Director: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe
Full disclaimer: I have not seen the original ‘Independencd Day’s from 1996. But, to be honest, I think having that movie in mind would make this one even worse.
‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ stars old favorites such as Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman as well as some young and new faces in the franchise such as Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe and Jessie T. Usher. The plot surrounds an alien invasion of Earth, and with this being a sequel, the humans learned from last time, taking alien technology and weaponising it. Sounds American already doesn’t it? That’s about it for plot. No, really, that’s it. It’s a dumb alien explosion movie that is just as mindless as you would expect. What did you want, ‘Citizen Kane’?
There’s definitely a lot of problems surrounding this movie. For one, there’s some significant casting changes. Will Smith is absent, and whether he turned this down to scheduling conflicts or to preference of another project is irrelevant; he would’ve been just as disappointing as everything else. Maika Monroe also replaces Mae Whitman as Bill Pullman’s daughter. There’s some speculation that this has to do with “body image” rather than actual acting talent, but again, Mae Whitman is better off without this blot on her filmography.
Every single actor in the movie is bland. They are the equivalent of cafeteria slop. They have no energy, no flavor, no differing facial expressions. Jeff Goldblum fluctuates between surprised and confused, and though he does it well, it’s not enough to save this. Bill Pullman is just over-the-top and hilarious, but not in a good way hilarious – maybe laughable is a better word. All of the other actors look like they just got out of a history lecture on fashion of the 1600s. They look bored and uninterested; The mentality of actors who think that the name alone makes a movie good. Spoiler: good filmmaking makes a movie good.
Roland Emmerich as a director has a specific niche, and anything outside of it is atrocious to watch. Emmerich can competently handle CG explosions and decent action sequences. The first half of the movie, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was indeed halfway through the movie, even though it had felt like only 30 minutes. So props to the director for pacing, consistent tone, and handling CG explosions. That’s about it for directorial pros. The script is meandering and features about five too many subplots. Judd Hirsch is given too much screen time, as well as Charlotte Gainsbourg. Judd Hirsch simply acts as a nostalgia device and then as a segue into a really dumb subplot involving a group of kids, while Gainsbourg is basically “romantic interest #382”. Characters like Brent Spiner’s goofy scientist and Deobia Oparel’s badass African warlord are given too little to do and such thinly written dialogue that they come off as boring, even though they’re probably the coolest characters in the film. The unnecessary comic relief that also happens to be played by one of the many writers of this lazy script is present; he’s terrible.
On a happier note, the movie does work in one area – it does provide mindless fun. I sat through the movie and chuckled to myself about some of the really dumb things, and then was simultaneously entertained by how much the film lazily strived to do so. I went in expecting one of the worst films ever, and did not get that. I got a sub-par film about big aliens. If you go in expecting a mediocre movie or worse, you will be satisfied. If you go in expecting anything charismatic, energetic, requiring real acting ability, or not starring Liam Hemsworth’s awful acting (that is in EVERY MOVIE HE IS IN), then you will be incredibly disappointed. If you love the original and are worried that this film will ruin the first one, just don’t watch this one.
On a serious note, the film opens with a goddamn dream sequence. And then cuts to Bill Pullman screaming. I laughed my ass off, because from right then, I knew what was going to go down.
On an actual serious note, kudos for the movie having a woman president. I know that’s a hot-topic issue right now, and don’t read into the politics of that statement, it’s just the way the movie shows that it wants to be progressive. That, and not killing the black guy first; Normally, it’s a black guy, but they changed that to an Asian guy…and then a black guy. But by that point, I wasn’t really paying that much close attention anymore.