The 5 Most Ridiculous Things About ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’

The 5 Most Ridiculous Things About
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

It would be fun to think that “Independence Day: Resurgence” is as godawful as a lot of people want to say it is — that it’s the “John Carter” of bombastically overscaled paramilitary ’90s-nostalgia alien disaster flicks. But seriously, it ain’t that bad. (And let’s be honest: The 1996 original isn’t that good.) It’s a greasy high-cheese blockbuster served up by people who know (mostly) what they’re doing — which is to say, director Roland Emmerich, in the 20 years since “ID4,” has not lost his touch for shamelessly grandiose and derivative sci-fi schlock spectacle. That said, a movie like this one wouldn’t be a movie like this one if it didn’t offer at least a few invitations to giggle at it. Viewers, of course, are free to choose their own, but just to get you started, here are the 5 most ridiculous things about “ID4: Resurgence.”

The Most Ridiculous Character. His name is Dikembe Umbutu (Deobia Oparei), but then, what’s in a name? You will know him simply as “the warlord” (we meet him in the Central African desert where the carcass of the old alien spaceship is docked), and he has his own special technique for combating the deadly extraterrestrial menace. The other characters use machine guns, military jet fighters, cold-fusion bombs, and other stuff like that, but not our warlord: He’s sticking with what he knows best — the two machetes he carries around, criss-crossed on his back, for the entire film. (I don’t even think he takes them off to go to the bathroom.) Don’t get in the way of his blades, alien people! “You kill them from behind,” he gruntingly explains, and he means it, literally. There’s a great moment when a science nerd places his hands on an alien sphere, and suddenly he’s glued to it, and it’s sucking him in — and as everyone in the room rises up in alarm, you can glimpse the warlord in the background…reaching for that machete! He’s the closest thing the movie has to a character out of “Airplane!”

The Most Ridiculously Timely Political Allusion. The “ID4” films are not exactly big on topical relevance. How could they be, when the original film was so busy raiding the 1970s with its mash-up of “Close Encounters” and a two-dozen-characters-you-could-hardly-care-less-about disaster film? But in “Resurgence,” there’s one character who rings an unmistakably timely bell, and that’s the President of the United States — played by Sela Ward with a steely grin and a studiously tenacious “I am woman, hear me project my strong-on-defense military bona fides” resolve that’s a little too reminiscent of a certain presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to be coincidence. As much as the film would like to pretend that the casting is gender neutral, it’s not: Moments after she issues a terse command like “Take ’em out, commander!” the president then says, “Let’s hope to God we did the right thing!” in a way that no Morgan Freeman president would ever need to do. And the surest (unconscious) sign that the filmmakers may be a little nervous about the prospect of a Hillary presidency is the fact that…well, let’s just say that no one stays president forever. (But really, William Fichtner?)

The Most Ridiculously Sincere Bromantic Line. “ID4,” of course, had Will Smith, and it made him a megaplex ultrastar, just as he made the movie an ultrasmash. In lieu of the late great Capt. Hiller, “Resurgence” has two joystick fighter jocks: Hiller’s military-hero son, Dylan (Jessie T. Usher), and his rival, Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), who was nearly responsible for Dylan’s death. Attempting to mend fences, Jake says (in reference to the loss of Dylan’s parents), “I’ve been where you are. And I know how deep it hurts.” It takes about 20 minutes for the movie to recover from that line and regain its proper attitude of folks-gettin’-blowed-up-real-good nonchalance. What the movie never quite defeats is the cruise-control innocuousness of this “Top Gun Lite” pair, with Hemsworth and Usher as such smooth, bland, unruffled bros that even their dive-bombing scenes feel like they’re happening on autopilot.

The Most Ridiculous Person Carried Over From “ID4.” If the new movie — theoretically — is built around nostalgia for 1996, and the “Top Gun”-vs.-alien dogfights take us back to 1986, then what can you say about a character who makes us feel like it’s 1976? That would be Judd Hirsch’s Julius Levinson, who in the film’s deadliest scenes drives a school bus full of children across the desert, all so that he can drop words like “schmuck” and “putz” (are you laughing yet?) and then rendezvous with his son David (Jeff Goldblum), which allows him to deliver the rim-shot line, “We had to wait until the end of the world to get together?” (Okay, you can laugh now.) That Hirsch says all of this in a showbiz-Yiddish accent makes you think that he isn’t so much playing the leftover knish in an alien tentpole movie as auditioning for his very own Normal Lear sitcom.

The Ridiculous One-Size-Fits-All Design of Every Damn Alien Since “Alien.” Even if you haven’t seen “Resurgence” yet, you already know exactly what they look like: the jaws, the H.R. Giger skull head, the rasta tentacles that seem to have come out of a “Predator” sequel. Just as every description of an alien by anyone who was ever “abducted” used to have to look exactly like that slit-eyed, Charm Pop-headed prototype immortalized in 1977 by “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” there’s an unstated law in Hollywood that every hostile alien invader has to be a direct variation on the ones in the “Alien” films. Admittedly, the queen alien in “Resurgence” does make for an impressive image, mostly through the sheer size of the thing. Which makes you realize that it may be about time to put this creature into the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

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  1. “INDEPENDENCE DAY” may not have been a cinematic masterpiece, but for me, it was ten times better than “INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE”. Do Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich have something against middle-aged women? They killed off both Vivica A. Fox and Sela Ward. What the hell?

  2. orionsaint says:

    I have a weird relationship with this film. I didn’t like it, yet I sort of did in a weird way, lol. This is one of those, it’s so bad it’s good movies. This film would be perfect for MST3K.

    That giant ball alien with the Siri voice that comes out of no where in this movie, haha! She looks like a cross between a Thermal Detonator and Klaatu’s head from, The Day the Earth Stood Sill. It’s the moment where the movie jumps off the rails and is like F it! We’re going there. Let’s go nuts! lol.

    Dr. Okun was by far the best thing in the movie. He pretty much saves the movie from being totally forgettable. I find his over the top character hilarious and absurd, but in a good way. He has the most touching moment in the film as well as the final line in the movie that sets up what could be an insane sequel.

  3. Scott Smith says:

    I still cant get over the concept of taking down the shields in both movies as the key reason for making the alien ships “vulnerable” They are already seriously vulnerable. In the first movie it was even shown that you could climb all over and in the alien ship, place objects on it, and the shields are only engaged when a high velocity object is fired its way (except light. or an old soviet satellite going 17500kps in reverse orbit) So, why not land a helicopter on one of the ships and place a mini nuke (single warhead) on it that would be just strong enough to bring down the ship. Or some very strong non-nuclear bomb? Better yet, why not parachute such an object onto the top from a stealth bomber? Did they honestly think a few dozen 20-30 lb warheads from Amraam or Sidewinders would take down a 15 mile ship? Use a few fighters as a distraction and drop 1000 lb JDAM’s from above.

    Also, the mothership was destroyed while in geostationary orbit over North America during dawn (in the midwest) and the moon had clearly set. (both in space where there was no moon visible, and on the ground around Nevada. Where it was daylight. (which is good because detonating a nuke in space is going to fry North America’s power grid. which will take a few days to fix. Oh and dont expect your GPS navigation to work. (or …pay at the pump) Anyway, at the end of the first film, we see the majority of the debris burning up in our atmosphere. Anything else would just go flying off into space as a new comet. If any pieces somehow managed to make it to the moon, they would just make giant craters since they’d be going around 22,000 fps and have nothing to stop them. The moon would not have a stupid debris field in the second film. (even if the ship were blown up right above it.) .

    Second movie. If its really that easy to bring down their shields now with a drone fleet. (oh wait it is , like using an EMP pulse, which i’m pretty sure is what took out the engines on their own fleet when they were ‘baited’) Why the hell ould they attack from the front? Perhaps we now live in a world without ICBM’s, but the ESD could have used them and swapped the warheads with cold fusion bombs for defense purposes. In this case, take out the queens ship’s shields and fire a cold fusion icbm at it, or like 30. If this isnt plausable, Why not have the bombers and fighters come at it from 70,000 feet? we’re talking about craft that can fly to Saturn for Ice cream and come back to fight a war. If they took this approach, They’d have a much more reasonable shot at it.

  4. christoiwas says:

    What about the post production Asian kid who’s face is mapped on no doubt “white kid number 23”.
    It was poorly done just enough so when you are looking for that kind of thing it becomes grossly obvious.

    Too little too late team.

  5. Funnily enough I actually remember every film I ever went to see at the cinema & I’ve rarely bothered going to the pictures but I made an exception for the original & it looks like I am going to have to
    make another, This looks awesome

  6. i love this movie. thanks for article

  7. I think it’s silly that the aliens have no backup plan for if their queen dies.

    If she goes down, everything else breaks down.
    How about such an advanced species, uses, let’s say, an A.I. for such an emergency?
    However rare such an event is, as it apparently has never happened before, it can not be that difficult to prepare for, can it? It’s just stupid.

    Us primitive humans are going to go on to colonize space thinking we’ll make it on pure luck :D

    • therealeverton says:

      Look science is a very long way away from Independence Day 1 & 2 (all though there are attempts at it often in both, but your question is predicated on the reverse of hive species as we know them. The Queen’s matter, the drones do not. f The very idea that they care what happens to a bunch of drones after a queen dies is something that comes to your mind, but almost definitely wouldn’t come to the mind off a species that works in this manner. It’s why ants and bees etc. sacrifice themselves so willingly for their hives / nests. They are unimportant. It’s also possibly why the aliens are so ruthless, most of the other aliens they are killing will simply be drones. Maybe 1 or 2 queens will die along the way, but the bulk of those they slaughter were barely alive in the first place.

      There’s a similar concept in the Ender’s Game series, which is well worth a read as one of the better Sci-Fi stories ever written.

  8. Arne says:

    Oh yeah, Oka DIED in ID4-that makes SIX ridiculous things.

  9. Arne says:

    The original was great Gleiberman.

    You’re getting old though and you used to be more insightful about stuff like this,

  10. Jim says:

    It was an extremely mediocre movie. Just a retread of the original, which wasn’t all that good either. We’ve seen Emmerich’s destroy the planet visual montage scenes repeatedly….it’s played out. The dialogue was awful. The jokes were cheesy and not funny at all. The characters were bland and one-dimensional. Even the CGI got pretty bad in spots. If you want to put your brain on auto-pilot for 2 hours, it’s a mildly entertaining popcorn flick. But don’t blame critics for the movie sucking. It has gotten weak grades from the audience too…..Cinemascore, Flixster, Fandango, IMDB, etc.

  11. JoHunter says:

    This is the most ridiculous article I’ve read since that other idiot who called The Dark Knight a mess.

  12. Mike says:

    It’s the best popcorn film of the year. You’re an incredibly pretentious critic. Please go back to wherever they found you.

  13. Jeff Jones says:

    The writer’s didn’t do there homework about the massive space ship that latches on to the planet. Simply put we would not be able to fight back, let alone survive, as something that massive would cause every volcano on the planet to blow. Instant nuclear winter, waves as high as mountains and extreme earthquakes would drive us into extinction. The alien’s wouldn’t even have to get out of the ship.

    • It wouldn’t be “nuclear winter” per se but I suppose that’s a close enough analogy. Also something that massive sitting on the Earth like an ugly hat would knock it out of orbit. The biggest problem I had with it, following the movie’s own logic, is that the ship just LEAVES at the end. Why the hell would it leave if the queen died along with all her drones? If it’s some kind of AI failsafe why would they program it to stop drilling into the core? I was actually okay with the silliness until that happened, but hell, it was already the end and nothing to do about it.

      And speaking of core drilling, don’t forget that there is now a mile-wide hole draining the Atlantic Ocean into the Earth’s mantle.

      There are more plot holes but…hey, it’s Roland Emmerich. I already knew what I was getting into when I started the thing. /end rant

  14. This is like bomb #5 or more for Liam Hemsworth. What’s the deal? His screen presence is akin to play dough. Enough already. Move on,

  15. Jack Monte says:

    Where is this type of article when an Avengers movie comes out. Ridiculous characters. Preposterous action? How about the million extra suits Tony Stark had on autopilot in Ultron, what do they cost a piece 5 bucks to build? Where’s this when the force awakens came out? I’ll start the list. One: Ridiculous characters. BB-8. Why does this unoriginal character go even further by sounding like Wall-E? Good thing it’s in the Disney universe so there’s no lawsuits. Speaking of going further how does it get any traction to roll through sand in the desert and slick metal floors on the ships?

    • meta says:

      millions of extra suits? I would say 100 at most

      BB-8 unoriginal? First ball based robot on film

      preposterous? Preposterous doesn’t mean it defies basic physics which you probably don’t understand.

      If you don’t like sci-fi and superhero epics, you don’t have to see them. They do well enough without you. Have fun being in the minority though!

      PS-i’m not endorsing the first or second ID in anyway…

      • therealeverton says:

        Well said. His complaints don’t even make sense. Perhaps more attention should be paid.

  16. Bill.B. says:

    I haven’t seen this because the first one’s success remains a big mystery to me. It was pretty awful and I love sci-fi.

  17. Alex says:

    The movie is fine, it’s just that people are tired of another flick about a group of people going up against another seemingly unstoppable foe. How many of them have been shown so far this tear? How many more to come? The next “Star Wars” flick coming out at Christmas is about what?

  18. Guignol says:

    This film sounds like it’s filled with plenty of cheesy, laugh-out-loud moments, so why keep hammering it as a disaster and just enjoy the fun? It’s summertime. Everyone who lacks a sense of humor can hand out Razzies in the winter.

  19. Sexracist says:

    If there’s crap to be found, you can bet blOwen will be defending it

  20. I can agree in that the movie is good. It has great visuals and CGI effects and is very funny. I hope Roland Emmerich reads this and knows that he did a great job, but he moved the story way too fast. Perhaps Resurgence is more funnier than the original. David and Julius Levinson steal the show once again that’s for sure. It has very good characters, as well as some that are not so good. As for the main characters Maika Monroe as Patricia Whitmore was phenomenal, I liked her more than that of Dylan and Jake. As for some of the new characters I liked Charlie Miller, Floyd Rosenberg, Rain Lao and General Adams. The actors performance was very good and we are glad many had a great argument. Even Dr Okun was funny even when I thought I wasn’t going to like him. As for the plot. Well. In simpler terms it was not very original. It was the Alien Queen takes Darkseids’ tactics in Godzilla suit hunting for an A.I.. I hoped there is a third one, but not as a direct continuation to Resurgence. I hope Okun’s wrong and that the battle stays here on our Solar System and forget that idea of Interstellar travel and although I do support unity drop the foolish consent notion of Earthling leading a multi-system galactic resistance. I would really love that last Okun dialogued be edited and be able to be changed in some special features for a more interesting closing scene. That would definitely make a great change and make the movie even better for audiences to accept it. Once again I was surprised by Emmerich approach of the SFX and that he didn’t tried to force the action and loose reality, like he did in 2012.

  21. Engineer says:

    I saw it and missed W. Smith as did al of the critics, but in our present environment isn’t it great
    to have the USA saving the world, as we always do in real life?

    • millerfilm says:

      It would be infinitely better if the United States just took care of itself and everyone else took care of themselves.

  22. cadavra says:

    Hell, Judd Hirsch is the ONLY reason I might consider going to this titanic crapwaffle.

    • AA says:

      Pretty incredible that you haven’t seen it yet somehow know it’s a “crapwaffle.” Gotta love groupthink.

      • cadavra says:

        No groupthink. I thought the first one was a crapwaffle, and since there seems to be near unanimity that this one is much worse, it’s an extremely safe assumption.

  23. I Typically Prefer More Sophisticated Stuff, But... says:

    My Secret Shame: I like Emmerich’s movies. There. I’ve said it. And I like ’em for all the reasons listed in the article. No one is ever going to mistake these flicks for art. But they do deliver a lot of goofy absurd Kapow for the buck. And to all the movie-lovers out there who consistently dump on them: Be honest…whenever ID4 or GODZILLA or 2010 are playing on the tube, and you’re channel surfing and come across them, don’t you stop and watch ’em? Even if it’s the middle third? The last half? Sure you do! I will go see ID4:R (or whatever it’s been abbreviated to) knowing it’s probably a crapfest, but thrilling to the huge scale and effects and noise. And then I will probably hate myself. Whew. I got this off my chest. Thank you.

    • EricJ says:

      When 10,000 BC or Anonymous is on, do YOU stop and watch it??

      • I Typically Prefer More Sophisticated Stuff, But... says:

        Well, ANONYMOUS is hardly ever broadcast (and I prefer Shakespeare In Love!), and I’ll only catch snippets of 10,000 B.C. (because even THAT one is too lame-brained for me). It’s the big calamity, world-imperiled flicks that that I was talking about. Cheers.

    • I Typically Prefer More Sophisticated Stuff, But... says:

      Make that 2012, not 2010. But really…what does it matter?

  24. Laughing all the way to the cinema now. That was reassuring. :D

    • G,A. Stadler says:

      From your review I can gather very little information as to the reason people should see or not see the film. All in all you bluster and comment unlike collection of disjointed run on sentences. Thanks for the reminder of what we should all guard against in the this age of instant everything geared to the internet.

  25. Worst Movie Ever says:

    You need to lose your job

  26. robinhelene says:

    Haven’t seen the movie, but I love this article–hilarious! Love, Robin

  27. BillUSA says:

    Didn’t care fir “ID” (for the life of me, I can’t see why “4” is added to the acronymic title – even after I get the meaning). Didn’t care to see “ID:R”. Thanks to the author, I definitely won’t see “ID:R”.

    Additional thanks for not trying to glorify the incompetent politician/successful crook running on the Democratic ticket.

  28. Skip Press says:

    Best snarky review of the year so far.

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