The original “Independence Day ” was released in 1996, following a hugely successful teaser campaign, most notably the destruction of the White House screened during the Super Bowl commercial break.
The film was huge, silly but enjoyable and the ultimate popcorn event movie. Why has it taken so long to produce a sequel, no doubt director Roland Emmerich could elaborate further.
Hopefully lack of a decent script or story was not reason, otherwise maybe they should have waited another twenty years?
Will Smith decided not to return which initially seemed foolhardy as he is in need of a hit movie but in retrospect, may well prove sound judgement.
Following the events of the first movie Earth has seen the error of it’s ways. Humankind is now working together with the benefit of alien technology, to prepare for any future attack. When we see the whole world acting as one, we realise this is definitely in Sc-Fi territory.
“Jake Morrison” (Liam Hemsworth) is tootling around on the moon with his buddy “Charlie” (Travis Tope), doing heroic stuff as required. Jake’s current squeeze “Patricia Whitmore”(Maika Monroe), happens to be the Ex-president’s (Bill Pullman ) daughter .
When faced with a possible threat, the new President Lanford (Sela Ward) makes certain decisions that may prove to be somewhat pre-emptive, ensuring all hell breaks loose.
Meanwhile and to ensure we have all bases covered, we have a beautiful Chinese fighter pilot and “Dylan Hiller” (Jessie T. Usher) the son of Will Smith’s character. As luck would have it, Dylan bears a grudge against Jake for nearly killing him in a previous mission.
Back to the older guys, both Ex-President Whitmore and Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner) get serious screen time, after being portrayed as faltering old crazed folks before suddenly becoming “normal” again.
In another earlier story strand, we are also re-introduced to “David Levinson” (Jeff Goldblum) who is visiting a strange “Apocalypse Now” like compound where every stereotype appears to be on view and reinforced. Warrior son “Dikembe Umbutu” (Deobia Oparei), pencil pushing yet nascent gun toting killing machine “Floyd Rosenberg” (Nicolas Wright) and previous flame “Catherine Marceaux” (Charlotte Gainsbourg).
The film even manages to drag in Levinson’s screen father (Judd Hirsch) in a sub plot that frankly defies belief.
As you would expect the effects are huge or “yuge” but most can be seen in the trailer and represent more of a CGI “show reel”. Effects should be used to help tell the story, not be the story, even in event movies such as these.
The film quite fastidiously mines and exploits every single movie cliché, with a dog in peril being arguably the most subtle. Young bucks sparring, flag waving patriotism, plot twists that make no sense, supposed poignant moments not earned and mass destruction of millions barely commented upon.
I would imagine anyone returning for this instalment will have many thousands of reasons for doing so, all with Benjamin Franklin’s head on them. None involved leave with any credit, all concerned must have known the movie was a train wreck.
However, a $389m return on a $165m budget does prove you can fool at least some of the people, some of the time.
A truly terrible mindless and empty movie, with paper thin characterisations representing a waste of talent, money and your time.
The film is devoid of any discernible merit apart from tacking on a teased third instalment.
Please no, make it stop