Independence Day 2: This time, it’s personal. And bigger. Much, much bigger.
Independence Day: Resurgence brings the dreaded aliens back to Earth 20 years after their first invasion. Is it a landmark of filmmaking or a landmark that should be blown up by aliens? Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out.
So who stars in this movie? Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman return as our heroes David Levinson and President Whitmore. Liam Hemsworth of The Hunger Games franchise plays astronaut Jake Morrison, Maika Monroe of It Follows portrays the former president’s daughter Patricia, and Jessie T. Usher of When the Game Stands Tall plays pilot and Will Smith descendent/stand-in Dylan Hiller. Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, and Vivica A. Fox all return as well.
Roland Emmerich returns to direct the sequel, so hopefully he can bring back the sheer escapist fun of the first film. We can definitely expect lots more over-the-top blockbuster action.
The trailer starts off twenty years after the first Independence Day, with Patricia telling her boyfriend Jake that she’s taking her father to the anniversary of the big attack. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him,” she says. Him and that one speech he gave. Oh, and that cable guy. We get a glimpse of the anniversary and the new woman president, and then cut to Dylan and a glimpse of his father’s between-films plane crash (read Will Smith really didn’t want to be in this movie). Then we see that Earth has integrated alien technology into their fighter jets, fulfilling everyone’s dream of playing Galaga in real life.
But there are signs that the aliens are returning. Levinson finds a holographic map/distress call, and hippie Data hears the screams of captive aliens and interprets it as a celebration. Aw, how sweet of them to remember your birthday! Sure enough, the aliens return in a ship so big, as Levinson notes, “It has its own gravity.” Whole cities fall up toward the ship, and then falls back toward the earth because the continent-sized ship stops having gravity, I guess (and if Man of Steel can do it, by gosh, this film’s doing it too!). “Shouldn’t we be nervous?” Jake asks. “Um, yeah,” Levinson replies. About the aliens or the movie?
Judd Hirsch stares in awe as the massive ship touches down over the whole Atlantic, no doubt boiling the whole thing and wrecking life on this planet as we know it. Jake leaves for battle, and Patricia tells him to “Make them pay.” “I’m not going up there to make friends,” Jake replies. That’s a shame; there might be some very lovely aliens on that spacecraft of death. “We’ve got to remind them Earth is not for the taking,” says Dylan. It’s five easy payments of $19.99 plus shipping and handling.
Planes and spaceships dogfight, more buildings blow up, and we get a glimpse of some alien skulls. “I had years to get us ready,” says Levinson. “We never had a chance.” “We didn’t last time, either,” says Whitmore. Well, except for the clear chance you had to install a 90s computer virus on their alien technology. “We convinced an entire generation that this is a battle we could win,” Whitmore continues. And this time we’ll probably win by switching the alien’s operating system to Windows 10 when they’re not looking. “We sacrifice for each other no matter what the cost,” says Whitmore. $19.99 plus … oh, wait, I already made that joke. “And that’s worth fighting for,” the former president finishes.
Civilians hide underground while the army fires laser rifles, and Whitmore disappears in a cloud of gas while his daughter looks on. We get a glimpse of a giant ground-smashing laser and what looks like a xenomorph judging by the swinging tail (how’s that for a crossover). “It’s the 4th of July,” says Dylan as the alien ships swarm like in Ender’s Game, “so let’s show them some fireworks.” See? Now there’s a guy who knows how to make friends: invite them to a fireworks spectacular. A giant leg slams down on a military vehicle, giving me flashbacks to Godzilla and the MUTO’s leg slamming down. Is there a sci-fi film they’re not ripping off?
And the trailer ends with Jake and Levinson flying through a crumbling Manhattan as the Chrysler Building takes out a bridge. “They like to get the landmarks,” Levinson observed. Yeah; in fact, I’m wondering how that building was still standing after they blew up the Empire State Building and most of New York City twenty years ago. Did they just rebuild every building exactly the way it was?
So based on the trailer, do I recommend the movie? Kinda. The first film wasn’t the greatest, but it had its entertainment value as a disaster/invasion flick with lots of explosions and dogfights. This one certainly has that, but aside from some fond memories of the original cast, the trailer doesn’t have much to make you care about Earth twenty years later or the new characters. Still, that’s only the trailer, and I’m cautiously optimistic for this one. If mindless destruction and Jeff Goldblum’s stammering is your thing, check it out.
But let’s face it, if a ship so big it has its own gravitational pull lands on Earth, our planet is so done.
Independence Day: Resurgence is owned by 20th Century Fox.