Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 2016. Centropolis Entertainment, Stereo D, TSG Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Story by Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods, Screenplay by Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods, Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, James Vanderbilt, based on characters created by Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich. Cinematography by Markus Forderer. Produced by Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser. Music by Harald Kloser, Thomas Wanker. Production Design by Barry Chusid. Costume Design by Lisy Christl. Film Editing by Adam Wolfe.
It has been twenty years since all the nicest buildings in the world were squashed by an alien invasion, after which the surviving humans became one unified planet that learned to benefit from the technologies that were brought by the newcomers. On the day of celebration commemorating this victory and the peace that followed, a strange object from outer space arrives without any obvious message and, nervous that it might be a weapon, American president Sela Ward orders it destroyed. It is then followed by a mother ship way bigger than the last one, which digs into the surface of the earth killing thousands and destroying pretty much all the same parts of the world that it ruined last time (way to go Australia!) Jet pilots Chris Hemsworth, Travis Tope and Jessie T. Usher (as the son of Will Smith’s character from the first film) go as far as the moon fighting the bad guys, Jeff Goldblum travels with scientist Charlotte Gainsbourg to Africa to investigate the relationship between a warlord’s community and the alien spaceship that crash landed nearby, Goldblum’s dad Judd Hirsch is traveling across America with some orphaned kids, Brent Spiner comes out of a coma and discovers the meaning behind alien technology that the government is in possession of, Maika Monroe is worried about boyfriend Hemsworth while looking after her now paranoid and nutty father who used to be president Bill Pullman, and a crew of grave-robbing sailors are tasked with monitoring the alien drilling of the earth’s core that could destroy life on the planet for good. All these plates are impressively kept spinning throughout this delightful science-fiction sequel to the mega-hit original, with gorgeous production design and effective use of computer graphic imagery contributing to a wholly invigorating visual style while the bouncy editing keeps it moving at a brisk pace. Spreading the narrative out so thin across so many characters also means that few of them have any depth or impact, so while the film is always amusing it is rarely deeply exciting or scary. It’s great, easy fun though, basically a remake of the original that takes advantage of the updates in technology and benefiting from a game cast who never apologize for having such a good time.