Review: ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ (you still wanted a sequel, right?)

Story matters. Well, maybe not to these guys…

It’s been twenty years since the War of 1996, when locust-like aliens tried to destroy humanity and claim the Earth’s resources for their own. Since defeating the invaders, Earth has reverse-engineered the alien tech and unified the planet into a global defense force…preparing for the day when the invaders might return. Faster than you can say “Happy Fourth of July,” Earth is again tasked to survive, and only the actors they could get back from the last movie can save us…along with a few new folks and some damnably convenient intel exactly when it’s needed. If you thought the first ID4 was crazy-random bringing characters together, you haven’t seen anything yet!

Too many cooks spoil the soup? Semester-long college classes could be held explaining how bad the science is in this movie, but hey, it’s just a summer wannabe blockbuster, right? If all you want are special effects and explosions, that’s all here, along with the mandatory back stories on how your favorite characters have been getting along since the last movie. So…what’s the problem? “Franchisitis.” When the next wave of aliens (with no actual innovation improving upon their existing technology) proceeds to show Earth how pointless twenty years of preparation was, the writers press the deus ex machina button to create the solution of all solutions…if they can just survive long enough to use it! Ugh.

It’s pretty. It sounds good. The actors all look like they’re enjoying themselves…but the film’s biggest moments seem to fall flat. Take the new super-duper mega alien ship — so large it can straddle the entire Atlantic ocean and parts of Europe — and yet there seems to be no emotional concern during or afterward due to the fact that a billion people may have died. Aliens still haven’t figured out they should lock their attackers when unoccupied, and energy shields only seem to work when someone actual mentions (or remembers) they have energy shields. Once the action gets going, viewers are bombarded with imagery, but unlike the original film, the story simply doesn’t gel, not to mention the unmentionable mcguffin — a literal plot device so ridiculous it can’t be forgiven, especially as it ties up the end of the film to set up one or more future installments.

Again, if you’re looking for mindless effects and entertainment, it works. Unfortunately, the film instead attempted to tell a story, perhaps out of respect for the original film. There are so many plots holes, obvious questions, and other logic fails that it actually hurts one’s brain, but you can’t say it’s boring. Okay, fine, if you do manage to get another sequel, PLEASE have a better, more coherent story ready to go; when Battleship makes more sense, you have a serious problem.

(a two skull recommendation out of four)

One comment

  1. […] Let’s talk frankly, shall we? Transformers isn’t difficult: Decepticons make energon cubes by stealing Earth resources while plotting to return to Cybertron… and the Autobots arrive to kick their ass — repeat. From the first so-so Transformers movie to the unwatchable sequel and the Transformers 3: the Apology, it’s clear that director Michael Bay really likes money and mayhem. After Shia LaBeouf declared he was no longer famous, Mark Wahlberg phoned in a performance and started calling himself Cade for some reason. Is it still okay for Michael Bay to shoot from the hip, shooting script be damned, and try to make something watchable out of tens of millions of dollars worth of special effects in the editing room? The first victims of this fiasco are the artists, designers, and computer graphics folks who work their asses off trying to make crap look good; the greatest advantage of getting hundred million dollar budgets is having the best of everything at your fingertips… even if all you’re going to do is squander it. The second victims are everyone buying a ticket to this at all or ever unless you need a nice place for a two-hour and thirty-minute nap. Lastly is everyone who backed this turkey; wasn’t it clear early on how dismal and disjointed this was becoming? Endless callbacks from the previous films are reminders of everything endured to get here; afterward are scenes of awkward meetings, weak standoffs, throwaway introductions, and general meandering; worse yet, the movie runs at two speeds: urgent or now-do-we-kiss? Let it be known: T5 is this summer’s Independence Day: Resurgence. […]

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