It may enjoy a reputation for hammy performances and an almost "whimsical" approach to gargantuan sci-fi destruction compared to the gritty action films of today, but back in 1996 no one had ever seen anything quite like Independence Day. Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin's game-changing spectacle (arguably the film that officially turned Will Smith into a box-office titan for several years) rewrote the book on how blockbuster movies were made and marketed.The film received mixed reviews from critics in its day, but ID4 (as it's also known) has become a perennial Fourth of July favorite and a nostalgic touchstone for a generation of "90s kids" for whom it was a formative moviegoing experience.
Today, fittingly on Earth Day, the second trailer for Independence Day: Resurgence has arrived to give fans who've waited 20 years for a sequel a view of the new world they'll be walking into.
Whereas the original Independence Day took place in a more-or-less close approximation of the world as it existed in then-present 1996, Resurgence is (by necessity of plot) set in an alternate-timeline 2016 where surviving the original alien attack has drastically changed the world: Technology has been rapidly advanced by adopting alien engineering techniques, the moon has been colonized and a global military force, Earth Space Defense, has been preparing for potential re-invasion ever since - only to be caught off guard when the invaders return with bigger ships and a new gravity-based superweapon.
Along with showing off new scenes not seen in earlier spots, the new trailer lays out more of the film's storyline and the backstory of some new characters. Specifically, it confirms a key plot element that was previously only known to fans who visited the sequel's alternate-history viral website: Will Smith's character from the original, Captain Stephen Hiller, was killed in a test-flight before the new film begins - and Jessie Usher's ESD pilot character is Dylan, the now-grown stepson of Hiller and Vivica A. Fox's Jasmine (played by Ross Bagley in the original film). Also given prominent focus is Maika Monroe as Patricia Whitmore (Bill Pullman's now-grown daughter, played by Mae Whitman in the original film) and Liam Hemsworth as Jake Morrison, a new character.
The trailer also shows off several big-scale FX sequences, including the gravity-weapon destroying London as seen in earlier trailers ("They like to get the landmarks," observes Jeff Goldblum's David Levinson - now the head of ESD) and a massive outdoor rally seemingly commemorating the 20th anniversary of the original July 4th victory. Most intriguing of all, though, are brief glimpses of an sequence taking place at an airfield on Earth, where destruction is being caused not by alien ships but by what appears to be a Godzilla-sized version of the bio-mechanical battle-suits worn by the invaders in the original film.
Notably, the trailer also sets up what looks to be the film's theme: The defense plans set up by the older characters of the original appear woefully inadequate against the regrouped alien threat, leaving it to the younger generation who've grown up in the aftermath of the first war to find their own path to victory just as their parents' generation did - a theme that's likely to resonate with a younger generation of moviegoers in the U.S. in particular, who've themselves grown up in the aftermath of still-reverberating events like 9/11 and the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Whether or not Resurgence will gesture towards any other big themes remains to be seen, but the original Independence Day did lean heavily on messages of global unity and international cooperation.
Along with the trailer, as part of Earth Day Celebration to "help us all defend our planet," Fox is selling the original Independence Day for a limited time low price of $0.99, with all of Fox's net proceeds being donated to Earth Day Network! Get your $0.99 download of ID4 here: http://bitly.com/1qWSDvc. Fans can also participate in a global #IndependenceDayLive Earth Day Watch Party, starting at 4pm PT by following #IndependenceDayLive and @IndependenceDay.
Independence Day: Resurgence opens in U.S. theaters on June 24th, 2016.