I enjoyed the goofy, funny, balls-out alien-invasion movie that was Independence Day. The film was dumber than a stoned golden retriever in a Harvard calculus class, but Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Randy Quaid made the grandiose stupidity fun.
Twenty years after the original, Independence Day: Resurgence has finally arrived, sans Smith (who probably didn’t think the check was big enough) and Quaid (who has gone even more bonkers than his deeply disturbed Independence Day character). While the original was a stupid blast, the sequel is the equivalent of a nasty two-hour alien fart.
Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Brent Spiner return for alien nonsense that is fast-paced, yet dull and utterly devoid of laughs. It’s evident within the first 10 minutes that the movie will somehow manage to be lethargic, even though the editing is frantic, and lots of things are exploding. Returning director Roland Emmerich is clearly not on his disaster-epic game.
In the wake of that 1996 invasion, those of us on Earth have stolen some alien technology and built a weapons-defense system on the moon. The queen alien (an entity basically stolen from James Cameron’s Aliens) sees Pullman’s President Whitmore rallying the troops during the original invasion on her DIRECTV or whatever, and gets pissed off. She heads for Earth, where President Lanford (Sela Ward) and all other Earthlings are going to pay dearly for the time Will Smith sucker-punched an alien in the face.
Pullman’s Whitmore, now adorned with a David Letterman retirement beard, is having visions of the next invasion in his sleep. Meanwhile, Goldblum’s David Levinson is traveling the Earth as some sort of watchdog for peace. (Actually, I am not quite sure what Goldblum’s character was doing, other than acting very much like Jeff Goldblum when the alien shit hit the fan.)
Smith’s character has been killed off, replaced by his character’s son, Dylan (Jessie T. Usher). Liam Hemsworth, aka King Dullard, shows up as a reckless pilot relegated to moon duty, while Maika Monroe of It Follows fame plays his earthbound, fighter-pilot fiancée, who also happens to the daughter of former President Whitmore. So, you see, everybody ties together in a lame, unoriginal, inexpensive sort of way.
Turns out Spiner’s Dr. Brakish Okun didn’t die in the first flick; he just wound up in a coma, from which he wakes up 20 years later. He’s supposed to provide the film’s comic relief, but he basically just runs around yelling and smiling a lot. He probably would’ve done the movie a favor by staying asleep.
Judd Hirsch tries to pick up the comedic slack by reprising his role as Goldblum’s dad, and this time, he’s saddled with a bunch of ragtag kids in what seems like a subplot for another movie … or perhaps a failed pilot on the Syfy Channel? Judd and the Apocalypse Kids: A kooky grandpa takes a bunch of orphaned kids on a school bus trip, where they learn about life, love and aliens!
Taking over as president, Sela Ward has a sole purpose in this movie: ordering useless military strikes with dramatically overacted conviction. (Her last line is a howler.) Pullman’s Whitmore eventually snaps out of his mad stupor to get a shave, throw aside his cane (apparently that beard was really slowing him down) and fly a plane into an alien ship’s butthole, like everybody does in Independence Day movies.
Let it be said that Randy Quaid managed to fly a fighter plane into an alien ship’s butthole with far more aplomb than Pullman. If anybody can make flying into an alien ship’s butthole a lackluster affair, it would be Bill Pullman.
The film delivers a big “We’re gonna have a sequel!” line at the end, but let’s all join hands and go to the movie with the bikini girl and the shark instead, and slaughter that particular prophecy. No more fighter jet-excursions up alien ship rectums are required. Over and done with!
Independence Day: Resurgence is playing in a variety of formats at theaters across the valley.