It’s two decades after the events of Independence Day, and – uh-oh – it looks like the aliens are back to finish off Planet Earth in this effects-laden sci-fi blockbuster from original director Roland Emmerich.
In the intervening years, it seems humans have utilised leftover alien technology (check out the flashy guns, super-slim ‘copters and an outpost on the moon) and Goldblum’s Levinson has risen to the post of international alien expert, examining the debris and ship that those nasty extra-terrestrials left behind. Meanwhile the US has a female President (Sela Ward), former President Whitmore (Pullman) has developed a beard and PTSD, his daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe) has grown up to be combat flyer-turned White House speech writer and she’s engaged to a hotshot pilot named Jake (Hemsworth).
And what about Will Smith’s character Hiller from the first movie, you ask? Well, it looks like Emmerich couldn’t afford to get Smith back for the sequel so his character has been killed off during a test flight and his son Dylan (Jessie T Usher) is all grown up and flying fighter planes instead.
Much like the first movie, this mixes adventure with dazzling special effects, as more cities get pulverised (“they like to go for the landmarks,” muses Levinson as Tower Bridge and the London Eye topple into the Thames) while the American experts debate how to defeat the alien enemy (while it seems half the world has been squished by the giant spacecraft, only the Yanks seem to be doing anything about it). There are a few clunky moments – some leaden dialogue and the odd introduction of an African warlord who likes to kill ETs with his machetes – but in the main this sticks to the slick formula of the original, mixing in enjoyably daft bits (a school bus full of kids driving right into the battle zone, etc) with lots of battles and action.
Hemsworth makes a likeable, if somewhat forgettable, macho lead and the other young supporting cast are fine, but in the end the movie belongs to the old-timers like Pullman, Hirsch, William Fichtner, Brent Spiner and especially Goldblum, with his usual deadpan delivery. Go for the sci-fi effects and stay for his tongue-in-cheek performance as it’s a treat.
Is Independence Day: Resurgence suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This movie is aimed at adults and older children and is filled with scenes of characters in peril, explosions and battles (though no blood is shown).
In the latter part of the movie, we see the aliens up-close and younger children may find them frightening.