Movie Review: Independence Day: Resurgence
Belated sequel brings back much of the original cast but lacks in its own originality
Independence Day: Resurgence
Directed by Roland Emmerich
With Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, William Fichtner
Some 20 years ago, hostile aliens tried to invade the earth and were repelled by Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Will Smith.
Two of those three are back for Independence Day: Resurgence, an action packed if slightly unnecessary sequel to 1996's Independence Day.
Will Smith opted out of being in the sequel, as it would have been a father/son role in a sci-fi film. He tried that in After Earth, which was not a success. Just so he can't change his mind and pop in for the next sequel, the plot makes it clear he died in a flying accident shortly after the events of the first film.
While the original film took place in a world that closely resembled the reality of 1996, the sequel takes place on an alternative earth that bears almost no resemblance to the earth of 2016. Alien technology has been adapted so that people from earth can fly to the moon in minutes. New weapons exist and a satellite defense system circles the planet. All countries now live in peace together after having jointly fended off an extraterrestrial invasion. Chinese pilots fly side-by-side with American ones in a force called Earth Space Defense (ESD).
Many sequels take a bigger is better approach, and Independence Day: Resurgence leaves little breathing space between the giant action scenes.
Former President Thomas J. Whitmore (played again by Bill Pullman) is plagued by nightmares and visions, and has grown a long scruffy beard. He crashes the official 20th anniversary celebration of victory over the aliens to warn people the end is nigh.
It is an embarrassing scene for a moment, as nobody wants to be disrespectful to the president who saved the world but lost his mind. Luckily for him, his crazy sounding prediction quickly comes true and the crowd has to go running for cover.
While the ESD now has better weapons, as always when it comes to war, the army is prepared to fight the last war but not the next one.
The alien ship in the sequel is orders of magnitude bigger, and the fighters are fiercer. The same old tricks won't work a second time and the earthlings have to find a new weakness quickly.
Jeff Goldblum returns as David Levinson, and he has dedicated the past 20 years to researching the aliens. His work has taken him to Africa, where at the start of the film he is meeting with a warlord whose people have extensive experience fighting the aliens.
Another major character from the original is Brent Spiner as Dr. Brackish Okun. He has been in a coma since the last film, and suddenly wakes up as the aliens approach. Both he and ex-president Whitmore have a telepathic link with the aliens. Spiner provides a lot of the film's comic relief, as he is an absent minded professor but at the same times manages to provide some much needed insight.
Judd Hirsch also is back as as Julius Levinson, David Levinson's father. He provides the sort of embarrassment that only a well-meaning father can.
Robert Loggia, who died in December 2015, is back for one scene as former general William Grey. And the film is dedicated to his memory.
The sequel introduces several new character, the younger generation who will have to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to fighting. Liam Hemsworth, star of the Hunger Games series, takes on the egotistical hotshot pilot role. He is in a conflict with another pilot, played by Jessie Usher. It is one of those paint-by-numbers subplots. The pilots can't just all get along in the face of an alien attack. They need to squabble.
And we need some love stories. Ex-president Whtimore's daughter, played by horror film star Maika Monroe is also a pilot. For international audiences, Hong Kong pseudo-model and singer Angelbaby turns up as a Chinese pilot in the ESD, and has her own romantic subplot.
Overall, the film delivers as expected, but not much more than that.
Director Roland Emmerich gives us massive battles with the aliens on earth and in space. The pae is fast, with a fair blend of drama and comedy, and the scenes switch rapidly so there is never much chance to get bored with any one character.
But there are no real surprises. The originality of the first film is gone, and this seems to be people just going through the paces to save the world one more time.
Video on YouTube
Febiofest tickets go on sale by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
The biggest film festival in the Czech Republic starts March 23
Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
A new live action version from Disney clears up some plot points but takes few risks
Movie Review: Masaryk by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Biopic of the Czech politician is likely more meaningful for a local audience
Movie Review: Kong: Skull Island by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Bigger is necessarily better in this rather one-dimensional reboot of King Kong
Masaryk wins big at Czech Lions by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Český lev - Karel Roden with Ana Geislerova)
The biopic about the Czech politician took a record number of awards
Bulgarian Film Festival starts by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Films will be at Lucerna and Evropský dům cinemas
Movie Review: Logan by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
An aging Wolverine is at the heart of a surprisingly introspective action film
Amadeus returning to screens by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
The 1984 Miloš Forman film will play in a digital version
One World festival starts March 6 by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Human rights film festival is in its 19th year and still growing
Shockproof film festival starts at Aero by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Offbeat cult and horror films show cinema's underbelly
English and RUssian language driving school in Prague
Don’t miss out on historical low Czech mortgage rates!
First Cobbler's Prague Bakery Cup Cake Shop @ PALLADIUM!
Take a guided tour to Sapa, Prague’s “Little Vietnam”
Send cash around the world in minutes with no bank account...
Antiques, collectibles and more ...
Expats do you find the Prague real estate market...
It is great to be beautiful, yet it is even greater to be...