As the Fourth of July nears, satellite engineer David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) investigates a 3,000-mile-wide mother ship that’s approaching Earth. Fortunately, 20 years earlier, nations across the world started to use recovered extraterrestrial technology to develop an immense defense program. When the alien invaders attack with unprecedented force, the U.S. president, teams of scientists and brave fighter pilots, Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher) and Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), spring into action to save the planet from a seemingly invincible enemy.
It doesn’t always happen when a sequel is made for a film that is 20 years old. This is the case here with Independence Day: Resurgence. I will say that I don’t remember too much about the original Independence Day because I was 6 years old when it was originally released. I was particularly curious about what this film would look like after all this time and I kind of wanted to go back to this world. Those are the main reasons why it is on my list of most anticipated films of 2016.
Where does a sequel go when it’s been 20 years since the previous film? It has to have a story that kind of explains all of this time. Very early on, it felt like there should have been another film between the original and this one in order to explain a lot of the things going on so there was definitely a lot of acceptance here. Things just felt a little rushed which shouldn’t be the case since they had 20 years to prepare. This was all just a little weird but that’s okay. It was nice to see some of the characters from the original even though some have aged better than others. The two big ones here were David Levinson (Goldblum) and now former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman).
Because of the 20 year gap, we see them in much different positions with little explanation for how they are where they are (again don’t remember much from the original). Levinson is the leader of the Earth Space Defense (ESD) and Whitmore has become frail and suffers from visions of alien symbols ever since his encounter with the aliens. With the 20 year anniversary of the infamous battle on the horizon, Whitmore fears that the aliens will come back and of course they do which is not really a spoiler.
In the meantime, the film followed a series of fighter pilots named Dylan Hiller (Usher), who is the son of Will Smith’s character from Independence Day, Steven Hiller, and Jake Morrison (Hemsworth). For Dylan Hiller, being Steven Hiller’s son has given him quite a reputation, and Morrison is another polarizing pilot whose parents died in the previous alien attack. Morrison did not really have a backstory and a relationship was implied between him, Hiller, and Whitmore’s daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe) who gave up being a pilot to take care of her father. Other than these aspects, there wasn’t really much to any of these characters, making them feel rather one-dimensional. Maybe the next inevitable film will answer some of these questions but this doesn’t quite make up for this.
The only real interesting character here was Levinson and perhaps Whitmore. Levison was definitely fun and compelling to watch because of Goldblum. He was as an alien expert so he was heavily relied on to figure out what was going on by learning about these aliens and how to stop them. He had his moments, bringing a lot of personality and eccentricity to the role while also bringing some hilarity at times, either alone or in interchanges with his father Julius (Judd Hirsch) who also returned from the original. He was funny but the real comic relief here was another returning character, Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner), who did a great job at bringing the silliness.
When you’re watching all the action and special effects on screen, do you ever really wonder about the story? Without giving anything away, there wasn’t much of a story here with the humans caught between races of aliens. This is an Independence Day film but there wasn’t really anything new here plot-wise as this type of plot has appeared in plenty of other sci-fi films. From the story, to the action, or the special effects, the point is that the film does not offer anything new whatsoever as we have all seen these in some form in plenty other films. It’s not the worst thing since they were all well done here but none of it was particularly memorable.
Overall, while a complete rehash of other sci-fi, action films, there is still some mindless fun to be had here thanks to a great performance by Goldblum.