June 23, 2016
The first "Independence Day" (1996) was a sci-fi alien-invasion disaster film which was also the #1 film of 1996. It presently still remains to be among the 60 biggest box-office hits of all time. It won an Oscar for its Visual Effects, the most memorable of which was the explosive destruction of the White House by a beam from gigantic spaceship hovering above it.
While the effects of ID 1 were really spectacular by 90s standards, I honestly did not really like the film's paper-thin plot and one-dimensional characters portrayed by a cast led by Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman. Anyhow, 20 long years later, filmmakers decide to resurrect this film's storyline and produce a sequel which was in essence a rehash of the same paper-thin plot (but with updated technology) and one-dimensional characters (only older or their next generation).
In 1996, 20 years ago, the defeated alien forces were able to send a distress signal to their home planet to send for reinforcements. In 2016, 20 years hence, even as the people of the earth had already united to form an international space defense corp, bigger and stronger alien forces once again threatened the earth with total annihilation by sucking out the very inner core of our planet.
Characters from the first film still living now, like ex-President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman), computer expert David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), his father Julius (Judd Hirsch), and the nerdy researcher Dr. Brackish Okun (Brent Spiner) gear up to face the resurgent alien threat. The younger generation of fighter pilots are represented by Dylan Hiller (son of Capt. Steven Hiller - Will Smith's character in the first film, played by Jessie T. Usher), Patricia Whitmore (daughter of the ex-president, played by Maika Monroe) and Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth).
The visual effects in this new film are not really as groundbreaking anymore for this day's standards, as they were back then in the first film. Destruction of world landmarks have been done many times over in various films since then. Several action sequences have the feel of amusement game rides, such as we saw in the Transformers, Spider-Man and Harry Potter rides in Universal Studios. I was still impressed though with the sequence showing the destruction of Singapore (you can see the Marina Bay Sands) and the Petronas Towers were dumped on Tower Bridge in London, but that is just one extended scene.
As directed by the original director Roland Emmerich, it felt like it was still the 90s when you are watching this film given its throwback style of choreographed action and corny humor (care of Spiner, Goldblum and Hirsch). The aerial jet fights echoed "Star Wars" in its execution. The pacing tended to be leaden in the build up. The climactic fight with the Alien Queen had the all the breaks obviously favoring the human heroes. Neither Usher nor Hemsworth could match Will Smith's charisma. It was disappointing that the 20 years that passed for this sequel to come out did not really improve at all on the original. 5/10.