Cinema Cindy Reviews: ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’

By CYNTHIA BIDDLECOMB
Los Alamos

“Independence Day: Resurgence” is one of those films with too many characters, not enough backstory, taking place in too many locations around the world (and on the moon). As one gets lost trying to keep track of all that and translating the pseudo-science babble of the dialogue, it becomes necessary to suspend belief in finding any coherence—don’t try to make sense of it and you’ll do just fine.

Movie poster for ‘Independence Day’. Courtesy photo

The original Independence Day movie did well in 1996. The film was a huge success for its lead actor, Will Smith. In that original film, a race of aliens attacks the planet trying to suck the energy out of Earth’s core to feed their space ships. The peoples of the Earth eventually band together and fight off the invading swarms, surviving so we can have this sequel 20 years later. Sadly, Will Smith is not in this movie, his character having died in the intervening years. Jessie T. Usher plays his son, an ace pilot like his dad. His target?

Here we are 20 years after losing interest, being asked to invest in the brand again. “We always knew they were coming back,” says the studio. The alien swarm is returning. Earthlings must meet the new challenge and, again, save the planet.

While slowly building suspense for the eventual invasion, nearly the whole first half of the film tries to bring us up to date on all the original characters. The next generation characters, many of whom lost parents and families in the battles 20 years ago, are introduced as they prepare to take on the enemy.  

When the real action starts, it is all quite entertaining. But the story doesn’t easily hang together, even then. Was the Independence Day franchise revived to get the old characters back together? They include Judd Hirsch, Jeff Goldblum, Brent Spiner, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, and Bill Pullman. Or was it to have these folks build a platform for a new cast of heroes for future sequels? These younger ones include Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T. Usher, Maika Monroe, Angelababy, and Nicholas Wright. And, yes, in the end the planet is saved from the aliens so we can have more sequels.

What is great about this film are the models of known landmarks being crushed and blown off the map. Puppeteers animate believable, yet slimy, insect-like aliens. The 3,000-mile diameter mother ship, the technology the humans appropriated from the aliens after their last invasion, and a friendly alien visitor, are all pretty slick.

This is light summer entertainment. Just go for the ride. Don’t expect any of the science to make sense. And don’t bother bringing the little ones. This film is rated “PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and [mass] destruction, and for some language.” Anyone sensitive to such things should probably give this one a miss, as should anyone hoping for depth of meaning and cool insights into real science.

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