MOVIE SYNOPSIS: This sequel to 1996's blockbuster alien-invasion thriller focuses on a new generation, battling the aliens who return with bad attitudes and bigger ships.

Reel Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and destruction, and for some language   
Released in Theaters: June 24, 2016 (2D, 3D, IMAX 3D)
Best for Ages: 12+
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi, Sequel
Runtime: 120 minutes
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Studio: 20th Century Film Fox Corp.
Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman

MOVIE REVIEW: It's been 20 years since the 1996 blockbuster "Independence Day" graced the big screen. Likewise, this sequel picks up 20 years after the events of the first movie. The United States has aliens imprisoned at Area 51, and a tribe in Central Africa has mastered the art of hand-to-hand combat with the aliens. For earthlings, peace prevails.

But as the planet prepares to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the defeat of alien forces, Dr. David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum, reprising his role from the first film) learns that an even bigger alien queen and her worker-bee aliens are about to attack Earth. And they're more ticked off than ever.

Along with Goldblum, several other actors from the first movie reprise their roles, including Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox and Brent Spiner. But this movie focuses mainly on a younger generation of Americans who've grown up after the first movie's catastrophic events.

They include fighter pilots Capt. Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher), son of the now-deceased Marine pilot played by Will Smith in the first movie, and his rival, Lt. Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), who's engaged to Patricia Whitmore (Maika Monroe), daughter of former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman). You remember his "Today ... we celebrate our Independence Day!" speech? That makes a little cameo in this movie.

My first thought about "Independence Day: Resurgence" is that it's a movie about an alien invasion, so we probably shouldn't be looking for any Oscar-worthy performances. And none are delivered, so I was right on that score. Overall, the movie is kind of forgettable, because we've pretty much seen it all before - either in the original movie or the gazillion other alien movies during the past 20 years.

The over-the-top action sequences portray the same massive destruction as the first film, but again, we've seen a lot of these same scenes in other movies. There's nothing new here, and we never really get to know the new characters and their backstories.

However, it IS fun to see the continuation of the story 20 years later, along with the shout-outs to the original film. For that reason, "Independence Day: Resurgence" gets 3.5 out of 5 Reels from me.

PARENT OVERVIEW: "Independence Day: Resurgence" is packed with non-stop action, including destructive violence where cities are destroyed, ships blown up, and characters injured or killed (though not much blood or gore is shown). A character dies by falling from a helicopter, and another sacrifices himself for the cause. Language includes "s--t," "bitch," "a--hole," etc., and there's a bit of drinking and a few kisses.

PARENT DETAILS (May Contain Spoilers):

Violence/Gore: Entire cities are destroyed, presumably killing millions of people, though we never see any close-up deaths. Notable characters die, some by choice, others by accident. A character dies by falling from a helicopter, and another as a sacrifice for the greater good. A character kills aliens with blades, while others use guns. Characters are shot at by alien weapons. Buildings fall, and a harbor full of boats is decimated.

Sex/Nudity: An engaged couple kisses a few times. Some flirting.

Profanity: Occasional strong language includes "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn it," and "bitch." A few insults like "schmuck" and "putz," and a few exclamations like "Jesus Christ!" and "Christ almighty!"

Drugs/Alcohol: A ship's crew drinks, and characters get drunk.


One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Contact her at Images in this review used courtesy of the studio and distributor.