It sees the return of all of the original cast (excluding Will Smith) Jeff Goldblum, and Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, and Brent Spiner. Vivian A. Fox even turns up for a brief appearance.
And this time, they are joined by a new cast, which includes Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, and William Fichtner, as the aliens return for revenge after the events of the first film.
The plot is essentially the same as the first movie, except this time, it’s been 20 years since they stopped the alien invasion. In that time, they incorporated the leftover technology the aliens left behind to help defend Earth.
Much like the original film, IDR is mostly dumb fun, providing great moments and fun action sequences. Unfortunately, the film is mostly forgettable, featuring too many characters and an overblown plot, which at times, seems all over the place.
The film is essentially the first film, but on steroids. It has better special effects and more CG action than you can shake a stick at, but the film lacks the heart the original had. Being too ambitious, it lacks the basic premise that made the original the guilty pleasure it is.
Much like in the original, Jeff Goldblum is the heart and soul of this film; his typical wit and delivery are on point. If only he were more of the focus. Instead, it tries to force the new characters on the audience who frankly just aren’t as interesting.
One of the more prominent new characters was that of Jake Morrison, played by Hemsworth. In many ways, it appears Emmerich’s answer to replacing Will Smith’s character was splitting Captain Hiller’s personality traits between two new characters, Morrison being one of them.
He certainly tries his best in this role with his one liners but lacks Smith’s general charisma and charm. Hemsworth tries his best with what he is given and shows more personality in this than he has in previous roles, but he seems to fall short.
The backstory and connection between Morrison and the other new characters seemed incredibly forced and unnatural, and it didn’t work like the similar storylines seemed to in the original film.
With what little Bill Pullman had to work with, he certainly was another stand-out performance. While the characters’ connection with the alien collective seemed convoluted and convenient at times and not explained all that well, his delivery is excellent, and just seeing Pullman play that character was a treat to see.
Maika Monroe’s portrayal of President Whitmore’s grown-up daughter was probably the most impressive of the new cast. Her scenes with Pullman were great and served a purpose in the third act. If only her scenes with Hemsworth were as well thought out—the relationship between the two characters seemed forced and unnecessary.
Jessie Usher plays Captain Hiller’s grown up step-son Dylan Dubrow-Hiller. He is probably the most unnecessary of the new cast. Despite being quite prominent in the film’s first 20 mins, he then goes on to do hardly anything for the rest of the movie. His backstory with Hemsworth’s character seemed pointless and just a lazy way to add personality to the film’s two blandest characters.
While it was fun to see Judd Hirsch return to play David’s father, his character seemed to be very pointless, not adding anything to the story except being the comic relief for a handful of scenes in the film. His inclusion seemed forced, and again, in a movie with too many characters, just unnecessary.
If you are a fan of the original film, there is a lot of fun to be had here. Some of the action sequences are great, and the film is full of great callbacks to the original blockbuster.
Unfortunately, it has no heart and isn’t raising the stakes all that much, just retreading old ground. The new characters are kind of drag on the story. Whilst far from a disaster, IDR is mostly forgettable.
by Simon Hanson