This is a film so (hopefully) excellent its tagline really does tell you everything you need to know, ‘WE HAD 20 YEARS TO PREPARE – SO DID THEY’. Jeff Goldblum’s back as scientist David Levinson, the character who brought twitching brilliance/Jeff Goldblum back into fashion.
Critically, Judd Hirsch returns as his lovable pop along with Vivica A. Fox as Smith’s widow, plus a bunch of newbies played by acting royalty with surnames like ‘Gainsbourg’ and ‘Hemsworth’.
The plot? The right kind of person really only needs to know Golblum’s gonna kick a bunch of alien butt, probably using an unexpected weapon and a witty turn of phrase.
Sure, Will Smith isn’t in it, and he was inarguably one of the best things about the first film. Who didn’t lose their shit when Captain Steve Hiller piloted that alien craft out of the exploding mothership, screaming along with him and Levinson as the aliens ate it? I may have been nine years old, but dammit if I didn’t have an abiding desire for several weeks to chomp cigars and punch aliens.
But Smith’s kinda lost it these days. There’s the Scientology, the alleged affair and then the choice to make the insultingly bad After Earth with his son, Jaden. In fact, the ghost of that filmic bomb seems to have kept him out of this sequel with director Emmerich telling Cinema Blend “In the very beginning, I wanted to work with him and he was excited to be in it but then after a while he was tired of sequels, and he did another science fiction film, which was his father-son story, so he opted out”.
Emmerich also told New York’s Daily News that Smith was “too expensive” and “too much of a marquee name”. And that’s likely because of budget constraints involved in securing Bill Pullman’s beard for the sequel. The last 20 years have been damn good to the man – he’s sporting one of the lushest clavicle ticklers seen on screen – and its easy to see why there wasn’t any cash left for Smith, who is at best a moustache man.