I remember getting excited about seeing “Day of the Triffids” (1962) for the first time. It was the early 2000’s, and the advent of DVD-by-mail services enabled me to hunt down all the various apocalyptic sci-fi movies I’d heard about as a kid — including a few that I’d only seen portions of, because I’d tuned in late. (The local video stores I’d grown up with had some of these films, but not all — and my interest in the sub-genre was truly exhaustive.)
“Day of the Triffids” was mildly disappointing. It was positively lethargic for an end-of-the-world monster tale, even if those monsters were slow-moving plants. (It’s a good bet that John Wyndham’s 1951 source novel did a better job with the story concept.)
I ordered this DVD through Blockbuster Video. Here’s a little movie industry trivia for you — Blockbuster briefly had a DVD-by-mail offer that was better than the one pioneered by Netflix. (You actually got more movies out of it, and you got them quicker.) But this was around the end of the prior decade; Netflix had already won the war for the home movie market, while Blockbuster was suffering its first location-closing death rattles. And the DVD-by-mail business model was itself becoming largely obsolete, anyway — the twin threats of Redbox kiosks and online movies saw to that.
They had 20 years to develop a sequel for “Independence Day: Resurgence” (2016) — 20 years after the original “Independence Day” exploded into theaters, defining the 1990’s summer blockbuster. You figure that’d be enough time to come up with a really cool script.
Maybe there was one — maybe they had a really great screenplay that was thrown out for some reason at the very last minute. (Political correctness? Copyright issues? Internal studio politics?) Then this by-the-numbers, live-action “G.I. Joe” cartoon was hastily thrust in front of the cameras. What we’ve got here is really just a lot of common tropes strung together by a thin story, performed by cliche stock characters. The charm, surprises, humor and impact of the (admittedly silly) original film are entirely absent here.
Don’t get me wrong. “Independence Day: Resurgence” isn’t quite as bad as some other reviewers might make it seem. There’s some fun to be had, especially if the kid in you still gets a kick out of gooey aliens. (The ending sequence was enjoyable.)
It’s just disappointing because it’s quite average. I’d give it a 6 out of 10, and I’d caution you to wait until you pay a dollar for it at Redbox.
Postscript: given what the movie reveals as their goal, why don’t the aliens just nuke us from orbit? Ellen Ripley is smarter than an entire alien race.