Independence Day: Resurgence Parent Review
Clichés and poor effects-laden images unintentionally left me feeling more like laughing than running for cover.
If director Garry Marshall (the guy who created Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and countless more) were to make an action sci-fi it would look very much like Independence Day: Resurgence. Featuring characters too numerous to detail in this review, let alone develop in a two-hour movie, this sequel dances across the globe (and even makes a dash to the moon) in the opening minutes to introduce a platoon of interconnected people.
Since that fateful Independence Day in 1996, all of mankind has determined to work together in peace to defend the world from another extra-terrestrial attack. This effort has resulted in the development of a highly complex defense system that utilizes alien technologies secured from the past onslaught along with the latest in human ingenuity.
Within the first fifteen minutes the screenplay sets the stage for the least surprising moment in movie history: The arrival of the aliens. The puny little Earthlings quickly discover their fancy fission cannons and laser blasters are no match for the bigger, better and badder invaders from outer space.
Attempting to compensate for the obvious absence of Will Smith returning to play Captain Hiller, writer/director Roland Emmerich (who created the first film) introduces Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher) as the son of the ultimate little green man killer. As well, Emmerich places a variety of visual reminders of the past plot in the background of scenes, including a massive portrait of Smith’s character in the White House.
Other members of the “old boys club” include Jeff Goldblum reprising his role as alien expert Dr. Levinson and Judd Hirsch playing his pragmatic father. President Whitmore’s term in office expired long ago, but he and Dr. Brakish Okun (literally brought back to life by Bill Pullman and Brent Spiner) offer wisdom and unique insights to a younger generation about to come face-to-face with this old enemy.
The original Independence Day is often credited as setting a new template that dozens of other Hollywood movies would follow. Instead of renewing the genre, this follow-up veers dangerously close to becoming a spoof of its predecessor. Clichés and poor effects-laden images (like the nation’s capital being nearly bulldozed while the Stars and Stripes manages to stand firm) unintentionally left me feeling more like laughing than running for cover. The good news for parents concerned about violence is that there are few detailed depictions of injuries, despite thousands of implied deaths during air attacks, bomb blasts and flying debris. On the other hand, the aliens are graphically and ghoulishly portrayed, especially in sequences that show their demise complete with gallons of goo. The script also offers a generous collection of scatological terms, mild curses, Christian expletive and a crude finger gesture.
Much like waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, this film counts down to the space invaders’ attack, the planet’s demise and the push of big red buttons that unleash extraordinary explosions. (The aliens don’t seem to have the same fetish for counting backwards prior to every major event, providing them with a definite strategic advantage.) And, like those schmaltzy Garry Marshall films, frequent snippets of dialogue are devoted to sentimental exchanges between family members and romantic couples. It all makes for a corny, campy sci-fi chock full of American rhetoric (and some Chinese characters designed to increase its popularity in in that country too) that will play reasonably well to older kids, teens and adults looking for an action distraction on a hot summer day.Directed by Roland Emmerich . Starring Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie Usher. Running time: 120 minutes. Theatrical release June 24, 2016. Updated October 19, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Independence Day: Resurgence here.
Independence Day: Resurgence Parents Guide
According to the script, it has been twenty years since Earth was last attacked by aliens. How do the humans react when a new threat appears? Is their response justified? How do other scenes in the movie reinforce the idea of using violence to solve problems? Why are diplomatic measures never tried? How does the portrayal of the aliens as ugly monsters help to make their death and destruction acceptable?
How does the design of the aliens reflect what we, as typical humans, usually find repulsive? If you could create your scariest alien, what would it look like?
One of the characters remarks that the aliens “like to get the landmarks.” How often are prominent buildings and cities destroyed in sci-fi movies? Do the aliens ever strike obscure areas of the world? Why do you think this line was included in the script? How did this acknowledgment of the clichés of this genre make you feel about the movie? Do you take the screenplay more or less seriously? Is the coincidental date of the attack (July 4 –America’s Independence Day) another example of mocking the stereotypes, or is it a bid for patriotic sympathy?