Independence Day: Resurgence is the single worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life, and the only reason I’m mad about it being a flop is because this means I have no one to talk through the pain with.
“But Libby,” you might say, wise reader that you are. “You knew it was going to be stupid. Why did you go see it?”
The same reason everyone goes to the movies in the summer: Air conditioning.
You see, it’s about 700 degrees in the second floor walk-up apartment Ian & I call home, with 200 percent humidity, and that’s with two fans running. It is too hot to eat. Too muggy to sleep. There was one escape, and that was to the movies.
You must understand one thing about me–I LOVE Independence Day because I love Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum and the 4th of July. Before work got in the way, we used to have extravagant 4th of July parties, with Fizzball, a potluck dinner and an annual viewing of the film (with Rifftrax, obviously). I gave President Whitmore’s iconic speech at my friend Eeon’s wedding and he gave it at mine.
ID4-R was, quite frankly, the most profoundly stupid film I have ever seen in my entire life. Worse than Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Worse than Let’s Be Cops. Joyless, boring, simultaneously shot-for-shot of the original while still being entirely baffling and confusing. It was so unmoored that I kept hoping someone would say “Welcome to Earth!” or “Kick the Tires & Light The Fires” just to ground me back into the fact that, yes, this was a sequel if Independence Day and not just a random series of leftover test footage from the first one.
There was also a Direct-to-DVD Will Smith (Jesse Usher, who, I was surprised to find out, was not the 90s R&B star), and while they kept focusing on the kids of the last movie as the main characters of this one (Not-Singer Usher & Not-Daisy Ridley), they completely neglected to mention the family of Randy Quaid, the guy who flew up into the ship and single-handedly saved the world in the last movie. For a movie that is entirely based on “look at all the stuff we have from the old film, everybody!” it was a noticeable absence.
Nothing made sense, there was no character motivation (some of the recurring characters didn’t even have names!) and, spoiler alert, everybody’s loved ones die. Stripper-Turned-Hospital Administrator Vivica A. Fox falls to her death in front of Not-R&B-Usher (Will Smith is dead before the movie starts) and then Bill Pullman dies to save everyone, and Jeff Goldblum’s ex-wife/wife again died in a tie-in novelization car crash so that he could try to bone Charlotte Gainsbourg, who needs to put her stringy-ass hair up in a ponytail or something. Even Lesser-Hems is an orphan before the movie begins, which he uses as an excuse to be a total douche.
It was a grim film that utterly lacked any sort of hope or redemption, and yes, it did end on a “Let’s make another movie” kind of cliffhanger that no one could have possibly given a shit about. “Intergalactic War!” says Brett Spiner. “Who cares?” thinks the audience. (there were six of us in the entire theater, presumably, also without AC at home) It was a pointless exercise in garbage film-making for people too old to get lead roles anywhere else (Hirsh, Goldblum, Pullman) and too bland to head up their own franchise films (Baby Helmsworth, Not-Usher, Lady-Pilot).
This is a movie that has no reason for existing. It’s not a world we ever asked to go back into, let alone 20 years later. These aren’t endearing, iconic characters we want to revisit. Let’s be real, David Levinson’s only redeeming character trait in the first movie is that he’s Jeff Goldblum at peak hotness. The original is a fine movie on it’s own, but compelling characters were not one of it’s strengths.