Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43 famously asked, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” First I suppose I should apologize for even mentioning it in the same breath as the god-awful Independence Day: Resurgence, but I only bring it up because I spent so much of the movie literally counting the ways this may just be the most ridiculous movie ever made.
- Early on, they address the elephant in the room–the absence of Will Smith. Turns out his character was killed in a test flight, which seems like a fairly lame (and disrespectful) way to write the guy out, right? (And don’t get me started on his enormous, gaudy portrait now hanging in the White House.) The man is a national hero–punched an alien, lit a cigar, and sneered, “Welcome to Earth.” And he’s killed practicing?
- In the 20 years since the War of ‘96 (as it’s so unimaginatively called), not only have we colonized the moon, we’ve also built a gaggle of ridiculous skyscrapers within spitting distance of the White House. I’m sure the Secret Service is loving that. There’s a reason the Ellipse is there, people.
- When we’re introduced to Liam Hemsworth as hotshot pilot Jake, it takes less than a minute for him to be presented as the clichéd rogue outsider who simply can’t handle authority. He even gets grounded. Any guesses on who ends up being the hero?
- We’re told that the world has been war-free ever since the first invasion. And then in the very next scene, we’re introduced to an African warlord… as in war lord. Um…?
- We’re introduced to the nerdy, shy guy who’s crushing on the strong female. He’s awkward and goofy. She’s not. Guess how that story line resolves. Hint: the guy is adorable.
- Apparently the US has been keeping a couple dozen aliens alive in a secure bunker. Any thoughts on how quickly it takes for everyone to realize “secure” doesn’t mean what they think it means?
- As a 3,000-mile-wide alien spaceship enters the Earth’s atmosphere, General Adams (William Fichtner) asks, “How did our satellites not detect it?” How indeed? (And it’s never answered.) Sure, we can see stars thousands of light years from Earth, but a spaceship the size of China? Closer to us than the moon? That we have trouble with?
- The spaceship is so large that it has its own gravitational pull, and it successfully yanks up the entire city of Shanghai before then dumping it on Europe. As Dr. Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) watches it unfold, he can think of nothing better to say than, “What goes up must come down.” So apparently he’s now David Caruso at the start of every episode of CSI: Miami ever. The only thing missing is him whipping his sunglasses off his face.
- Turns out Will Smith’s son from the first movie is now all grown up and a pilot himself. And it also turns out that Jake and he have some bad blood. Wow, I hope they sort out their differences in time to save the world.
- Throughout the film we get gems of dialogue like, “You’re all the family I got”, “It’s the 4th of July, let’s show ‘em some fireworks”, and “We don’t have a second to lose.” Who wrote this thing? Oh right–Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. And Nicholas Wright. And James A. Woods. And James Vanderbilt. And, apparently Miss McGuillicuddy’s fourth grade class. And a lemur.
- The aliens have come here to bore down into the Earth and suck out its molten core. I won’t give anything away (oh heck, sure I will), but they come within a minute of doing it. Apparently those screenwriters have no clue how volcanoes form. They should look it up, though. It’s pretty interesting.
- The same screenwriters should also spend some time with a walkie-talkie. Here’s a quick lesson: If you push the button to talk and then never release it, you can’t hear people talking back to you.
- Oooh, there’s a clock counting down to the moment the Earth will be destroyed. Should we start a pool on how close to zero it gets before the Earth is not destroyed?
- And finally–the next time I need to get somewhere really fast while deftly avoiding aliens, with Bugatti-like precision, as lasers, explosions, and all manner of mayhem erupts around me, I’m gonna get me a school bus. There’s nothing better.
Worth the 3D glasses?
Sorry folks, but Resurgence isn’t really even worth the gas money it’ll take to drive a few miles to your local theater, much less the added expense of having to don the oh-so-snazzy eye wear for two-plus hours.