The blockbuster arms race officially goes into nuclear meltdown with this insanely OTT sequel to the hugely enjoyable, already-ludicrous-enough 1996 alien invasion smash. Never a man to shy away from a world-ending special effect – remember that tidal wave cresting Everest in ‘2012’? – director Roland Emmerich is trying really hard to outdo himself here. So hard that he ends up painted into a corner, with no recourse but to throw everything at the screen and hope that some of it sticks.
So instead of the city-sized ships that terrorised Earth in the first movie, there is one massive mothership more than 3,000 miles across, spanning the entire Atlantic ocean. And instead of an Earth resistance force led by plucky jet pilots, humans have taken the alien technology and developed their own super-speed X-wing style dogfighters. And instead of a ranting, dire-warning Jeff Goldblum... well, he was already larger than life.
Weirdly, the only thing not extra-huge is the running time – and that’s where the problems arise. ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ is crammed with pornographic destruction and madcap action, not to mention almost all the characters from the first movie (minus Will Smith) plus a heap of new ones – and it’s only two hours long. So it’s goodbye to proper character development and the slow-build tension that made the first film such a thrill, and hello to exposition delivered at double speed and a cop-out ending that makes absolutely no sense.
Which isn’t to say ‘Resurgence’ can’t be a lot of fun in short bursts. Emmerich’s glee is infectious as he trashes Big Ben but leaves the rebuilt White House standing, and there are few things on earth cooler than Jeff Goldblum exasperatedly explaining how doomed humanity is, again. But it’s all too much too fast, and the cumulative effect is like watching a two-hour trailer – more dizzying than thrilling.