Here's a look at the new movie I saw this week.
Independence Day: Resurgence
Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Jessie T. Usher, Maika Monroe, and Liam Hemsworth
Synopsis: In 1996, Will Smith established himself as a movie star in “Independence Day.” The film, from director Roland Emmerich, centered on an alien invasion repelled by the President (Bill Pullman), a fighter pilot (Smith) and a UFO nut (Randy Quaid). It was a simple enough concept, and it hit big. Emmerich pulled the right strings in building the story, which saw the White House and New York City among the landmarks destroyed in the blockbuster. It drew audiences, and even 20 years later remains an action movie staple — and a personal favorite for me. In the following years Emmerich went on to destroy the world in a variety of other films, while Smith was, for a time, the biggest movie star around. Now both are looking for a career rebound — but only one returned to make a follow up to “Independence Day.” As I mentioned, I was a fan of the original film. “Independence Day” — though not a deep film – is a fun film. It’s one of the best of its genre and is among my personal favorites, as it is for many who saw it. So it was natural to be excited and curious to see where this sequel would go. About 15 minutes into the movie I couldn’t escape the thought that the movie should never have been made. It’s a mildly passable summer action film, but when holding up as a continuation of this film franchise, it pales in comparison. Having seen the film, it’s easy to see why Smith would have passed. The story is overly simple and slow to develop. It’s also lacking the charm, character, personality and pop that made “Independence Day” work. Even Goldblum, who was good in the original, feels like he has trouble settling into character. The special effects are OK, but there isn’t much story to work with here. Many of the familiar characters are back — at least for a little while — but no one is given much to do. In addition the young characters are badly underdeveloped, which sucks some of the emotional punch from the third act. There was an opportunity here to do something interesting in revisiting this story. I remain convinced there was a sequel story that could have worked. “Independence Day: Resurgence” isn’t that film. It’s a giant waste of talent and an incredible missed opportunity. If you’re nostalgic to see the story, just find a projector and watch the original projected off the side of a building. Skip the sequel, you’ll only be disappointed.
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci - fi action and destruction, and for some language.
Verdict: One star out of four.