Year Released: 2016
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Maika Monroe, Jessie T. Usher
(PG-13, 119 min.)
Genre: Action and Adventure, Science Fiction and Fantasy
“That's... definitely bigger than the last one.” David Levinson
It’s a somewhat decent popcorn movie, but it isn’t the extra butter deluxe item we remember from 20 years ago.
Instead, Independence Day: Resurgence is just one of many safe Hollywood warmed-over prequels, sequels, remakes, and comic book franchises to grace our theaters this summer. Some of them are pretty good, such as the latest Captain America, and a few even top the originals, such as this year’s The Jungle Book. Finding Dora (94% Rotten Tomatoes) seems to have pleased critics almost as much as Finding Nemo (99 % Rotten Tomatoes) did in 2003.
Yet even the best of these lose something by relying on true and tested formulas instead of risking a new and creative idea. And as more than one critic has pointed out, this “new take” on the 20 year-old Independence Day franchise isn’t really very new at all. Most of the old plot lines are revisited. Maybe they were hoping a new generation of viewers, just like the film’s second generation of young bucks defending us, would not have seen the original.
And as much as Will Smith has lost his personal and professional sparkle recently, his cigar-stomping, swashbuckling swagger is sorely missed here. Yes, his stepson lives on to fight the good fight, but Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher) seems a wet behind the ears novice, only reluctantly joining the struggle.
Liam Hemsworth, Thor’s real life younger brother, also lacks the “it” factor his sibling has.
And his romance with ailing ex-President Whilmore’s daughter, Patricia (Maika Monroe) is lukewarm at best. They are engaged, I believe, and seem to enjoy their tepid long distance Skype relationship. I’m looking for some John Wayne / Maureen O’Hara fireworks here and all I get is tame high tech / low watt electricity.
Even the talented Jeff Goldblum, reprising his role as Dr. David Levinson, seems to be phoning it in. He’s about as apathetic and depressed as those guys advertising the plethora of anti-depressants on TV. Maybe he’s wondering why he has to rehash so many of his clichéd lines from 1996:
What goes up must come down.
They like to get the landmarks.
I've had years to get us ready. We never had a chance.
Perhaps this continued reworking of old material is behind the 20% slump in the movie market. The reason this steady customer at the metroplex is opting for Netflix more and more often.
Audiences are manipulated by the slick summer features that more often than not are filmed in 3D, really marketing tools to up the admission prices. We are herded into the repackaged “blockbusters” in the summer, and then expected to swoon over the artistic Oscar bait in the late fall. Oscar bait that has morphed into hectoring politically correct lectures rather than entertainment in recent years.
Come on, Hollywood. Get out of your safe space and dare again. It might surprise you…and us.
The new Independence Day film has a decidedly global perspective; it even includes a moon station with a Chinese director, but its center is still the good US of A. So, let’s stick to our original Fourth of July roots and toast the occasion and the film with this colorful cocktail featuring some great Bacardi Mixers.
Red, White, and Blue Cocktail
◦ 2 cans of frozen BACARDI® Mixers Piña Colada mix
◦ 1 can of frozen BACARDI® Mixers Strawberry Daiquiri mix
◦ 1 1/2 cups of BACARDI® Rum
◦ Blue Curaçao or blue food coloring
◦ 15 cups of ice
◦ Strawberries for garnish
◦ Blend together 1 can of BACARDI® Mixers Piña Colada mix, 1/2 cup of BACARDI® Rum and 5 cups of ice for 45 to 60 seconds or until uniform. Add 7-10 drops of blue food coloring or Blue Curaçao to taste. Blend and fill each cocktail glass 1/3 of the way full.
◦ Repeat step #1 using BACARDI® Mixers Piña Colada. (Without food coloring.)
◦ Repeat step #2 using BACARDI® Mixers Strawberry Daiquiri.
Garnish with strawberries and serve immediately or freeze and serve for a tasty treat!