US Release Date: 6/24/16
They’re at it again. 20 years after some very nasty anti-ET aliens unsuccessfully tried to transform earth into one massive fire pit in 1996’s Independence Day, their extra-terrestrial descendants are coming back to finish the job.
Scenes of alien spacecraft hovering over New York and other major cities in Roland Emmerich’s alien invasion blockbuster, Independence Day set a creepy and unsettling tone for a movie that would become a massive hit and rake up more than $800 million at the international box office.
When the destruction started, audiences watched in awe as the invaders virtually reduced earth to little more than rubble within milliseconds. For them, it was fresh, exciting and innovative to watch some very serious alien hardware demolish big cities.
Twenty years later, Hollywood’s landscape is very different. Audiences have – thanks to a slew of disaster movies and big screen superhero escapades – repeatedly watched various filmmakers cause relentless mass destruction.
Today, the total annhilation of a major city or three, in a market saturated by computer games showing the exact same thing, is no big deal to a movie savvy public which believes it has seen everything. The fact that it often comes at the expense of good characterisation and storyline is, tragically, irrelevant.
So when viewing Emmerich’s Independence Day: Insurgence – the filmmaker’s long awaited sequel to his earlier megahit – just don’t expect its destruction moments – that materialise when aliens take a second shot at earth – to bring anything new to the table.
Granted, Emmerich’s first film did couple the special effects with a storyline and likable characters but the same cannot be said for the sequel. The rivalry between air force pilots Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth) and Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher), the son of the first film’s Steve Hiller (Will Smith), is nothing short of cliché and trite. During an early scene, the all gusto Morrison, who seems to be a very poor carbon copy of Tom Cruise’s Maverick in Top Gun, finds himself in a situation which has zero impact on the storyline and does absolutely no favors for the movie. In fact, one wonders why it did not end up on the cutting room floor.
In the wake of Emmerich’s first alien invasion pic, Smith, whose absence is starkly felt throughout the sequel, shot to international stardom. The actor, who would later re-encounter aliens in the Men in Black franchise, played Heller as a likeable and funny everyman who was fearless enough to punch one alien in the face while yelling ‘welcome to earth.’
That scene provides light fare during a very intense movie, but no such moments exist in Resurgence – thanks to some dumb characters. There is absolutely nothing in this movie that makes Usher’s character stand out in the same way that Heller distinguished himself from the rest of Independence Day’s ensemble. In fact, it’s very easy to forget about him and, for that matter, many of the other characters once this movie ends. And, believe me, that’s something you’ll be highly anticipating right from the opening scene.
Veterans of the first film comprise of Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner, but even they are unable save this mixture of special effects driven, boring mish mash. A big disappointment – especially to those who have been waiting long and hard for the sequel to one of the best sci-fi popcorn pics of recent times.
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Liam Hemsworth, Jesse Usher, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Vivica A. Fox and Angelababy
Screenwriters: Roland Emmerich, Dean Devilin
Producers: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich and Harold Kloser
Executive Producers: Ute Emmerich, Larry J. Franco and Carsten H.W. Lorenz
Image Info: Copyright 2016 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved