In 1996 Independence Day became one of the year’s biggest movies. An escapist sci-fi epic about pesky aliens determined to destroy Earth, it was a mindless blockbuster in the classic Hollywood tradition. A more commercially-minded variation of the 1950’s alien invasion films, it raked in buckets of cash.
It should surprise no-one that a sequel was made. That it took twenty years to materialise speaks volumes of the often slow process of Tinsletown’s infamous development hell. The result is fair nonsense in the familiar popcorn variety fashion.
Biding their time for revenge, an evil alien race is intent on destroying Earth once more. Facing a planet using technology borrowed from their last encounter, the aliens face a group of humans ready for battle. Amongst the humans are scientist David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) and fighter pilot Jake (Liam Hemsworth). standing for their world against a wicked galactic force, humanity fights back for honour and freedom.
Independence Day: Resurgence is pure fantastical fluff. You can’t take it too seriously as spaceships whiz around a terrified Earth. The film exists purely as a vehicle to show off the amazing CGI and to increase a cinema’s noise level. Both leave more of an impression than the acting and script, which are both mediocre. You expect that for this type of mindless blockbuster, with director Roland Emmerich an old hand at these sorts of puff pieces.
The biggest reason why Independence Day: Resurgence is largely forgettable is the uninteresting characters. Apart from Goldblum and Pullman, none are memorable. Most of the characters live in a charisma-free zone, unlike the first film. The sequel is just going through the motions. The mechanics of commercial film-making are often in view. If you go along for the silly ride then it works although Shakespeare has no reason to fear that its script writers will be stealing his mantle.
An escapist yarn only Hollywood could make, Independence Day: Resurgence is very predictable but fun. It’s fair-to-middling without being great although viewers should remember to collect their brains, which they leave at the door when seeing this expensive but mindless piffle.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 5