Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Liam Hemsworth, Bill Pullman, William Fichtner, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, Jessie T. Usher, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Vivica A. Fox, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Patrick St. Esprit, Travis Tope Deobia Oparei, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Chin Han, Grace Huang, AngelaBaby, Garrett Wareing, Mckenna Grace.
Directors: Roland Emmerich
Screenplay: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, James A. Woods, Nicolas Wright, & James Vanderbilt.
It has the spectacle, the monologues, the aliens, orphans, and heroes; all that is missing is the heart, the charisma, the development, the empathy, and the connection with the audience from its 20 year old predecessor. Independence Day: Resurgence is a parody of the original that I really didn't see coming.
It opens with President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) waking from a nightmare of his powerful speech he preached 20 years ago. That speech has become iconic, it remains powerful so it makes sense for this movie to open with it. Sadly it sets up this film for failure. Already it is resting its hope for the audience to connect with this film by using nostalgia rather than allowing the movie to win us over through its own story.
Next it introduces us to the new generation of heroes for us to follow, meeting Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher), son of the late Captain Hiller (Will Smith), and Patricia Whitmore (Maika Monroe), daughter of President Whitmore. They have been handed the torch from the previous generation... however this movie spends more time in developing Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth) who is a brand new character to the franchise so really what is the point of having these characters in the first place except once again move the audience with nostalgia.
So the aliens have come back to finish the job they tried to do 20 years ago. However earth has also been preparing for a new attack. On the 4th of July, earth is celebrating the alien's defeat with President Lanford (Sela Ward) at the helm of the celebration. Of course this is the day the aliens choose to come back and attack earth, and of course this being the best day for patriotism earth will defeat the aliens on the same day they choose to attack (all within daylight hours, impressive).
This is a very pretty film for the most part (except when they struggle to match the light of the CG background and actors in the foreground), the effects are very impressive, and Jeff Goldblum once again fills the screen the only way Goldblum can.
However the rest of the film is so lacklustre nothing can save it from being anything but ridiculous. It is like the whole team forgot what made the original so great; character. No matter how cliche the characters were in the original at least they were able to not only participate organically within the plot but actually went through character development. It felt like they always had something to lose if they couldn't protect the earth from the aliens. In the original this task was not easy, this task needed the speeches, the sacrifices, the minds of the characters to get earth through this attack to maybe see another day. Resurgence has forgotten all of this, has forgotten why those speeches work, and why these characters made sense within the narrative—what their role was.
It is a shame they thought they needed to make this new film, because really this could have stayed as a 'what if' on a subreddit board for the internet to theorise what a second film could add to the story. Instead we are left with this hilarious mess of a movie that forgot its roots and only made the icing for a missing cake.