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What We Know So Far: Set 20 years after the events of the original, Earth faces the return of the invading alien force, now bigger and stronger based on a distress signal the first wave sent. In the interim, the government and people of our planet have amassed a worldwide defense force using the technology salvaged from the devastated weapons of the first conflict.
The Trailer: Official #1
Dan: It took a while, but one of the biggest blockbusters ever finally gets a sequel. Taking place 20 years later, the trailer reunites us with some familiar faces. Jeff Goldblum’s scientist / exposition guy returns along with Bill Pullman’s president, now with a full on Jerry Garcia beard. Switching from Grateful Dead references to Pink Floyd, part of the action in Resurgence takes place on the Dark Side of the Moon. A new character played by the Other Hemsworth (decked out in astronaut gear) joins Goldblum on the Moon. Some sort of attack occurs. Perhaps it’s a tremor, revealing a hidden base? Will this movie get into conspiracies about why there were no further manned missions to the Moon? Or will it stay more grounded? Other new characters include the offspring of the original’s heroes. Rising talent, Maika Monroe (It Follows, The Guest), seems to be portraying the President’s daughter. I hope this movie help this astounding young actress breakthrough into the mainstream. Monroe’s character joins another bloodline in the sequel. It looks like Will Smith’s Captain Hiller had a son, who follows in his father’s footsteps, piloting a jet against the alien invasion. This sequence looks amazing, like a Star Wars dogfight. Resurgence looks like a lot of fun, while still taking itself seriously. The characters in this movie take the invasion seriously. They aren’t as gung-ho as Will Smith’s fighter pilot in the original. The ominous slow reveal of the alien ship milks the tension perfectly, with shadows reaching across the Earth. Pullman’s President narrates the trailer with his impressive rallying speech from ID4. Sure, it plays on our nostalgia, but we need the reminder.
David: You can search the trailer all you want, and you will not find the one thing you’re probably most looking for: Will Smith. While there has only been one Independence Day film to date, Smith’s Captain Steven Hiller has become iconic, and to have a sequel without him feels almost like casting an Indiana Jones movie without Harrison Ford. Almost. Reportedly, Smith’s salary demands were far too excessive and thus will not be appearing in any of the planned three sequels in production. Still, we have most of the remaining cast back on the job and that surely gives this a lot more “credibility” than if not. The years between the first film (1996) and now have seen a significant change in moviemaking and this trailer reflects a lot of how modern storytelling has shifted on the big screen. Decidedly darker and unabashedly bleak, the trailer hints at a far more serious direction. That is a good thing as audiences today are more cynical and comfortable with more grounded, authentic-feeling plots. I like the look of this trailer and the direction it seems to be taking. Whether it holds to this tone and keeps true to what the clip reveals is a guess, but there are some strong moments in the trailer that make me very interested, starting with the brief shots of a bedraggled former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman). Clearly overcome by the news, something akin to Captain Picard from Star Trek after his connection with the Borg, Whitmore seems linked with the aliens, even announcing his awareness that they will be back. The first film was a cartoonish, tongue-in-cheek patriotic sci-fi adventure that never took itself seriously. It is the definition of a popcorn film. This first sequel appears to be a radical departure, though that doesn’t mean the humor is totally absent. Jeff Goldblum, arguably the real hero of the last movie, is back and while he plays it as dark like the rest of the trailer, offers a last line that suggest some of the snark will be in place when the aliens arrive in July of 2016. Oh and guess what? It’s in 3D. *Sigh*.
Dan Says: Roland Emmerich directs gigantic disaster epics. His films are adventures on a grand scale. Emmerich’s movies include Stargate, ID4, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000BC, and 2012. His first acts are usually impressive. Emmerich really knows how to set the stage, borrowing a lot from the look of Spielberg films. And this is a great thing. The staging (or introduction) of the world and its characters are paced so well. The first 30 minutes of an Emmerich film gets you on the edge of your seat. Unfortunately, most of these movies also fall apart under their own ridiculousness. However, this trailer gives a lot of hope. It’s not exactly the same story, now that Earth is better prepared. That said, the aliens are ready for battle too, sending larger warships this time around. Perhaps the first movie was just a small recon crew, whereas the sequel is the full army? My Sneak Peek Moment is the exciting reveal after the mysterious set-up, when the skies are ablaze with the appearance of a massive alien ship. The dramatic visuals are jaw-dropping, as clouds split and crackle with fire. The sheer spectacle of parting skies (and another look of the ship entering Earth’s atmosphere, with flaming edges) convinces me that Resurgence will have Emmerich’s flavour all over it. Let’s hope the story is a bit better because of it’s more serious approach, and doesn’t fall apart near the end. I don’t want a computer virus to save the day this time.
David Says: I hoping the film is as dark as the trailer suggests. While the first was corny, it’s been enough time since to make this a more authentic story. My favorite character of the original is President James Whitmore and it is great to see him return for the next chapter. My Sneak Peek Moment comes when we see the bearded and scraggly Whitmore, in a suit, standing in a chamber quickly filling with smoke (or gas). Behind the glass, his daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe) pounds on the wall, obviously fearful of what is about to happen to her father. Whatever is happening to him, it feels like it’s sacrificial, and that element has always moved me most about good characters. It feels like something Whitmore would do and I suspect his actions here are intended to prevent something horrific. It’s too early to tell exactly what this implies, but I like the look of it, the weight of it, and the hope it implies. I’m leaning toward liking this trailer and feel that next summer might see a sequel better than its predecessor.