I was a big fan of Independence Day back when it was released in the summer of 1996, mostly for the large-scale spectacle and tongue-in-cheek fun it delivered. There had been plenty of alien invasion before then, but none with its level of realism. It did for alien invasion flicks what Jurassic Park did for dinosaur movies. (That said, there are quite a few moments look shoddy these days, as there was a lot more model work than we're used to seeing, and some of the greenscreen compositing isn't great.) Now, 20 years later, here comes the sequel everyone expected we'd be seeing a lot sooner than this: INDEPENDENCE DAY - RESURGENCE. Is it a sign director Roland Emmerich's all out of fresh ideas? Perhaps...
But judging from this first trailer, there exists the chance to do something quite interesting. The passage of time for both audiences and characters means IDR is now taking place in an alternate universe, where humanity's spent the past few decades improving our defences using alien technology scavenged after the first attack's victory.
Judging from the footage here, this is mainly shown as fight jets with better manoeuvrability because they appear to have anti-gravity tech bolted on? And I'm going to guess that getting into space and visiting the moon's a whole lot easier in IDR's imaginary present? Common sense says that most of our capital cities haven't been rebuilt in their entirety, so I'm sure we'll see how the loss of Washington D.C, London, Paris, etc, has altered geo-politics. Have the people of the world maintained their sense of solidarity, leading to something of a utopia, or have we fallen back into old ways? It seems this tie-in website may eventually elucidate us in the build-up to the film's release.
Now, it's very likely IDR won't delve into this interesting aspect of its backdrop too heavily. It's ultimately another sci-fi action movie about a bigger, badder, angrier alien force coming back for a rematch. Expect lots of explosions and jet-vs-flying-saucer dogfights. This trailer is a lot darker than I was expecting, but that's a sign of the times.
I just wonder if IDR is going to work as a sequel, considering that three of the main reasons I enjoyed the original aren't part of its makeup: the once-impressive special effects are ten-a-penny these days, you can't destroy famous landmarks like the White House a second time, and Will Smith's decided to sit this one out. A wise move on his part, for the man who said 'yes' to Men in Black 3? We'll see.
The IDR trailer certainly isn't bad, but if it wasn't a sequel to a very popular movie that paved the way for a lot of the CGI-heavy blockbusters around today, I don't know if I'd be that excited. Although, sure, it's nice to see Jeff Goldblum in a mainstream blockbuster again.
Independence Day: Resurgence premieres 24 June 2016 in the U.S.