In 1996, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin surprised the world with a little movie called Independence Day, where world monuments were destroyed on a scale never before seen on the big screen.
But it was a one off.
A fun, flag waving adventure that stood alone, years before The Avengers, Man of Steel, The Star Wars Prequels and Avatar upped the stakes and made billions. Independence Day was a fun adventure where the good guys united against a common enemy.
But it was a one off.
Not any more.
20th Century Fox has triumphantly released the trailer for Independence Day: Resurgence. It;s due to land on Jul4 4 2016 – 20 years since its predecessor.
Most of the original cast are back – Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner (Will Smith passed) – joined by new characters, spearheaded by Thor Junior, Liam Hemsworth.
So what can we expect from Emmerich’s follow up to arguably his most well received work? Here’s a few points – and the odd question – from the trailer
Immediately linking to the first movie, Jeff Goldblum and a team of scientists and UN troops come across a series of ID4 alien skulls staked out in the desert – inferring that when many of the ships crashed in the first movie, a large number of them must have made it to the surface. And judging by this, not all of them survived. You can’t help wonder that the new arrivals will look at the possible slaughter of the original invaders as one of many reasons to attack Earth again.
In those opening scenes, something has Goldblum and his team spooked. A wider shot shows… something. Is it an alien city, built from the remnants of a crashed ship? Is it a communications post, transmitting a distress signal from the survivors to their own world, telling their descendants that they should come to complete the invasion? Whatever it is, it’s apparent that the aliens weren’t as defeated as they appeared at the end of the first movie.
“I spent twenty years trying to get us ready for this,” says Goldblum in the trailer. “We used their technology to strengthen our planet – but it won’t be enough.” The weapons and tech from the alien ships in the first film have been scavenged and reverse engineered by Earth’s governments by the time this second invasion rolls around. It seems obvious though that all these advancements are pretty useless in the face of the invaders, new, more improved weaponry and defences.
The aliens in the first movie were said to have bodies “just as frail as ours”, but it was their devastating technology that we struggled to defeat. On this occasion though, despite Earth troops being armed with advanced alien-derived firepower, the invaders look like they’re quite happy to take us on face-to-face.
Bigger and Badder
The alien ships in the first movie were 15 miles wide and positioned themselves over major cities before striking. Part of that was obviously the on-screen spectacle of seeing skies blotted out by the massive spacecraft. This time though, the invaders aren’t wasting any time. Their ships look much bigger and dangerous, and that can only be bad.
Thomas Whitmore, played by Bill Pullman, was president in the last movie. Here, he looks fundamentally different: A haggered, disturbed man, who walks with a cane and experiences visions of the aliens previous attack on the planet. His telepathic connection with an alien in the first film obviously left deep scars from which he hasn’t recovered. It also looks like from a subsequent snippet, that he may have a final confrontation with one of the invaders.
The invaders in the first movie, according to President Whitmore, were like locusts, consuming natural resources from a planet, then moving on. This doesn’t look like the aliens are interested in the Earth anymore, rather the complete and utter destruction of the human race. They’d rather destroy the planet than consume it. Perhaps this is more proof that this is about revenge rather than subjugation.
Striking At The Leadership
The scene that looks like the aliens breaching the presidential bunker, and attacking the incumbent leader President Hanford (played by Sela Ward) highlights one thing: They breach the very heart of the Earth’s leadership. This means they’ve got intelligence about where the most important people on the planet are – and how to get to them. A traitor in the humans’ midst – or are the invaders smarter than the last lot?
One of the highlights of the first film were the impressive dogfights between the US Force F/A-18 fighters and the alien Attacker aircraft. Well shot and choreographed, they invested you in the people in each cockpit, making you care about their struggle against insurmountable odds. With the benefit of improved CGI, these fight scenes should now be better – unless it becomes a blurred mess like Transformers. Also, the leader of the Earth planes in Jessie Usher’s Dylan Dubrow-Hiller – Will Smith’s character’s son from the first movie.
The End of the World As We Know It?
The first film opened to REM’s titular track, but while the invaders planned to take each major city before a ground offensive, here, it looks like they could just pulverise the Earth if they wanted to. The size of the craft that attacks Earth means there could be billions of aliens waiting to exact revenge on us for stopping their first wave.
It looks very similar to a host of other movies that feature worldwide destruction, and Independence Day: Resurgence will have to break moulds all over again to succeed in a saturated market. That said, if it can capture even half of the wonder and unique feel of the first movie, then it could be a surprise hit.