Even before the blowback to Stonewall, director Roland Emmerich made a big deal of announcing that Independence Day: Resurgence would feature a same-sex relationship.
“We have a gay couple in the film,” he told The Hollywood Reporter last year. “We don’t make a big deal out of it. You start small and then you get bigger and bigger and bigger, and one day you have a gay character as the lead and nobody will wonder at it no more. But we’re not there yet.”
But according to some people who have seen Resurgence, Emmerich started really small. Like, microscopic.
The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee says the relationship—between Doctors Okun and Isaacs—is underwhelming to say the least:
I started to wonder whether the couple had even made it through to the final edit. Any reference was entirely absent from all publicity materials and as the film progressed, I was struggling to define any of the relationships as gay…
But it’s only in the final reel that we discover who the same-sex characters really are. As aliens battle their way to steal a chatty orb (don’t ask), Brent Spiner’s loopy coma-waking scientist and his co-worker, played by John Storey (both of whom starred in the first film) hold hands in solidarity.
After one of them gets hit, a swiftly emotional death scene follows which has one use of the word “baby,” a joke about knitting and some final clues to the nature of their relationship (“Who’s going to make sure you wear your pants in the morning?”). That’s it.
Lee acknowledges a sex scene, or even a montage of their wedding, was probably too much to hope for.”But the embarrassing Hays Code coyness of it all meant that one could still watch the film and just see them as really good friends.”
Did Fox nix any stronger representation, or is Emmerich just tone deaf? His comments that the Stonewall riots “were a white event,” suggests the latter.
It’s also disappointing that one of the partners ends up dying—just like Harvey Fierstein did in the first Independence Day.
Maybe we’re not at the point where Liam Hemsworth’s fighter pilot has a boyfriend, but certainly the token gays could survive the whole movie.
Then again, given the critical drubbing the film is receiving, maybe Dr Okun and Dr. Isaacs got off easy.
Ah well, there’s always the inevitable Independence Day 3.