“I honestly didn’t think that was going to work”
Was anyone clamouring for a sequel to Independence Day? There seemed nothing left to add to the 1996 blockbuster. However, nostalgia is there purely to be mined in the minds of Hollywood people, so we have Independence Day: Resurgence. Forget about Will Smith; apart from two pictures he isn’t in the film. What we do have, however, is abundance of old and new characters, a bigger alien spaceship than before, a film overloaded with CGI and the same plot as the first one. Aliens invade earth, we fight back. What was the point? I asked myself this every couple of minutes or so during the film. The worst film I’ve seen this year? Without a doubt!
First of all, let me get the few positives out of the way. Even these, however, are mired in flaws. Take the advanced nature of earth in the film, aided by the use of alien technology. Humans have a moon base, can fly to the moon easily, and have bases as far as Saturn. However, they still drive cars that look like they’re from the 1990s? Why not hovercars, or flying cars? The few ideas associated with the high-tech are vaguely interesting, but completely wasted. It all comes down to shooting things anyway. There’s a hint of an interesting backstory about an African nation being left to fight aliens for ten years after in the invasion, but that’s a throwaway line (that would have been a better idea for a sequel). And the CGI is flawless. It is destruction porn that looks pretty darned good.
“What comes up must come down”
However, it is destruction porn that does little we haven’t seen before. Big spaceships causing destruction? Yes, we’ve seen that. Even if the big spaceship is super-massive and covers an area between London and Washington, D.C., skyscrapers smashing into each other has been done to death. “They always go for the landmarks,” Jeff Goldblum’s Levinson remarks whilst watching the destruction. But when that landmark is the Tower of London, it is a little underwhelming. Of course, most of London is destroyed, but strangely they decide to focus on the Tower of London. When I watch destruction porn, I want it to be enjoyable! Instead, most of the destruction is murky, taking place under the shadow of the super-massive spaceship. There’s nothing as striking as any comparable destruction scene in the original (and that’s twenty years old! If you needed reminding).
Destruction porn is nothing more than eye-candy if the characters don’t give you a reason to care about proceedings. ID:R gives us too many characters, both old and new, to concentrate on. The old characters feel like caricatures of themselves, puppets who mouth lines that are either exposition or cringeworthy sentiments (and a character that died in the last one comes back! He was only in a coma…). The new characters barely make an impact on the screen. To say that the new characters (or old, for that matter) are cardboard or generic is a compliment. They quip, attempt comedic lines that are nowhere near funny, but may as well be CGI’d for all the effort they put in. It’s hard to point out anyone as the worst, as they have all blended together in my head (and I only watch the film a few hours ago).
“I’m not saving the world…I’m saving you”
Having bland characters is bad, but giving them awful dialogue is bad enough. Whoever wrote the line “get ready for a close encounter, bitch” should never commit pen to paper again. In fact, whoever wrote the script should never commit pen to paper. The credits reveal that about five people had a hand in writing the screenplay, and it shows. It shows with the dialogue, and it shows with the shoestring plot. To make up for the lack of plot, we hurtle from place to place, from character to character, to sub-plot to sub-plot, so nothing makes sense. Characters are shoved in to scenes for no reason, and coincidence is the cause for most character interactions. Will Smith’s son, for example, just happens to fly past his mum onto of a building (saving a baby). There are so many extraneous scenes and sub-plots that you wonder if the screenwriters picked them at random. Why, for example, do we follow Levinson’s dad, as he escapes a tidal wave and rescues kids? What does he add to the plot? Absolutely nothing. The same can be said for about 60% of the film.
All of the above could be forgivable if the film entertained, on any basic level. But it is boring. Utterly, utterly boring. It feels like a film twice its length. I was begging for it to end by the halfway mark. It lacks heart, it lacks creativity, it lacks compelling characters, and most of all, it lacks a reason for its existence. It won’t be a big box office hit. It’s been poorly promoted. The time for a sequel passed over a decade ago. So why even think of producing a sequel? The real kick in the groin is the set up for another sequel at the end of the film. Granted, it sounds interesting, but any good will that the franchise name had has been erased by this abhorrent film. Avoid at all costs!
VERDICT: 2/10. An over-stuffed, unnecessary, and boring sequel that tests the patience less than halfway through its running time. A true abomination of film-making.
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Click here for a far better science fiction film starring Jeff Goldblum: The Fly (1986)