Well here it is, after twenty years we have a sequel. Most of the original cast have returned with several new characters to spice up the story. Now that the alien threat has been neutralized, the human race feels it is acceptable to use the alien tech to beef up their defenses and proclaim themselves master of their domain. The Earth Space Defense (ESD) is born. However, their sense of security is rudely shaken when the alien invaders return to finish the job that their predecessors failed to do, but this time their alien queen has hitched a ride with them. I guess what the director Roland Emmerich is trying to convey is this: DON’T PISS OFF MOTHER!!!!!!!!
Just like in the first film, the invaders arrive in a very dramatic fashion, almost destroying the planet in the process. The special effects in doing this event is pretty badass. When the dust settles, there is gigantic alien ship that has nearly wrapped itself around the planet. The message in this sequel is “go big or go home!!” Jeff Golblum reprises his role as the heroic cable repairman David Levinson. He now works for the U.S. government as the Director of the ESD, and uncovers more terrifying secrets about the old but new invaders. Without Will Smith’s character Steven Hiller trying to save the world, they choose to use his son, Dylan Hiller to take up the mantle of hero in this one. I guess continuing the family business and making Dylan an ESD (Earth Space Defense) pilot makes sense, but anybody who has seen the original can see that Dylan has had drastic plastic surgery. Jessie Usher who plays Dylan does a pretty good job, but given the cheesy and corny dialogue in the script, his acting talents is grossly limited. Another character’s drastic plastic surgery change is the daughter of the former POTUS, Patricia Whitmore. Played by Maika Monroe, her character now works for the current POTUS, President Elizabeth Lanford. When we last saw the First Daughter, who was played by Mae Whitman in the first film, she was a small child, and only known as “the munchkin”, a given pet name by her late mom and former First Lady, Marilyn Whitmore. Now she is all grown up and in love with an ESD pilot, played by Liam Hemsworth, Jake Morrison. I can go on running down the list of actors that share the screen in this film, but that will take forever. All I can say about this ensemble cast is that they work their butts off trying to recapture the humor, drama, and the heroic actions that the first film successfully accomplished.
Just like any sequel, the director feels the pressure of successfully surpassing the original and continuing the story without sacrificing any of the magic that the first film gave us. Roland Emmerich did deliver great special effects and new twists in the old plot, but he unfortunately mirrored a lot of the same scenes from the original and moved things around to make it look different. The idea of the alien invaders in having a queen is fine, but it feels like this concept has been used so many times that it is difficult to find any uniqueness to it. In this film, the queen is telepathically linked to her subordinates, kind of like a hive mind. Roland takes inspiration from the Aliens and Star Trek franchise where the alien menace live and serve in a matriarchal society only to serve the queen. The director also impresses upon us that the Mother Queen should be three times larger to show her power and strength. Throughout the film we learn much more about these alien invaders and their nefarious agenda, but it feels more like an X-Files episode where conspiracy theories and paranoia take center stage. He also throws in another curve ball in a shape of an out-worldly ally that resembles a female talking ball of circuits. It wouldn’t be a science fiction fantasy movie without a glimmer of hope that the humans desperately cling onto in order to defeat the overpowering, nasty, evil, invaders. Watching this film, I left my brain in a jar at home in order to effectively enjoy something that really doesn’t require to use any brain cells to laugh, be mesmerized by the special effects, and to watch these characters foolishly perform rather idiotic heroic acts and use cheesy and corny dialogue to explain their actions.
It’s a popcorn film, which means the director’s main focus is to give us a film that pleases our senses like sight and sound, in the hope that we leave the theater feeling overstuffed with big explosions, crazy over the top special effects with a weak plotline that a child can understand. Believe it or not, I liked it. I went into the theater knowing that this film will not deliver any high quality dialogue and strong performances like in Captain America Civil War and Xmen Apocalypse, but it delivered the right amount of enjoyment for me to like it.
The first film was great. It delivered spectacular special effects that we hadn’t seen. The aliens were great looking and the actions scenes were great. It put Will Smith on the A-List of action stars and it had a great ensemble cast. I left that theater feeling extremely patriotic and wanted to kick some alien ass. Twenty years later, the magic is struggling to survive in the sequel. There is just enough magic to deliver a summer action film that qualifies as decent, but I wouldn’t spend anything over thirteen dollars to watch it. Maybe wait until a matinee or hold off until it comes out in DVD.
I give this film three movie stubs out of five.