If you’ve ever wanted to see Liam Hemsworth pee on an alien while flipping the bird, boy, is Independence Day: Resurgence the movie for you. Actually, this is a pretty good metaphor for anyone unlucky to buy a ticket to this movie. (As I did, because Fox did not screen this movie early for press in the United States.) Though, if my theater was any indication, there may not be that many unlucky souls, as I watched this Highly Anticipated Sequel in the company of ten other strangers.
(Technically, Hemsworth takes a leak on the floor inside the alien ship while extending his middle finger to some outraged aliens. But I thought the ship and the aliens are connected somehow? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Noting matters. Regardless, this is, at the same time, the stupidest scene in a stupid movie and the most I’ve ever liked Liam Hemsworth.)
In 2036, whatever the internet looks like then, I bet there will be some sort of written piece with the title “Independence Day: Resurgence Is Totally Underrated And Is A Modern Phiptip*” – because that’s just the way things happen now and I am assuming it will then. People today think the first Independence Day is good. It’s not good. It was fun! It was worth the price of admission! But it wasn’t good.
(*In the future, “phiptip” will be slang for “classic.”)
My goodness, this sequel is really missing The Fresh Prince. I’m calling Will Smith “The Fresh Prince” because, in 1996, Independence Day was not a “Will Smith Movie.” The marketing didn’t really feature any of the stars and Will Smith was better known as one half of a rap duo who told us about the summer, parents not understanding, and girls being trouble. He was also the star of a popular television show. But no one saw Independence Day because Will Smith was in it. People saw it because of the spectacle. But, Will Smith knew if he charmed his way through this bad movie, he’d become a star. He did and he did.
I can make a case Independence Day was 20 years before its time. It sold the event, in an era when franchise movies didn’t rule the box office and being a movie star still meant something. Independence Day: Resurgence isn’t ahead of its time. It’s kind of perfect for its time. It represents a sequel no one wanted (we get a lot of those!), as we slowly march toward the end of cinema as we know it. At this point, burn it all down. (Maybe I will pee and give the finger as it happens. Who knows?)
Independence Day: Resurgence opens with Bill Pullman screaming in agony, presumably because he just watched Independence Day: Resurgence. We then go through a cavalcade of scenes as we meet the new characters. We meet Dylan, the son of Will Smith’s Steven Hiller, who walks past a character poster of his fictional dad as he enters the oval office. (I can only assume his name is Dylan because of the popularity Dylan McKay had on Beverly Hills, 90201 in the ‘90s.) Anyway, Dylan hates Jake (serial pisser, Liam Hemsworth) because Jake killed Will Smith in a training exercise. (Update: It turns out I’m wrong, even though I swore this is what happened. There’s a flashback involving jet fighters that I found very confusing. But people I trust say Jake almost killed Dylan, not Will Smith’s Steven Hiller. Knowing this makes Independence Day: Resurgence somehow even worse.)
(There’s a Liam Hemsworth line I laughed at when he’s lamenting about Dylan, “He’s meeting the President and I’m stuck on the moon.” A lot of the dialogue in Independence Day: Resurgence is like this. While watching, I wish I had been stuck on the moon.)
Here’s the plot of Independence Day: Resurgence: The aliens from the first movie come back. Okay, moving on…
Here comes a spoiler. Vivica A. Fox is in this movie for about 30 seconds. She shows up, rescues a baby, then falls to her death as Dylan watches in the airplane he’s flying. I laughed out loud. I couldn’t help it. It’s so awful in every way. After, Jake tells Dylan, “I’ve been there.” Dylan then forgives Jake – because who hasn’t had his mother killed by alien invaders during a 30 second cameo? I want to know Dylan’s thought process. Was it, “Well, now that both my parents are dead, it’s cool, man. Bring it in for a hug”? I mean, I assume so.
Everyone is just so stilted in this movie. Even Jeff Goldblum spends most of the movie inside and barely seems entertained enough to muster much emotion. He’s also the best part of the movie – except for Judd Hirsch, who, at 80, could teach a lesson to pretty much every other person in this movie on how to be entertaining. Hirsch is the only person who seems to know what kind of movie he’s in. This should be dumb fun. It’s just dumb.
I could keep going, but I don’t want to write about this movie much more. The big catchphrase the filmmakers thought would be a big deal is, “Get ready for a close encounter, bitch.” Uh huh. But no one in my theater cared. Granted, it was a small sample size, but I suspect it will be a small sample size most places. Independence Day: Resurgence made me want to surrender to the British – that is if they’ll even have us after they see this movie. They probably won’t.
Oh, Independence Day: Resurgence ends on a cliffhanger of sorts. The people involved think there’s going to be another one of these movies. I won’t give away how it ends, but the idea they have for the next movie is what this movie should have been in the first place.
Anyway, all I can do now is take a giant pee and wave my middle finger in the air. Just like Liam Hemsworth. Just like he did in Independence Day: Resurgence. In Independence Day: Resurgence, Liam Hemsworth peed on an alien while flipping the bird. I may never get over that. I think we are doomed.
Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.