A giant tidal wave swamps Manhattan. Britain becomes a frozen wasteland. Tornadoes strike Hollywood. Welcome to climate change and eco-awareness, Roland Emmerich-style. Letting a freshly discovered environmental concern deflect worries that you couldn't cinematically demolish cities in the wake of 11 September, the Independence Day director returns to wreak havoc once more.
Whether turning New York into a giant McFlurry or sending Americans fleeing across the Mexican border, the film's never less than thrilling when it's throwing money at the FX teams to endanger large casts of real and digital extras. And while the power of the set-pieces is diminished on all but the most spec-heavy tellies, there's still plenty of fun to be had.
But the reduction in size does make you notice the cast a little more. Predictably, decent characters and subtle plotting are frozen out, despite the German director's early claims that he'd hired co-writer Jeffrey Nachmanoff to punch up the human content. The result? Quaid, Gyllenhaal and co left high and dry as they try to make cliché-spewing sound like an attractive alternative to acting. They do their best with what's on offer, but let's face it: this is world-in-peril blockbuster land. Abandon script all those who enter here.
Very lightweight, then. But thanks to all those gobsmacking mother-nature-gone-nuts moments, it's chewy, sugar-rush-inducing candyfloss.
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