ReelBob: ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’

By Bob Bloom

“Independence Day: Resurgence” is more of the same, only bigger, louder ­— and dumber.

The movie feels like a comfortable pair of old slippers, just more wore-torn and tattered.

It has been 20 years since an alien race of scavengers nearly decimated Earth and destroyed most of mankind. Now, an old alien distress signal has been detected and more of the buggers are on their way to finish the job — they hope.

Since the initial invasion, a now-united Earth has enhanced its defenses by integrating technology from downed alien ships.

However, nothing prepares the planet for the massive mother ship — 3,000 miles long — that settles over the planet. It’s so big that it has its own gravity field — as the film’s special-effects department graphically and delightfully showcases.

The movie is obscenely overblown and gleefully destructive, but in a rather sanitized manner that obscures what should be the horror of such a calamity.

“Independence Day: Resurgence” adheres to a strict road map of clichés in plotline and characters.

We have Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), the cocky, breaking-the-rules fighter; the brave and stalwart ace, Dylan Hiller (Jessie Usher), son of the late, famed pilot Capt. Steven Hiller (Will Smith from the first film, not returning here); and the courageous and young Pat Whitmore (Maika Monroe), daughter of former President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman) who, along with Jeff Goldblum’s David Levinson, are among the returning players.

The film follows a course that regurgitates situations and dialogue meant to stir memories of the original in order to deflect from the sequel’s deficiencies.

Much of the dialogue sounds as if it could be ballooned-captioned from a comic book — it’s basic exposition and, at times, needlessly redundant when viewing the action on the screen.

The movie seems to borrow from many other science-fiction outings, such as “Ender’s Game,” “Alien” and “Starship Troopers.”

Despite all the so-called high drama, you know how this is all going to shake out. Cities crumble, millions die, heroes emerge from unlikely places, all racing toward a cliffhanger-like finale that, despite the best efforts of director Roland Emmerich and a cadre of writers, fails to create any suspense.

The ending aims to take this franchise in a new direction, hinting at another sequel that may go above and beyond what we already have experienced.

If need be, I’m in no rush for it. Take your time, Hollywood; I can wait another 20 or more years. By then, perhaps your storytelling skills will have evolved.

Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at ReelBob (reelbob.com) and Rottentomatoes (www.rottentomatoes.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at bobbloomjc@gmail.com or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom.

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
1½ stars out of 4
(PG-13), science-fiction violence, destruction and action, language

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