Welcome to Earf.
Independence Day: Resurgence somehow defied all of my expectations for the film and was even dumber than I had even thought possible. Warning, mild spoilers follow (not to say that really matters in a film like Independence Day)
“It’s bigger than the last one!” is a sentiment the film seems apt to remind you, as the film repeats this statement ad nauseum, as if to artificially increase the film’s stakes in a pale attempt to one-up the original 1996 blockbuster. After Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith successfully defended the Earth from a devastating alien invasion 20 years ago, humanity has entered a golden age in technological advancement. Utilizing the leftover alien technology, not only has humanity developed numerous super weapons in preparation for the aliens return, and they have also united together in world peace.
But as is inevitable, the aliens return about as late as this sequel, boasting a ridiculous 3,000 mile wide ship, equipped with its own gravitational pull. Just in case you can’t properly register how outlandishly huge that is, that’s bigger than the god damn moon. Director Roland Emmerich doesn’t appear to grasp the concept that bigger does not equal better, which is a mentality that is applicable to many of the film’s faults.
Resurgence feels like a film that should have been made in the 90s. While I don’t hold the original Independence Day in particularly high-regard, it had its novelty of being globe spanning action spectacle. Nothing on that scale had really been done before, which translated to enjoyable, dumb fun. But that was 20 years ago, and when the city/world/universe is once again on the brink of destruction every time a new summer blockbuster comes out, simple novelty doesn’t cut it anymore. Emmerich can film all the destruction porn he wants, but without a solid script or a likable cast of characters, Resurgence brings absolutely nothing new to the table.
Every single new character in Resurgence is as unengaging and bland as the film itself. Charisma vacuum Liam Hemsworth does what he does best and fails to breathe any life into the flat and underwritten Jake Morrison. He’s in a relationship with Patricia Whitmore, daughter of ex-president Thomas Whitmore, who is portrayed by Maika Monroe. Unsurprisingly the have zero chemistry together, and their romance scenes are a chore to get through. Rounding out the new cast is Jessie Usher’s bland Dylan Dubrow-Hiller, the son of Will Smith’s Jasmine Dubrow-Hillier.
Smith smartly opted not to return for the sequel, which lead to his character getting killed off unceremoniously off screen, and gets a cameo in the form of an awkward oil painting on display in the white house. The rest of the original cast returns however, and are about as solid if as unremarkable as they were in the first film. The one shining star of the film is Jeff Goldblum, who brings high entertainment value just due to being Jeff Goldblum. He gives the film some sorely needed charm, and helps make up for the lack of charisma from the rest of the cast.
I could go on an on about the poor script writing and generic story the film possesses, but that is unsurprising. The film’s action set-pieces are boring and drab CGI-laden messes, making the over-the-top destruction in Emmerich’s 2012 look tame. So, the characters and acting are bad, the writing is bad, and the action is bad. Does this film have any redeeming qualities you may ask?
Yes, yes it does.
Resurgence’s sole saving grace is how astoundingly dumb it is. Trying to watch this film with a straight face and take it seriously is an absolute exercise in futility. The film continuously one-ups itself in stupidity in a way that is weirdly entertaining. When the film introduced the machete wielding African warlord fluent in the alien language whose sole advice on killing aliens is to “take them from behind,” I chuckled at its ridiculousness t. But that was only the beginning of a series of weird scenes, as the film features numerous other gems such as Liam Hemsworth whipping out his penis and pissing on an alien flight deck whilst flipping the extra terrestrial’s off, a tiny tug boat being the sole survivor of a tsunami, a man waking up from a 20 year coma with absolutely zero side effects, and a climax which involves a ridiculously large alien in hot pursuit of a school bus filled with children driven by Jeff Goldblum.
It’s these oddities that almost elevate Independence Day: Resurgence to so-bad-it’s-good territory, but unfortunately there aren’t enough weird and hilarious moments like those mentioned to warrant that designation. No, Resurgence is simply a bad movie, highlighted by brief moments of unintentional hilarity. After all, it is a Roland Emmerich movie.