At the movies: “Independence Day Resurgence 3D” |

At the movies: “Independence Day Resurgence 3D”

Lisa Miller
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
This image released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Liam Hemsworth as Jake Morrison in a scene from "Independence Day: Resurgence." (Claudette Barius/Twentieth Century Fox via AP)
AP | Twentieth Century Fox


* * (C)

Directed By Roland Emmerich

Starring Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Jessie Usher, Sela Ward

Fox, Rated PG-13, Sci-Fi, Action, 120 minutes

With its heroic score, this “Independence Day” sequel is big, noisy and bursting at the seams. Though it invites you to gawk at its stupendous special effects, the overflowing cast is another matter.

Because Earth is once again invaded by the same extraterrestrials, the story is close to that of the original “Independence Day.” Made 20 years after the first chapter’s release and set in the present day, this second installment ups the ante with larger alien ships and creatures. Director Roland Emmerich cowrote, slightly expanding on his alien mythology (likely he will continue to do so in the planned threequel).

Arriving through a wormhole, an alien ship, 3,000 miles in diameter, settles above the Atlantic ocean. Having studied the craft left by aliens last time, Earth unites behind a fleet of advanced fighter jets capable of operating in outer space and within our atmosphere. However, the alien’s technology far outstrips ours, allowing them to decimate our fighting fleet and deter our unmanned missles, with the ease of smashing a child’s toy.

Once again, it falls to a group of plucky individuals to outsmart, outplay, and get lucky, in their efforts to protect our planet.

Since Will Smith wanted $50 million dollars to reprise his role, other returnees are featured in his stead. Jeff Goldblum is back as David Levinson, an MIT-educated computer expert, who determines why Earth attracts alien attention. Alas, Goldblum’s signature talent for repartee remains largely untapped. A few snappy one-liners go to Judd Hirsch, playing David’s father, the author of an opportunistic best seller entitled, “How I Saved The World.”

Bill Pullman returns as ex U.S. President Thomas J. Whitmore, whose recurring, disorienting visions leave him virtually homebound. Also returning is Brent Spiner as Dr. Brakish Okun, awakened, after 20 years in a coma, by the aliens’ return. Sporting chest length, salt and pepper waves, Okun, like President Whitmore, is psychically connected to the aliens.

Present day, U.S. President Elizabeth Lanford (Sela Ward), is written as one tough cookie and savvy political animal. Other new characters include Liam Hemsworth, competing for recognition as top dog fighter pilot with Dylan (Jessie Usher), the stepson of Will Smith’s character.

A sprawling cast of other supporting players, each with a half dozen lines and barely drawn motivations, are lost in the clutter.

We endure 90 minutes of sophomoric dialog and lackluster character development in exchange for 30 minutes of jaw-dropping action. Terrific special effects crave a good story to prop them up. Perhaps that’s why “Finding Dory” did $73 million during its second weekend out while this sequel took in just $41.5 million during its opening weekend.

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