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George At 

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Independence Day: Resurgence

The absolute definition of an unnecessary sequel, the visually strong but intellectually bankrupt INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE is a sorry follow up to the original summer 1996 box office hit.

Will Smith wisely sat this one out, but Jeff Goldblum is back and provides the lone bright spot as David Levinson, the scientist who defeated the aliens in the original and has helped incorporate alien technology into everyday life.

The opening scenes of a Washington DC featuring futuristic travel and mass transit is interesting, but other than a couple speeches on the national mall that made me thing of "Hunger Games", the film shows little imagination with the technology.

Its 20 years later, the aliens are coming back in bigger ships, blah blah blah. In two decades, its hard to believe that Director Roland Emmerich hasn't thought of a more compelling reason to spend this much money and expect us to show up.

The story is filled with head scratching inconsistency. At the beginning of the film, former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) is nearly bed ridden, barely able to get around with a cane and acting crazy. 90 minutes later he's running across a runway and piloting a state of the art jet fighter. Huh?

They've built the sequel for a younger audience (that didn't show up) by building a "save the world" international cast of young pilots to lead the action. Liam Hemsworth is fine as the cocky pilot, Jessie Usher is one-note as Will Smith's son, now a fighter pilot leading our young team (wow nothing predictable there)

and Brent Spiner is back as wacky scientist Dr. Okun, still coasting seriously late on some "Data" goodwill with references to "sickbay" and the like.

The special effects are first rate, as you'd expect. The best line in the film is Goldblum noting "They always get the landmarks..." as Big Ben and half of London goes into the Thames in spectacular style.

For all the visual flash, you don't care about any of the characters enough to have any suspense around the outcome.

The story is so lazy that it manages to get Goldblum's father Julius (Judd Hirsch) in a school bus full of kids to drive across the country and somehow manage to arrive in the exact spot in the USA that we are having our final standoff against the alien force.

That didn't strike anyone as a massive coincidence? It's just lazy writing.

Moments of visual dazzle buried in mountains of trite and repetitive battles, this isn't so much of a resurgence as it is a regurgitation, which would have frankly been a much more appropriate title.

Humans 2, Aliens 0, movie-watchers 1-1.

The film tees up part 3 with a big bow on it. With only $102 million at the box office against a $165 million budget, part 2 better hope for some serious overseas ticket sales if the announced part 3 is to come out in 2018.

I'm going to cut my losses and miss that one.

IDR gets a D.

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