BY MIKE HUDSON
For whatever reason, 20th Century Fox has decided to launch its’ entry into the summer blockbuster sweepstakes – “Independence Day: Resurgence” – without screening it for critics in advance and with a mostly online and in-theater promotional campaign that that has been unimpressive, to say the least.
That’s usually a very bad sign.
It’s been 20 years since the original “Independence Day” largely transformed the way we look at summer action adventure sci-fi movies, and the intervening decades have not been particularly kind to the stars. Jeff Goldblum, who was edgy and funny and off the wall in the original, now looks as old as his father, played by Judd Hirsch, who remarkably made it back for the sequel.
A huge, gaping hole has been left by the refusal of Goldblum’s co-star in the original, Will Smith, to do the sequel. Roland Emmerich, who directed both films, told the London Daily Mirror that he felt “half hearted” about the new movie because of Smith’s refusal.
“That’s the point where I thought, let’s not do this movie,” he said. “Friends said I should carry on, that the ideas were really great, but I carried on in a half-hearted way.”
But there was a lot of money to be made. Fox had budgeted $200 million for the sequel, and there are easier things to walk away from. Emmerich persevered, rewriting the script to feature an army of orphans who lost their parents in the original alien invasion depicted in the first move.
The battle to save the planet from the alien invaders proceeds apace.
As with Goldblum, the 20-years that have passed have not been particularly kind to Emmerich, who directed a string of turkeys including “10,000 BC,” “2012” and “White House Down.”
So we’re left with the biggest star of the ensemble cast refusing to do the picture, a half hearted director, a last minute script rewrite and $200 million of Rupert Murdoch’s money.
Did I hear somebody say, “Hooray for Hollywood”?
If the movie was good, delivering the kind of action, adventure and laughs that the first one did, Fox would want everyone to know about it. The studio would have screened it last week, and Goldblum, Emmerich and other cast members would be making the talk show rounds relentlessly to pump it up.
They’re not, and while the movie may make back what was spent on it – both the Johnny Depp atrocity “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and the Ellen DeGeneres cartoon “Finding Dory” have managed it – chances are that opening weekend audiences will be disappointed.