In this special minisode, Nick and Justin take turns flogging away at Independence Day: Resurgence, a dismal disappointment of a film that not only fails to live up to the glory of its predecessor, but locks it deep inside a bunker somewhere and then blows the bunker up. We had a lot to say about this one, so we didn’t want to try to squeeze it in with the massive fan celebration, still landing this Thursday! Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you at the movies!
Having re-watched the original Independence Day yesterday, it really reminded me just how much I love that film. It spends a good thirty minutes or so at the opening simultaneously developing the characters in the story and unfolding the mystery of the aliens arriving on the planet up to their attack. As we meet David Levinson, we’re not sure what to make of the character’s discovery of a signal being used by the aliens until they shoot down the “welcome wagon,” and then the race to evacuate begins and is full of pulse-pounding tension because the audience is invested in the story. Once the attack begins, humanity desperately clings to survival, throwing everything it can at the alien invaders only to have every attack repelled, time and again, until a daring mission to infect the mothership finally allows one missile to strike an alien saucer- and from there, humanity finally succeeds in turning the invaders away. It is a triumphant story about hope, about the human spirit, and about how we can, nay, must repel our petty quibbles and hatreds and differences because there are far more important battles that must be waged.
That is exactly the opposite of the absolute disaster that is its sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence. Its runtime is drastically shorter than the original, having eviscerated anything and everything that remotely resembles character development and thrusting the audience headlong into a plot that spins and twists and turns and never slows down for a moment to let us think about connecting to any of the characters, old or new. The returning characters feel like shadows of their former selves, having no semblance of character traits or emotions or any of the humanity they had that we’d invested in twenty years ago. The new characters are vapid constructs, equal parts hopeless and worthless and devoid of any ability to deliver the inane drivel that Emmerich and his veritable team of co-writers have vomited onto the page.
Twenty years have passed since the War of 1996, and humanity has taken the time to use the recovered alien technology to build a formidable defense in the event that the aliens ever return. David Levinson is now the director of the ESD, but Goldblum seems to be randomly stumbling around the plot, only half-aware of the fact that he starred in the original film some twenty years prior. Very quickly, we learn that the aliens sent a distress signal back to their “harvester” ship, which decides it will come to Earth to exact some sweet, sweet revenge. Only the revenge here seems to be on the audience who paid good money to see the original film
and this hamfisted dumpster fire of a sequel, as if our support and love of the franchise has caused all associated to deliver a product so phoned in, its principal cast and production team should be billed long distance charges.
A random alien ship appears and is quickly shot down by the moon defensive base, much to the chagrin of Levinson, who does not believe them to be the aliens that nearly destroyed humanity. They, however, very quickly appear, and settle their massive 3000-mile-in-diameter plot device over the planet and then proceed to trump Spielberg’s Germans as the stupidest movie villains this side of a Marvel flick. Despite clearly having an advantage over the Earth, the aliens are content to sit and wait until the macguffin rears its head, at which time they attack. The film is filled with contrivance after contrivance, with plot beats happening specifically because they need to. The film glosses over the fact that the aliens are at war with other aliens whom they have also brought to the brink of extinction, but for the fact that this one surviving macguffin-ex-machina holds the key to destroying the aliens despite the fact that they were pathetically unable to do so themselves. The humans attempt to attack the alien queen’s ship with what must have been all of their forces, as they make one attempt and that’s it.
The sequel is one of the most insulting pieces of cinema in years. It is an assault on the intelligence of anyone who dares to bare eyes upon it, and like the alien sphere in the film, deems its audience too primitive to even bother with. It destroys literally any good will that the initial film might have generated by purposely attempting to re-create some of its more famous scenes, but with none of the care or craftsmanship that went into them before. Emmerich and company pulled out a flail and just proceeded to beat the unholy hell out of this script until it was so pointlessly pathetic that watching massive fleets of futuristic jets fight against alien ships is rudimentary and damn near sleep-inducing. Like David Levinson in the original film, the theaters should be handing out air sickness bags for audience members to violently vomit into, at which point they can be collected and dropped onto Roland Emmerich’s house, so that he too can be awash in a tidal wave of vomit and shit and feel the ungodly stink of this unmitigated disaster with every single breath. 2 out of 10 stars.