Directed by Roland Emmerich.
2016. Rated PG-13, 129 minutes.
Jessie T. Usher
I know, I know. It's predictable for the movie blogger to review the latest movie about America's independence on America's actual Independence Day. Believe me, that wasn't my intention. This entire review is not my fault...
I said I wasn't going to pay to see this.
You see...what had happened was...well...okay...let's start at the beginning.
Mrs. Dell and I snuck away for a rare breakfast for two and made plans to go to the movies later in the day. Initially, our two daughters were included in that plan. Since we both knew that they would likely decline to go, we decided we would go without them if that were the case. My oldest daughter is at the age where she would rather die than be seen in a public place where, God forbid, her friends might see her having a good time with her parents. Of course, restaurants are exempt from her shame so long as that's the only place we're going. My younger daughter is less likely to go out if her sister isn't going. Teenagers, hmph. Anyhoo, they decided they weren't going so now we had to decide what to see.
I lobbied hard for Finding Dory. Seriously. Mrs. Dell isn't feeling the idea of that movie. She pushed for The Legend of Tarzan, but I vetoed that shit. My next candidate was The Purge: Election Year. She smacked that one down. She sort of suggested Free State of Jones, but changed her mind. I threw out Central Intelligence, not because I really want to see it, but Mrs. Dell loves The Rock and likes Kevin Hart well enough. Mind you, even though this wasn't the first movie I mentioned, this is the movie I figured we'd be seeing all along. It's the most Mrs. Dell movie of anything currently in theaters. Shockingly, she turned it down. At the same time, she had been looking at local movie times on her phone during this conversation. And she saw Independence Day: Resurgence. Rather than play movie ping pong for the rest of the day, I said "Okay, fine." That, ladies and gentlemen, is how I found myself walking into a theater to see the sequel to a twenty year old movie.
Just in case you've been in a cryogenic induced coma for the last two decades, the original Independence Day featured countries around the world banding together, led by America of course, to stop an alien species from destroying our beloved planet. In the process, Bill Pullman gives the most rousing patriotic speech in the history of cinema, Jeff Goldblum Goldblums it up, and Will Smith completes his transformation from Grammy award winning rapper to biggest movie star in the world.
And he was smart enough to stay out of this movie.
In the twenty years since that first film we're told the world unity caused by that attack is so strong there haven't been any armed conflicts since. Any surviving aliens have been held captive in Area 51. Everyone in the world knows exactly where it is, for some reason. Meanwhile, we've used whatever alien technology we could get our hands on to help us create some really cool shit. The helicopter without propellers is my personal favorite. We get introduced to our major players in that Roland Emmerich way. They include Captain Dylan Hiller (Usher), the son of the Will Smith character from the first movie. He's like the most famous pilot EVAH since his dad, or something like that. Since he has exactly zero of the charm and charisma of his father, and because the other guy is Thor's brother, we spend most of our time with Jake (Hemsworth), a hot-headed pilot mostly known for not following orders and once almost accidentally killing Cpt. Hiller. We also meet Patricia Whitmore (Monroe), daughter of President Whitmore who is now a crazy old man. Finally, there's Dikembe Umbutu (Oparei), a warlord from the Congo whose dad was killed during the first alien invasion. He rolls with a bunch of dudes who pack some serious alien heat. By the way, I'm guessing they didn't get the memo in Africa about no armed conflict. I'm sure race had nothing to do with it. Fucking Hollywood.
None of the other cast under the age of forty matters. That just leaves us with a bunch of holdovers from the first movie including Whitmore (Pullman), David (Goldblum) and Julius Levinson (Hirsch), Dr. Brakish Okun (Spiner) who actually has been in a coma since the conclusion of the first film, but wakes up shortly into this one, and Jasmine (Fox) who actually did strip her way through school as she no longer shakes her ass for cash and is now a hospital administrator. Yup, I'm rolling my eyes hard as hell on that one. We'll also throw in Elizabeth Lanford (Ward). She's not a holdover, but she is the current President of the United States.
Wait...that's entirely too much information for a movie like this. I can write this summary in one sentence.
The aliens from the first movie are coming back to Earth, and they are pissed.
There, that's much better.
Once again, stuff blows up real good. That about sums up the rest of it.
If you need any further details, it seems our alien invaders are much like a hive of bees and the queen is coming to get her workers. As you might imagine, or have gathered if you've seen the trailer, she is about the size of Godzilla. Everything about this movie is a shameless attempt at being bigger than its predecessor. As if we needed to be told, not only is the queen oversized, but her ship is said to be three thousand miles in diameter. That would cover the entire state of Delaware with almost six hundred square miles to spare. Talk about overkill. We also get a carload of kids about halfway through which eventually becomes a school bus full of kids. And a dog. Can't forget that damn dog.
Everything that happens here is one hundred percent predictable and ridiculous. Most people are completely superfluous. All those kids? They mean zilch, other than to needlessly put a bunch of kids directly in harm's way. By the way, the most ridiculous part of that is our alien queen not being able to hit or step on said school bus in a wide open area with no obstacles between them even though it's mostly driving in a straight line. Yeah. We also keep going back to a boat load of guys trying to lay claim to a buried treasure just because. And in a 2016 even more technologically advanced than the one we're really living in, everyone can get their hands on a thirty year old boom box, and/or transmitter, pretty damn easily.
Then there's this guy...
No, no, not the guy dead center with the scraggly beard. This guy...
Yup, this guy...
See that bewildered look on his face? That's pretty constant. His name is Agent Travis (Akinnagbe). He is the worst Secret Service Agent in cinematic history, bar none. He has one job. One fucking job. That job? Keep track of the former president who is hobbling around on a cane. He fails at this so often and so spectacularly I'm positive he couldn't even get a gig working among the geniuses who mucked everything up at Jurassic World. Add his...um...brilliance...to the African warlord on a planet that's achieved world peace, the fate of Mama Hiller (especially in light of the fact Julius should have suffered a similar fate), a heaping helping of Asian stereotypes, and I'm still sure race has nothing to do with anything. It's all just coincidental. Fucking Hollywood.
To be fair, it's not just Travis who is stupid. This whole movie is dumb. DUMB. As Mrs. Dell and I were walking through the parking lot back to our car I was thinking I was being too hard on it. At that moment, I had an outer body experience. I heard a voice saying, no screaming, "It's like they just said let's put a bunch of cute kids in it, who cares if they have a back story, they're cute kids. Then they just added a bunch of explosions. Oh my GAWD! That was terrible!" Okay, so I wasn't having an outer body experience. It was the patriarch of the family that was seated a few rows in front of us who wasn't too pleased with what he just saw. Though I agree wholeheartedly that this is a terrible movie, I can't say that I hated watching it. The train wreck factor is high on this one. Independence Day: Resurgence is so horrible you can't look away from it. On top of that everything goes boom and we get lots of incredibly lame attempts at humor. Some of it is even funny. There are also plenty of unintentional laughs. This might be the worst movie of 2016, but it manages to be highly entertaining. That's what I was thinking while Other Dude was raging against the Emmerich machine. My next thought was I was damn jealous of the dude. He got his kids to go to the movies with him.