INDEPENDENCE DAY RESURGENCE is on the fast track to becoming one of my least favorite films of 2016. I was mildly on board to begin with. I never felt the desire to see what these characters have been doing the past 20 years (with the exception of Jeff Goldblum of course). What got my attention in the trailers was that Earth ended up integrating the alien technology to make defense systems and vehicles.
The other added interest was some much needed down time for myself, and a summer blockbuster felt like a good idea. I appreciated the escapism, but the film was pretty bland and straight up boring.
It's been 20 years since the events of the first film and now the aliens are back. Back with a vengeance! Citizens of Earth always knew that the aliens would come back and when they did the planet would be ready for them with the Earth Space Defense, or ESD for short. Just not ready enough it turns out. This time around the aliens are sporting a spacecraft 3,000 miles wide (heh)! The saucers from the first film we're only 3 miles wide.
The huge mothership begins to drill into the Earth to reach the planet core. We try and stop them but with only giving you lite spoilers, the aliens set a trap. So it's up to David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and others to figure out how to stop them, again. Ticking clock climax within ticking clock climax.
What made the first INDEPENDENCE DAY work so well was it's impressive mash up of a Irwin Allen disaster movie with science fiction action. A lot of movie buffs including myself eye-roll at the mere mention of the film nowadays. Which in my opinion stems from all the cash cow rip offs that came afterwards, including director Roland Emmerich's other movies.
I'm not saying INDEPENDENCE DAY is the best film ever. I'm saying the formula worked. It's a super fun thrill ride. And sadly everything that INDEPENDENCE DAY got right, INDEPENDENCE DAY RESURGENCE got wrong.
I don't like doing the laundry list of what's wrong but I'll name a few anyway.
Poor character development or lack thereof.
Liam Hemsworth is one of the films heroes (top billing if I remember correctly) and here he is about as charismatic a piece of wood.
All the young characters suck in the movie, I was perplexed that I did not like a single one!
The only character I liked was David Levinson, but that's only because Jeff Goldblum is awesome. Bottom line and I never thought I'd say this, but Will Smith should have been in this movie! The charm that his Captain Steven Hiller brought to the first film was sorely missed.
Fox should have just paid Will's price and stuck with the draft where his character doesn't die.
This film had 5 screenwriting credits by the way. And believe me, you can tell.
There are some sub plots that come out of nowhere and with no rhyme or reason all connect with each other in the end. At times it really felt like you were watching several different drafts of the film. And I'm sure the studio thinks nobody will notice because they are distracting you with special effects.
The CGI in INDEPENDENCE DAY RESURGENCE isn't bad per say, but it strangely makes the film look oddly flat at times? Grand wide shots of stuff happening on screen that is clearly computer generated. So maybe the special effects were bad after all! By the climax which is with a gigantic alien queen (sound familiar) and all the ensemble sub-plot characters coming together, I was ready for the movie to be over with.
The last thing I'll complain about admittedly sounds like a nit pick, but the musical score for INDEPENDENCE DAY RESURGENCE was terrible. Nothing memorable about it at all. It sounded like the main theme from the original on a loop, droning on and on and on.
In closing I want to reiterate that I do not hold INDEPENDENCE DAY in some high regard. It's a pretty dumb film peppered with cool fun stuff. It's success is responsible for what seemed like an endless slew of disaster movie crap. But at the time of this review I do think it's a better film (a masterpiece even) than the sequel.
If you loved the first film and are a fan of sci-fi action then you may like INDEPENDENCE DAY RESURGENCE, but I highly doubt it.