In the original “Independence Day,” an alien ship hovered over Washington, D.C., and shot a laser beam at the White House, blowing America’s greatest symbol of democracy to smithereens.
Watching “Independence Day: Resurgence,” you hope someone would do the same thing to your brain. This thoroughly stupid and criminally dull sequel — which wasn’t screened in advance for critics, and it’s immediately evident why — again pits alien forces against the human race, and the five credited screenwriters almost immediately begin making script spaghetti out of what should be a relatively straightforward plotline.
After 20 conflict-free years, Earth is again visited by alien forces, who park a giant ship in the sky, covering most of the planet in its shadow. The extraterrestrials’ plan is to rob the planet of its life by drilling into earth’s molten core, because that’s where the good stuff is, and it’s up to a bunch of people from the first film to stop them. (Except Will Smith, who — like you — has better things to do than bother with this sequel.)
Remember President Whitmore’s (Bill Pullman) “today we celebrate our Independence Day!” speech from the first movie? Good, because it’s the first thing we see on screen, and anytime “ID2” backs itself into a narrative corner, a character pops up and mentions either 1996 or “20 years ago” to remind you of the first film. It’s like the movie comes with its own built-in drinking game.
Director Roland Emmerich, who enjoys destroying Earth on screen as much as Martin Scorsese likes casting Leonardo DiCaprio, doesn’t have any new tricks up his sleeve here; Jeff Goldblum’s character even makes a quip about falling landmarks as he swoops through London’s Tower Bridge in the middle of a battle scene. (Yes, it gets crumbled.)
The first “Independence Day” was no masterpiece, but it was an entertaining rah-rah summer popcorn spectacle. “Resurgence” can’t muster a single rah. When the world is this boring, the aliens can have it.