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The evidence of climate change, Hollywood-style, is all before us in Independence Day: Resurgence. The decades-long habit of burning fuel from old fossils — the sequel industry — gets its payback in Roland Emmerich’s follow-up to his 1996 alien invasion blockbuster. Toxic kitsch rains from the heavens. Hurricanes of special effects spin across Earth. And the mutant result of recycling attempts is evident in the return of Jeff Goldblum as scientist David Levinson, Bill Pullman as (now ex) President Whitmore and others, donning 20 years of age make-up to disguise the well-known handicap — in the world of Hollywood cosmetic care — of stellar agelessness.
The new president is a woman (Selma Ward), cashing in the Hillary dividend before it has happened, while the squishy, blowhard super-alien bears a distinct resemblance to a certain Republican presidential nominee. Live beings, though, take a back row to the effects tonnage as a league of aggrieved extraterrestrials, surviving from the 1996 conflict, affirm the right to re-bear arms against Planet Earth.
The “so bad it’s good” factor occasionally kicks in. But even with those ascents from base camp to high camp, this noisy, assaultive, stunt-oriented film leaves us clawing for the oxygen of human and dramatic interest. Everything is overblown except the running time, a modest 120 minutes. And even that may engender for the paranoid a vision of gently writhing out-takes on the cutting room floor, sinisterly assembling themselves for Independence Day 3.