The studio — 20th Century Fox — didn’t screen “Independence Day: Resurgence” for local critics. Usually, there are two reasons for that decision. The first is the film is going to make so much money at the box office that they don’t give a rip whether critics see it or not.
The second reason? The movie sucks. And in this case, it appears to me that reason No. 2 is the proper choice.
My sometimes-scathing criticism of this film is not unjustified. “Independence Day” is one of the best science fiction flicks ever. It’s fast, creative and funny. When it comes to the genre, many are as good but none are better.
And when the aliens blew up most of the cities of the world in that 15 or so minute montage, I was forever hooked. We’d seen nothing like it in special effects and wouldn’t until the Wachowskis did “The Matrix” a few years later.
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If I’m channel surfing — and this is always the case around the Independence Day holiday on July 4 — and I see the original film, I stop and watch it. Great movie.
“Independence Day: Resurgence “is a clone of the 1996 sci-fi classic. Clones — as we know from science fiction — look the same but there’s always something subtly wrong with them. In this case, the movie looks the same as 1996 and has almost exactly the same plot lines, characters and solutions.
That’s where my criticism heats up. Nothing original here at all. And worse, the characters are all cookie cutter clones of the first film.
Several from the original cast — like Will Smith — did not come back. Returning are Bill Pullman’s president, Jeff Goldblum’s scientist and Judd Hirsch as his nagging dad, Robert Loggia did a cameo just before he died and Vivica A. Fox plays the widow of Smith’s character Steven Hiller. Apparently, if Smith signed on, they were going to do a father and son thing.
Scheduling conflicts made him choose “Suicide Squad” over the sequel. Besides, he’d already experienced scathing criticism for “After Earth” that he made with his real-life son Jaden.
Not joining this turned out to be a good choice. A father-son partnership in this clunker would be received just about as badly. And Smith’s career isn’t exactly flying high these days.
Anyway, sans Smith and others, the aliens return 20 years later to A) extract revenge on humans that defeated them, and B) steal Earth’s molten core. The new cast has Liam Hemsworth (”The Hunger Games” flicks) as hot-dog pilot Jake Morrison. He’s ex-best buds with Hiller’s son Dylan, who is also a hot-dog pilot but not quite as much as his late father.
Morrison is engaged to ex-President Whitmore’s daughter Patricia. They are at the forefront — along with Goldblum’s David Levinson and Brent Spiner’s crazed Area 51 scientist who we thought long dead — of the battle to save the planet.
Want to know why this is a huge disappointment? Five screenwriters. Two of them — Nicolas Wright and James A. Woods — have small parts in the movie and are more or less beginners. But I don’t think they could have done anything to make this better. Badly written dialogue aside, the story has already been done. Nothing fresh could possibly be added.
As a director and writer Roland Emmerich has now destroyed the planet in several films. No one does it better. Unfortunately, after the original and “2012” and “The Day After Tomorrow,” he’s become predictable. Like the first film, Emmerich packs it with great effects, but effects can’t make a movie worthwhile. We’ve all seen fantastic effects — and probably too much — and we’ve all seen the original which ranks very high on a lot of favorite lists.
This one has no sense of humor, no sense of adventure and it makes no sense at all to do a reboot. Even worse — and said with a heavy sigh — Emmerich and his producing and writing partner Dean Devlin are planning a sequel to their sequel.
I was kind of hoping after this disaster we’d have our own independence from “Independence Day” and it’s sequels.
Independence Day: Resurgence
Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie T Usher, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Vivica A. Fox, Angela baby, Rain Lao, Charolette Gainsbourg, Nicolas Wright, Robert Loggia, James A. Woods
Mr. Movie rating: 1 star
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and violence. It’s playing at the Carmike 12, Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Queensgate 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.