Director Roland Emmerich's return to the world he created with 1996's Independence Day was never going to make for a brilliant, life-altering film. Nor is that what Independence Day: Resurgence is meant to be. No, this is a quintessential get-out-of-the-heat, mindless summer popcorn-chomper. As such, the film's greatest sin isn't that it's stupid – it's that it's entirely inert and uninspired.
The plot's muddled and – as with many sequels – often a retread of the “greatest hits” from the original, which inevitably leads to diminishing returns. Things shift between characters too quickly for us to invest it any of them, and it often feels like the script is simply checking off tired tropes from a list: “Flight school nemeses must work together,” check. “Heroic self-sacrifice,” check. “Fiancé in peril,” check to that many times over. “Parent/chid in peril,” check, check, check… President being presidential, sure.
There are big declarations of bravado, massive sequences featuring the demolishing of landmarks, giant tidal waves, and pithy one-liners served up. In other words, exactly what you may have expected to see from an Independence Day sequel in 1997. The trouble is, it's 20 years later, and all of it falls flat.
Independence Day: Resurgence is stuck in time and out-of-date. We've seen these same sorts of images far too many times to be awed by them. They leave one restless rather than exhilarated. It's thematically stale, technically well-achieved, but by no means innovative, and full of jokes that are painfully out of step with contemporary tastes. Though the cast is charming for the most part, there are no star-making turns here à la Will Smith. There's simply nothing about ID4: Resurgence that's effective for a modern audience. Though some die-hard fans of the original may enjoy this re-tread, for most it'll just be a deadly dull and less vivid replica.
In the video above or below, Roth Cornet gives a quick minute and a half review of this celebration of freedom via violence to invaders from space.
Take a look and let us know what you think here or on Twitter.
Note: Though I make a joke about Netflix, you can actually watch the original Independence Day on Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, or HBOGo.