Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Length: 120 minutes
Age Appropriate For: 12+. This sequel to the ‘90s action movie is more of the same, but less original or fun this time. Some occasional cursing; various violence, including a fistfight, lots of destruction in space and on Earth, causing millions of people to die, and gunfire against aliens on the ground and a gigantic queen; some kissing and sexually themed humor; and some gross-out moments when the slimy, dying aliens crawl out of their body armor.
Why is ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ even happening? This totally uncreative cash grab copies much of the original ‘90s action film but with practically no fun—an almost irredeemable waste.
By Roxana Hadadi
As far as blockbusters go, “Independence Day” is one for the ages. The ‘90s action movie had so many silly elements that worked well together—Jeff Goldblum at the height of his off-center appeal, Will Smith yelling “Welcome to Earf!” and the White House blowing up—that it will be remembered for decades to come as peak summer storytelling. Its wholly unnecessary sequel, “Independence Day: Resurgence,” will not fall within that category. It will fall within nothing.
You will forget “Resurgence” as you’re watching it, and by the time you leave the theater, you’ll wonder why you’re there at all. “Did I even see a movie?” you’ll wonder. “Where did my $20 go? Why do I have these IMAX 3D glasses? Where was I for the last two hours?” Your questions will continue, but there is no answer for “Independence Day: Resurgence.” There is no point to any of it.
“Resurgence” picks up 20 years after the events of its predecessor. Since the humans defeated the aliens, they’ve adapted much of their technology, using it for guns and weapons (of course) and also things like high-speed helicopters and trains and gigantic floating monitors. There haven’t been any wars on the planet since the alien invasion because humans are so committed to rebuilding, and of course the effort is led by the United States, because we’re No. 1!
But things aren’t perfect. Former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman, of “Lola Versus”) is plagued by visions of some kind of circle with a horizontal line in the middle of it, a doodle he keeps drawing over and over again. His daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe, of “The 5th Wave”) is a celebrated pilot, but she took a job as a speechwriter for the current president to help take care of her father. David Levinson (Goldblum, of “The Switch”), who helped Whitmore save the world, is now working with the United Nations, investigating any upticks in alien activity. And on a defense station on the Moon, Patricia’s fiancé Jake (Liam Hemsworth, of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2”) stews in his rivalry against Dylan (Jessie T. Usher, of “When the Game Stands Tall”), the son of Will Smith’s character from the first film, who is now a big-deal in an international flying force.
As all these characters are working to defend the world, things go amiss. Out of nowhere arrives an alien spaceship that looks just like what Whitmore and others who made contact with the aliens in the first film are seeing in their visions. Then, just when the humans think they have won, comes another spaceship—this time 3,000 miles across, far larger than what Earth had faced before—with an alien queen inside. She’s looking for something, she thinks it’s on Earth, and she wants revenge for the events of 20 years ago.
“They’re hunting us,” someone notes, but that’s not necessarily true. The aliens are there to destroy.
And how that destruction happens, and how Earth comes together to fight it, is pretty much the exact same thing that happened in “Independence Day.” What is new here? Hemsworth and Usher lack any kind of the charismatic zaniness that Smith brought to his role as Earth’s hero. Goldblum gets nicely weird, but he’s going through the motions. Cities are destroyed and millions of people die, but the two young characters in love banter about their search for nice real estate instead of seeming actually affected by anything that’s going on. And there’s a plot twist that is so ridiculous that you’ll resent the screenwriters’ profound laziness.
Everyone is so curiously unfazed by what is going on that they seem practically uninterested, and that lack of investment rubs off on the audience, too. It doesn’t help that the visuals are shrug-worthy, the 3D is unnecessary, and the conclusion leaves open the possibility of more equally dumb sequels. No one in “Independence Day: Resurgence” really seems to care about what’s happening. Why should we?
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