• by Wes Singleton

Review: Independence Day: Resurgence, C-

Rated PG-13, 129 minutes

That big orange blast you see in the sky is not anything to be concerned about, just a big cheese ball that's called "Independence Day: Resurgence," the sequel to the 1996 blockbuster hit "Independence Day" starring Will Smith. Smith isn't back, but just about everyone else is, including director and co-writer Roland Emmerich, who crafts a sequel more energetic, cheesy and silly than the original. As the Fourth of July nears, satellite engineer David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and his crew, including Jake (Liam Hemsworth) and Dylan (Jessie Usher) investigates a 3,000-mile-wide mother ship that's approaching Earth. Fortunately, 20 years earlier, nations across the world started to use recovered extraterrestrial technology to develop an immense defense program. When the alien invaders attack with unprecedented force, teams of scientists and brave fighter pilots spring into action to save the planet from a seemingly invincible enemy. Big, dumb and somehow engaging, "Independence Day: Resurgence" has enough charm from the original to somehow carry it along through some silly, end-of-world moments that seem so 1996. Emmerich overuses a considerable amount of CG to ensure you realize that the aliens are bigger and badder this time around, and every few minutes the script reminds of us with a visual or a character who has to state "it's bigger." OK, we get it. It's bigger, but is it better? Well, it's not as terrible as some have prognosticated given many of the advance press screenings were canceled, but then it's still not that great, given that "Independence Day" wasn't exactly the smartest alien thriller on the planet, yet there's enough gadgets and CG images filling "Resurgence" to try to make you forget that, and it almost succeeds. Goldblum (seen mostly now in TV commercials) chews on scenery as if he owns the place, but he isn't the only one: Bill Pullman is back, hammy as ever, as the former U.S. President who's now a seemingly crazy old man, as is Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner and in a small role, even Vivica A. Fox, all of whom haven't aged well. Director Emmerich is hardly known for being low-key, and by now he's done the end of the world thing in his sleep (see his "2012" and "The Day After Tomorrow"), but there's enough technology blabber and over-the-top, silly moments involving cold fusion bombs, alien queens and energy fields to keep you engaged until it ends. Forgettably entertaining and largely unnecessary, "Independence Day: Resurgence" is mostly a curiosity piece for those who may fondly remember the original. Otherwise, skip this cheese puff and go see "Finding Dory" again.