I realize the first Independence Day movie is something very special to most Americans. Especially those who saw it back then. Personally, it doesn’t appeal to me that much, but I get why it appeals to others. It’s characters, action sequences and a good measure of patriotism and heart made it an easily likable and enjoyable film.
Living as we do, in the age of sequels, reboots and rehashes, it comes as no surprise that the sequel to Independence Day is coming out now, 20 years later. And yes, it is just as unnecessary as you thought.
I’m going to dispense with describing the basic plot and leave that to the movie’s tagline. Which basically tells you all you need to know.
“We had 20 years to prepare…so did they.”
The thing about Independence Day: Resurgence is that it does the same thing that other recently rebooted sequels, Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens did. Which is essentially rehash the story of your iconic predecessor and dial everything up to an eleven, just like all sequels are supposed to. But what puts Resurgence apart from those two is that there isn’t really anything even remotely good here.
Apparently Emmerich thinks that if he just makes everything bigger, its going to make the movie better. What he does not know is that empty CGI spectacle does not substitute for exuberance and ambition. And that’s really all this movie is, an empty CGI spectacle, full of the trademark Emmerich destruction porn, in which there are no stakes and you couldn’t care for any of the characters or the landmarks. There’s actually a scene in which aliens drop Hong Kong over London, but not nearly as cool as it could have been.
The script, credited to five writers, including Emmerich and Dean Devlin is abysmal. Full of lazy storytelling, even lazier exposition, convoluted plotting, bad dialogue and absolutely no heart. The movie also has a really poor sense of pacing and despite clocking at a pretty standard 122 minutes, it feels far longer.
Will Smith clearly had the good sense to stay away from this, or asked them for so much money that they decided to just move on without him. And his replacements don’t do this movie much of a favor. You have the charisma vacuum Jessie Usher who plays his son (surprise, surprise, he’s also a pilot) and gives probably the worst performance of the movie. It’s amazing how less of a screen-presence he is. Maika Monroe who was kinda good in It Follows is actually really bad here as well and neither her two facial expressions nor her poor delivery help the performance. While Sela Ward is a contender for the worst U.S President in a movie.
If there’s any reason to watch this, and well, if you absolutely must. See it for Jeff Goldblum because he’s easily the best thing about this movie even though he’s not nearly in it as much as he should have. But altogether, it’s a mess. It’s nothing more than another run-of-the-mill cash-grabbing rehash. Poorly acted, poorly written and not exciting or enjoyable…at all.