Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Independent from Attempt

Director: Roland Emmerich
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie Usher, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Travis Tope, Vivicia A. Fox

There's a good reason Independence Day is fondly remembered 20 years after its release. It has no allusions about itself, simply wishing to deliver big action fun for viewers, along with moments which stick in your mind, such as the famed destruction of the White House. At the core of it all, one could feel Roland Emmerich trying to deliver a great picture, which leaves one wondering where that drive has gone after 20 years.

Two decades after a failed invasion attempt from alien forces, the Earth has learnt from this experience and utilised the alien technology to become a stronger, more advanced human race. When a massive spacecraft attacks the moon's Space Defense Station, it becomes clear to David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) that another invasion attempt is occurring. Former President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) wants to help however he can, holding a psychic connection with the alien's queen, while his daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe) wants to ensure her father is kept safe. Meanwhile, Patricia's fiancee and pilot Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth) has to put his differences aside with his leader, Dylan Hiller (Jessie Usher), to lead a retaliation mission. Also, Julius Levinson (Judd Hirsch, for some reason) attempts to make his way back to his son.

One half-expects Roland Emmerich to endeavour towards delivering a quality follow-up to the biggest hit of his career. To say this doesn't happen is over-estimating things, as it implies anybody working on this shiftless attempt to generate revenue were doing something resembling trying. From directing to the acting, and especially the screenwriting, effort appears to be a non-existent commodity here.

Writer/director Roland Emmerich and the four other screenwriters seem to be in agreement, deciding the best approach here is to throw so much at the screen, in the hopes something will stick. What seems to have been overlooked is the result, which is messy enough to resemble the end-result of a child throwing various toys at their older brothers model kit, as opposed to any kind of fun.

For the purposes of a sequel, of course it must be conveyed how much of a bigger threat these invading beings are, compared to the last one. But surely, there must of been better ways to get this across than constant repeating of how the mothership is bigger than the last one. Bizzarely, there's also an inherent need to over-explain everything, from who characters are, to whether Jeff Goldblum hung up on another character, and even Charlotte Gainsbourgh gets gravity explained to her.

As good as it is to see Jeff Goldblum return to the role, one wonders if his stiff nature is intentional, due to the inadequate script. Bill Pullman's performance is overshadowed by a shaggy beard and lacking attempts to deliver another stirring speech. Liam Hemsworth adds little to the picture, putting a blank performance into a character which seems to be the result a discount Young Action Hero generator (complete with urinating action!). Maika Monroe is left defined as the presidents daughter and a fiancee, rarely getting the chance to feel like her own character, while Jessie Usher goes all out in portraying Will Smith's on-screen son, as his performance resembles the wooden nature of Jaden Smith.

It would have been beneficial for half the characters to have been cut entirely. Judd Hirsch gets his own subplot which is a waste of time, while Vivicia A. Fox serves as no more than expendable motivation. It's a shame Brent Spiner actually has some purpose to the plot, due to his irritating performance, which is more of an excuse than Travis Tope's infuriating sidekick has. What was even the point of Nicolas Wright's accountant?

Independence Day: Resurgence is exactly the reason people are cautious about sequels in general. A big budget blockbuster with no effort put into it, Roland Emmerich has given audiences 2016's Pixels, or Transformers: Age of Extinction, carrying just as much worthlessness to celluloid.