Considering sequels have been the Hollywood norm for many years now, it’s surprising it took this long for a follow-up to Roland Emmerich’s 1996 hit Independence Day.
Let’s just get this out of the way first: if you’re expecting some deep, intellectual and cheese-free story, then you clearly don’t know the popcorn film genius that is Emmerich, and will likely ruin the fun for everyone else. However, if like me you love watching big explosions, creepy CGI aliens and Americans kicking ass, then you’ve come to the right place.
Independence Day: Resurgence is set 20 years after the 1996 battle against the aliens, where Earth is faced with a new threat and the possibility that their weapons aren’t enough to win this time.
Setting up the franchise for a whole new generation, the film sees Hollywood’s hottest young stars fighting side by side with the returning OG cast including Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Brent Spiner. Chief among the newbies is Liam Hemsworth, who plays pilot Jake Morrison, Jessie T. Usher, who plays Dylan Hiller, the son of Will Smith’s character from the first film, and Maika Monroe, who plays Patricia Whitmore, the daughter of the former President. Fresh faced and eager to save the world, these three leads spend plenty of time battling the big bads, while occasionally taking time out to reflect on the effects of the 1996 battle (Hemsworth’s character was orphaned after the aliens attacked while Usher’s character lost his father to an explosion).
Goldblum’s David Levinson is still doing what he does best: showing just how much smarter he is than the general population, while Pullman’s former President Whitmore is looking worse for wear, suffering from nightmares and out of the public eye. However, stealing many scenes and bringing plenty of laughs is Spiner’s Dr. Brackish Okun, who is just as mad and fun as ever. I won’t spoil the particulars around his character’s appearance, but you’ll be glad he’s back.
Now let’s break down what you really came for: giant ass aliens, explosions and destruction. No one does disaster movies better than Emmerich, who is back in his element with bigger set pieces and impressive special effects. The mother alien is a particularly frightening sight, and you’ll no doubt be at the edge of your seat as our heroic humans scramble to outsmart her. I have to give major props to the CGI team who worked on creating the mothership — as unnecessarily large as it is, it’s damn impressive and looks even more awesome from the inside.
For a fun few hours of entertainment, you certainly can’t go wrong with this one.