Independence Day: Resurgence Film Review: Aliens Invade, Blow Things Up Again

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Tweetable Takeaway: #IndependenceDayResurgence will deliver dumb, big-budget alien invading action, and not much else


Back in 1996 a little ole movie called Independence Day came out that left the world with two long-lasting memories.  Invading aliens blowing up the White House, and Will Smith punching one of those aliens in the face, welcoming it to earth.  20 years later and we have the inevitable sequel.  We still have landmarks being destroyed, but no Will Smith.  There are times sequels can live on without returning characters that made the original work, and certainly here there are plenty of characters who do return, like Bill Pullman’s Whitmore and Jeff Goldblum’s David Levinson.  But in a film with such utterly predictable plot points as INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE, a character with the charm and charisma of Will Smith is desperately needed, and completely missing.  Fans of worldwide destruction will get their fix, but anyone looking for a movie that provides more than simple surface thrills will want to look elsewhere.

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The planet Earth of Resurgence is an advanced one, as humans have taken the alien technology and created new, fast-traveling ships and weapons with it.  Old characters are re-introduced.  Former Whitmore is now a crazy old man with a beard.  His daughter, Patricia (Maika Monroe), is working in the White House.  David Levinson is traveling to old alien shipwrecks.  His dad (returning Judd Hirsch) has a book about how he saved the world that isn’t selling too well.  And finally, the man who may be the one to carry the torch left by Will Smith, is his character’s son, Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher).  It’s safe to say that this torch gets effectively extinguished.  Also making a brief reappearance is Vivica A. Fox as Jasmine Hiller.  The returning players all do a perfunctory , none standing out in particular.  Judd Hirsch has a few fun moments, but often his scenes feel out of place, as if from a different movie.  However, being that his scenes are entertaining, those end up being some of the best parts of the movie.  Jeff Goldblum never manages to utilize his idiosyncratic delivery for any lines, which again disappoints.  Bill Pullman at times is interesting as a bearded crazy man who other people seem to put up with since he is a former president who saved the world.  But since there’s such a huge cast of characters we jump between, no one character gets enough time to try and stand out.

Writing out every new character this movie introduces would take up the rest of the review.  The most notable include Charlotte Gainsbourg as Catherine Marceaux, who has been studying the alien ships as well.  I cannot think of a single scene in which her character could not be cut, and the film would remain unchanged.  The second most notable is Deobia Oparei, a warlord who lives in Africa where apparently an alien ship landed from the first film and began drilling the Earth.  Much like Judd Hirsch’s scenes hinting at a different, more entertaining movie, Oparei’s exposition involves what happened after the ship landed.  The aliens and humans in the region fought on the ground against each other, and since then, there has been a residual psychic connection between the two.  It’s another interesting after effect of the invasion from the first film, one that Resurgence has no interest, and frankly no time, to explore.  This is a movie that sticks straight to formula, and if the viewer has seen a handful of movies before, he or she will know exactly what will occur at any moment.  Even the setbacks and twists arrive right on schedule, right to order. 

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There is a comfort to be found in formula, however.  For those looking for a straightforward, no frills big budget movie, all their prayers are answered with Independence Day: Resurgence. Giant alien ships will hover over Earth.  Stuff will blow up.  Characters will save the day.  Sure, there won’t be any surprises in store, but those looking for a blockbuster extravaganza that requires no thinking will be imminently satisfied.  With the inclusion of just one watchable character to become invested in, maybe Resurgence would be far more enjoyable, too.  As it stands, come for the explosions and not much else.

I give it 2.5 missing Will Smiths out of 5.

Score:  2.5 out of 5

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Wil lives, breathes, and loves movies. On applications he will often list the movie theater as his second residence, and the usher as his emergency contact.
Twitter: @TheCantaLoper

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