller, is said to have been killed in a training exercise with the alien tech, and now his son, Dylan (Jesse T. Usher) stepped up to replace him.  At least, that is what the movie wanted, but this character is one of the weakest characters you will find, unlike Steven Hiller.

We also had new character Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), the typical rascally sci-fi hero.  Liam Hemsworth is at best average here, playing a character as cliched as you get.

This is a big problem with this sequel.  There are a ton of science fiction cliches here.  You hardly go five minutes without another cliche rearing its ugly head.  There is nothing new or original here, and the movie suffers for it.  In fact, if you look closely, the beats of this movie very nearly match the original.  There really is not much difference.  The biggest difference is that the original had characters that you could connect with.  This one, not so much.

There were returning characters in this sequel.  Bill Pullman returned to the film as former President Whitmore, now damaged mentally from his experiences of the first film.  I thought there was some interesting aspects to be told from this story, but in the end, he basically became the replacement for the Randy Quaid character for the sequel.  Also back was the “not-dead” character of Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner), who came out of his coma for this story.  Spiner was so over the top and ridiculous that I hated every moment he was on screen.

The only returning character that I felt was done somewhat okay was Jeff Goldblum’s David Levinson and that was because of Goldblum’s presence.  David’s father Julius (the never aging Judd Hirsch) is here as well, somehow surviving an event that should have easily killed him only to wind up driving a bus full of random children to Area 51.

Not only were the characters weak, the dialogue was unbelievably campy and poorly written.  Sure, the original film had campy dialogue as well, but this one sure seemed to take that camp to a whole new level.

Some of the CGI was not bad, but I definitely got a Star Wars: Episode I vibe from the film.  You know, a load of crap on the screen at once, nothing that stands out as amazing.  There were lots of ships shooting lasers through the sky, but none of it meant anything.   And then, the ending sequence  with the SPOILERS Queen looked as sloppy as you will get in CGI.

The film is really stupid and has little fun, unlike its predecessor, which took the campy, dumb action flick and gave you characters that you could care about.  Go and watch the original if you want. It is considerably better.

1.9 stars

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