Independence Day: Resurgence
- Kevin Harley
- 22 June 2016
Belated alien invasion sequel that takes things up a notch for better and worse
Twenty years after Independence Day stoked blockbusters’ appetite for destruction with a fusillade of alien invasion and disaster movie ballistics, director Roland Emmerich’s taste for excess both heightens and hobbles the follow-up. Forced to find new ways of shrieking, Emmerich goes for broke, giggling at his own daft outing’s expense on his merrily self-aware way. But he leaves little room for clarity or involvement; when you’re wondering exactly which major landmark is crashing into which, it’s hard to care.
It opens neatly in a well-imagined alternate reality, where humans have pimped Earth’s defences using alien tech pilfered in 1996. Yet the original film’s tension is an early casualty of overcrowding and predictability. Shuttled on a natty spacecraft between Roswell and a moon base, ensemble stars old (Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Brent Spiner; but not Will Smith) and new (Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Jessie T Usher) struggle gamely to make an impact despite being bit players in a second alien stand-off. When the extraterrestrial threat looms into view it registers flatly, more inevitable irritant than terrifying foe.
The fun starts when a 3,000-mile uber-spaceship wrecks Earth’s gravity, deposits Asia on London and then, in one of Emmerich’s more coherent images, straddles the Atlantic malignantly. The director assumes old-school showman duties from here, keeping a molten-core of goofy action cooking. Aerial dogfights, alien prison breakouts and spaceship interior battles zoom by; elsewhere, a new species adds mystery.
You’re never bored, just bludgeoned. The dialogue thuds like the final act’s Cloverfield-esque alien queen’s outsized feet; piecemeal plot chunks, meanwhile, slam together like tumbling masonry. As the narrative lumbers to its threequel-teasing climax, Resurgence resembles an over-egged, under-formed prelude more than the desired main event. It entertains, often relentlessly, yet rains rubble on audience engagement.
General release from Thu 23 Jun.