Apart from that we old. Really old.
Ah, Independence Day. The golden crown of the golden era of 90s action movies. Growlin’ Bill Pullman and his barnstorming speech that a friend of mine still regularly texts to me in its entirety. Will Smith knocking out bio-mechanical-suited aliens with one punch and a pithy one-liner; aliens who despite learning how to traverse galaxies and consume civilizations, hadn’t figured out how to install antivirus on their fancypants PCs. Tunnel fires that politely sweep past open doorways instead of incinerating pole-dancing military wives and their loyal canines. Motherships that were brought down remarkably close to, but fortunately not on top of, an array of iconic global monuments. It may have been flawed, but it was magnificently so. It blew my 12-year-old mind like it blew the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the White House into mere dust fragments.
And it’s back. 20 years after the original’s release, Independence Day: Resurgence is coming out next June and this week the first full-length trailer was released online. It’s loud. It’s explodey. Most importantly, it includes The Speech. They know how to sell it, and they’re selling it harder than Secretary Nimzicki’s nuke-first-ask-questions-later option. So what do we know?
1. Captain Hiller isn’t coming home this time – but the cooler guys are
Okay, so we knew this was coming. The official line from returning director Roland Emmerich was that Smith was “too expensive” but we all know that means Smith just probably didn’t fancy it. But that’s OK, because the people we loved more are back: like sexy TV cable repairman and recycling-Nazi David Levinson, finally being treated with the respect he deserves (in your face Nimzicki, you snivelling little weasel). Also returning, thank you Jesus, is President Whitmore with a beard that screams ‘reclusive, troubled alcoholic’ and an orange glow on his face presumably emanating from the cosy fire in his secluded Minnesota log cabin. “I see them in my dreams,” he growls, “and they’re coming back.” Having been mind-probed by the captured alien in the first film we can only presume Whitmore will be back as some kind of tortured freelance alien strategy consultant, but hopefully not before we see him flipping a table and hurling a whisky bottle at the government flunkie sent to persuade him to help out. “Get out of here, God dammit!” he’ll almost certainly shout. “Can’t you see I’ve suffered enough?!”
2. The bad guys are back… and humans have stolen their technology
The premise of Resurgence is that even though America opened up a can of whoop-ass on the aliens and taught the rest of the stupid countries how to do it (a missile to the middle to all the other glaringly weak motherships presumably did it, unless it absolutely had to be attached to the plane of an reluctant pilot; worst game of Rock Paper Scissors EVER) the invaders managed to send out a distress call to their homeland. When some jumpy UN soldiers find a collection of suspiciously spiky-looking painted skulls in the desert, there’s clearly only one man they can call. Levinson, now apparently the head of the Earth Space Defense (ESD) programme, is a bit miffed. “I spent 20 years trying to get us ready for this,” he says, before revealing, “we used their technology to strengthen our planet… but it won’t be enough.” That rather begs the question of why he’s still in the job if he lacks so much confidence in his own work, but anyway, cue various shots of super-advanced jets taking on the returning invaders. We must have some kind of protective shield over our hull, Knights.
3. President Whitmore is stepping back into the breach
He’s a combat pilot, Will. He belongs in the air. And from the looks of things, he can’t get enough of that hot alien action. The trailer shows him stepping into a dry ice-filled chamber, in what rather looks like a backstage shot from the beginning of an X-Factor audition. But rather than a gormless pair of Geordies egging him on, what appears to be his now grown-up daughter ‘Munchkin’ (shudder) is screaming at him to stop. Which is what Ant and Dec should really do each time, come to think about it.
4. “That is definitely bigger than the last one…”
Make no mistake, the next generation of aliens are ready for a tussle and they’re badder than ever before. Their ships are massive, breaking through the clouds with even more fire and aggression. Incompetent human soldiers with glowy guns are getting swept away with no warning. There’s a nice homage to the classic opening scene of a shadow ominously creeping across the moon.
There are a couple of clues that we may be following a familiar pattern as before. Except this time Smith is being replaced with Liam Hemsworth as the guy wearing a pilot suit who swaggers confidently into the mission launch area (happened before) hugging his girlfriend goodbye (yep seen that) and joining Jeff Goldblum on a special dual mission to sabotage stuff while everyone else gets involved in a jet-on-jet dogfight (seen that, too). Well, that’s how sequels work these days I guess, but we at least better get to see Goldblum’s ridiculous hip-strut again like we did after he touched down in the desert at the end of the last film.
5. It’s probably worth a look
We might not be getting everything we want (I would demand the return of the excellent Robert Loggia as the loyal General and Nimzicki-hater William Grey, though sadly Loggia died earlier this month) but it looks like 2 hours of daft blasty fun, that hopefully comes with a massive dollop of nostalgia. There was an undercurrent of comedy to the first film, largely supplied by the decent double-act of Goldblum and Smith; Liam thusfar has been the less watchable of the Hemsworths (brother Chris plays Thor in the Marvel films) so it remains to be seen if he can bring the funny.
And there’d better be a speech. It could never be as good as the first one, but we can only hope. God bless you, President Whitmore. We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! You know the rest.