Independence Day: Resurgence worse than expected

There’s little to like about Independence Day: Resurgence. The sequel to the 20-year-old science fiction blockbuster Independence Day has more plot holes than a sieve. The dialogue is worthy of a c-grade movie. The acting is passable at best. There are no comic moments that actually contain comedy. I didn’t expect the script to be good, but I also didn’t expect it to be pathetic either. Even the special effects, which you would imagine would be vastly superior after 20 years, seem at times on par with an episode of Doctor Who from the 1980s.

The same aliens are back to avenge their first round loss, joining most of the human cast from the first 1998 Independence Day movie. Jeff Goldblum plays David Levinson, now a scientist and the Director of Earth Space Defense (ESD). His father Julius (Judd Hirsch) returns, and the mad, hippy scientist Dr. Okun, played by Brent Spiner, is still a mad, hippy scientist. He wakes from a 20-year coma, right on time to witness the second invasion. No one bothered to cut his hair while he lay in a coma, so he now has more hair than he knows what to do with. Bill Pulman is now an ex-president with a limp, and Sela Ward is a new female president without one.

Director Roland Emmerich throws in some new faces too: Liam Hemsworth (Jake Morrison) and Jessie Usher (Dylan Hiller) are pilots with history and attitude. Dylan is the stepson of Captain Steven Hiller, Will Smith’s character from the first movie. As you would expect, they really hate each other but may work through their differences later and become friends.

There are a lot of other characters, but most them barely receive as much air time as the dog from the first movie. You don’t care about anyone. In fact, a lot of them are extremely annoying. Jeff Goldbulm’s meetings with his father should have been witty and moving, but ends up silly and contrived. The effects sequences are complex, messy and unconvincing (even for a science fiction disaster movie).

There are so many coincidences it makes your head spin. The introduction of a second alien species should have added more depth and interest, but merely provides an opportunity for the screenwriters to add additional unconvincing dialogue. When the second invasion happens, Earth’s new space defense system lasts less than a second. Soon after, the combined resources of Earth’s military simply send wave upon wave of fighter jets as if this is the best approach. They don’t bother trying unmanned missiles, or drones, or anything else for that matter. It has to be human pilots.

Independence Day: Resurgence is disappointing, dumb and disrespectful to the science fiction genre. Don’t bother.

Review overview
Story
1 %
Effects
15 %
Acting
25 %
Production
6 %
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Reading John Christopher's The Tripods and Arthur C. Clarke's The City and the Stars started John on his science fiction journey at a young age. He has read way too many science fiction novels and owns an absurd number of electronic devices he never has time to use. John founded the Galactic Brain website. You can read John's short stories here. He's currently finishing his first science fiction novel and lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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