Star Rating: 2.5/5
- Roland Emmerich – Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, Stargate
- Liam Hemsworth – The Last Song, The Expendables II, The Hunger Games I-III(ii), The Duel
- Maika Monroe – The Guest, It Follows, The 5th Wave, The Scent of Rain & Lightning
- Jessie T Usher – When The Game Stands Tall, Survivor’s Remorse, Almost Christmas
- Bill Pullman – Independence Day, The Grudge, Torchwood, The Equaliser, Brother In Laws
- Sela Ward – The Day After Tomorrow, The Stepfather, Gone Girl, Graves
- William Fichtner – Armageddon, The Dark Knight, Entourage, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, If
- Deobia Oparei – Thunderbirds, Your Highness, Pirates of the Caribbean IV, Game of Thrones
- Angela Yeung Wing – Hitman: Agent 47, Ferryman
- Jeff Goldblum – Independence Day, Jurassic Park I-III, Law & Order, Mortdecai, Thor III
- Judd Hirsch – Independence Day, A Beautiful Mind, Sharknado II, The Muppets, Wild Oats
- Chin Han – The Dark Knight, 2012, Contagion, Captain America II, Ghost In The ShellMusic Composer:
- Harald Kloser – The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 BC, 2012, White House Down, Discarnate
- Thomas Wander – 10,000 BC, 2012, White House Down
Twenty years ago, Director Roland Emmerich made the great disaster movie, Independence Day (ID1). Aliens came from space and blew up the White House. This was innovative and spectacular to watch as no-one had used CGI on such a scale before. Yet, that was in 1996. Could the same ideals that fuelled ID1 to success back then, have the same impact on viewers today?
Independence Day II (ID2) is basically the same film as ID1. The key differences are that this one starts in outer space. While there, humans learn that the aliens have awoken after twenty years in hibernation (or whatever aliens do whilst in a state of torpor). Now, the aliens are returning to destroy the Earth again (for reasons that are never explained).
Only, this time, the aliens have even larger spaceships and more powerful weapons than first time around. All the nations of the world, across all the continents, must unite and work together if they are to stand a chance of defending the human race from extinction.
Yes, ID2’s plot is as laughably corny as that. It is also entirely predictable. One can draw the arc of the film before going into this two hour-long action, Sci-fi, disaster fest. This is because: one, disaster movies tend to have (very) similar storylines; and, two, the plot for ID2 is an inconvenience to the special effects.
Ninety-plus percent of the film is special effects of one kind or another. Arguably, the most enjoyable part of ID2 is spotting from where Emmerich has gained his inspiration for the CGI. The aliens look remarkably similar to those from the Alien franchise and Prometheus; the space ship looks the same, just larger, than the one from ID1; and the destruction of the White House and London look like those same events in ID1, Deep Impact, Olympus Has Fallen, Thor II: The Dark World and London Has Fallen. Suffice to say the effects in ID2 do not look as innovative or inspire the same awe as they did in 1996. And that is despite the CGI being in a different league to what Emmerich had to work with twenty years ago.
Nevertheless, while watching ID2, one spends less time wondering about the contrast in the quality of the CGI, compared to the giant hole in ID2 known as the lack of Will Smith. Smith was the hero of the last film and ID2 does not feel right without him. (The reason for his absence differs depending upon the source: Smith claims he could not work on ID2 as he was already committed to Suicide Squad, which filmed at the same time; while the studio claims Smith asked for too much money and told him to get lost.) In Smith’s absence, Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T Usher and Maika Monroe decently fill the void without being anything remotely special. Yet, somehow, the three of them can’t quite capture Smith’s panache, and that is even with all the clichés that Emmerich has dumped into this unimaginative, by the numbers movie.
Over-all, ID2 is a standard, semi-enjoyable disaster movie. It tries to repeat what occurred in ID1, only on a gargantuan scale and with a plot that gets in the way of the CGI. All of this is done without Will Smith and the movie cannot get past it. Indeed, if anything, Smith’s absence emphasises how important he was to making ID1 so entertaining and successful in 1996. Without him, ID2 underlines how unoriginal and dull humans fighting (technologically superior, yet paradoxically primitive-minded) aliens has become.