For the first time in years I find myself sitting on the fence with this one. Box office reviews overall pan Independence Day: Resurgence, which takes place twenty years after the events of the last movie. Film critics, who tend to view movies from an artistic lens and seek emotional thought-provoking story-telling, have been using such descriptions as “really bad,” “boring” and “the summer’s worst movie.” They might be a bit hasty. The first film was nothing more than an updated rendition of a science-fiction alien invasion film with the destruction of a number of historic landmarks, and wide-spread death and destruction, inspiring a variation-on-a-theme including Armageddon (1998) and Deep Impact (1998) and The Core (2003). The best part of the original was the chemistry of the wise-cracking Will Smith and scientist Jeff Goldblum. The sequel contains only half the fun of the original with overblown CGI that breaks the laws of physics that would be questioned by any fifth grader with an I.Q. higher than room temperature.
Many of the original cast reprise their roles in Resurgence, with fans questioning why Will Smith’s character of Captain Hiller was written out of the series, with rumors abound on Facebook and chat rooms. The real reason stems from Smith’s filming schedules. When it came down to choosing Suicide Squad or ID:2, he chose the former of the two. A wise decision on his part.
ID:2 contains one positive worth noting: added lore explaining why the aliens invaded the planet Earth in the first place, our advanced progress in technology as a result of space alien technology, and the potential for interplanetary travel. All of which leads into what can be quickly surmised as a build-up for a third movie. Sequels need to raise the bar but rarely does that happen. On paper ID:2 may have looked like a promising stock option, but on canvas the film is flat and two-dimensional. If you saw the first movie and go in with no expectations, you should be pleasantly entertained. Just don’t expect anything other than the same routine. Science-fiction should be intelligent — Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov taught us that. But director Robert Emmerich was recently quoted of saying superhero movies are “silly” so with his latest movie I expected better.
With China buying up much of Hollywood, the country, their products and their largest of corporations were featured prominently in disaster scenes. A number of fictional characters were also portrayed as Chinese. I fear this type of integration may handicap good storytelling, going forward, just as much as product placement.
In a weekend where box office projections suggest Finding Dory will generate $77 million to ID:2‘s $42 million, one has to wonder if the executive who green-lighted such a film script at 20th Century Fox is the same executive who green-lighted that terrible Fantastic Four movie last year. Earlier in the year Deadpool made a boat load of cash for the studio but they can thank Ryan Reynolds for that… he knew what the fanboys wanted. Executives don’t spend their afternoons at comic cons and make decisions based on product placement and investors. But then again, some executive did sit in an office one day and said, “You know what would make a kick ass movie? A tornado filled with sharks.”