Saturday, December 19, 2015

Independence Day: Resurgence - A Trailer Play by Play

Independence Day is one of my biggest guilty pleasures. There was plenty of anticipation when it first came out, fueled by the early teasers showing aliens effortlessly destroying the Empire State Building and White House. These scenes instantly became iconic, and remain so even after the 9/11 attacks offered us a terrifying real world analog.

The film got a fair share of criticism both at the time of its release and in retrospective view. The characters in particular were seen as thinly sketched or stereotypical, and there are some scenes that are undeniably cheesy. Independence Day makes an admirable effort to show that the entire world is affected by the alien invasion and joining together to fight back, but there are still some jingoistic overtones as the United States makes all the breakthroughs and turns the tide of the war on our own federal holiday.

But the movie essentially marks one of the high points in the sci-fi and disaster genre. It was by turns terrifying, exhilarating, and amusing. The 90s were full of forgettable popcorn flicks putting the planet, or maybe just New York City, in peril. I know plenty of other people who view Independence Day with the same nostalgic fondness I have for it. Do you see the same love for Daylight, that Sylvester Stallone flick about a bunch of people trapped in a tunnel under Hudson River that came out five months after Independence Day? Of course not.

So it's no surprise that there was a lot of excitement when a sequel to Independence Day was confirmed, and it only ramped up when the first trailer dropped.

The first movie was fairly self-contained, but Independence Day: Resurgence makes a reasonable enough case for a real-time sequel. The action is picking up two decades after the first movie, which only makes sense considering all of the returning actors are now 20 years older. There's also an incredibly in-depth official site that offers plenty of tidbits on the extent of the first fight against the aliens and what's happened up until this world's present day.

So without further ado, here's some commentary, wisecracks, and predictions:

The trailer starts with a convoy of United Nations vehicles cruising through the desert. Perhaps the near-annihilation of humanity was enough to spur the nations of the world to cooperate and treat the UN as a sort of world legislature. Or maybe they're still just tooling around ineffectively and trying to bring some sense of order while angry Americans rant about its New World Order chemtrail conspiracies.

"We found something out here," a voice with an Australian accent says. The desolate ground is littered with alien skulls, which the UN team inspects. Several of them are perched on poles in a shrine-like manner, accompanied by some horns that look like they may have come from an African antelope. Oh great, perhaps some new religion has popped up around the Smashy Smashy Sky Gods.

The only person who might understand this? Jeff Goldblum, aka David Levinson! He's hanging out with some dudes with red berets, so he could be in a hell of a lot of areas. But a peek at the official site suggests that they're in Congo, where a group of surviving aliens set up shop for awhile after their friends suffered an explosive beatdown. David gives the same "Oh my God" he delivered upon seeing the alien ships come in over Central Park and then...

When the Australian lady said, "We found something," was she referring to this gimongous thing? Because it seems like that's something that's just there for all people to see. You're looking at it from miles away, for crying out loud. Do you also gaze upon the Himalayas and mysteriously say you've made a discovery?

What we didn't! President Whitmore specifically mentioned that the entire Jerkhole Alien civilization packed up in the mothership like some intergalactic RV and went planet to planet, sucking up whatever natural resources they found. David and Captain Steve Hiller took out the mothership, Earthlings knocked out their other ships, and boom! Justifiable genocide, hooray! There's no more of this particular kind of alien on its way, right?

Levinson does a voice-over about how he's worked for two decades to keep Earth safe from another attack, using the alien tech to do so, and we see that Thor's brother is filling in for Will Smith in this particular film. A wave of hover-fighters departs from some massive military base, and both the engines and a nearby flak gun appear to use the defeated aliens' shiny blue-green alien goo. The logo on the plane looks like it might be the Earth or solar system or something like that.

Levinson laments that the preparations aren't going to be enough as a shadow fall over the Moon and a clearly doomed military team enters a smoky room to find overturned chairs and a dead body. Despite being armed with what looks like the Overwatch rifle from Half-Life 2, a soldier is whisked away by some unseen force.

The voice-over has changed to presumably former President Whitmore, who has been plagued with nightmares about the alien invasion. He's sporting a hermit beard and looks like he chills out in a mountain cabin somewhere. "They're coming back," he says. Perhaps this is a callback to that telepathic connection Whitmore made in the first film. But again, we couldn't cross the Jerkhole Alien species off our planet's enemies list after obliterating their space Winnebago?

It's a conspiracy! Anywho...

A shadow falls over the ocean, covering an oil rig and liquefied natural gas carrier. So we got to play with super-advanced alien technology for 20 years and we still use fossil fuels? Way to go, Texas oil lobbyists. I guess Whitmore owed you something for nuking Houston.

David's father has taken to a life at sea, or he just happens to be on a small boat off the coast of some non-destroyed city. He hightails it out of there as a massive alien spacecraft makes its way into the atmosphere, wreathed in fire and smoke.

By this point, a tinny recording of Whitmore's rousing speech from the first movie is playing. We get a quick look at Dylan Hiller, who is all grown up and part of Earth's defense force. It looks like some alarms are going off.

There's a radio telescope or laser gun or some kind of installation on the Moon. It looks like an enormous alien snowplow is about to take it out.

Hermit Whitmore is decked out in a red tie and an American flag lapel pin, so I guess the post-invasion future still has Republican primaries. A young woman, presumably his grown-up daughter, bangs on a glass window before Whitmore is engulfed in steam. I just finished reading Hugh Howey's Shift series, so my mind is immediately going to nanobots.

A couple of quick shots of the futuristic fighters and their pilots and then...hey, it looks like they rebuilt D.C. after the attack! That's definitely the Mall over to the right. It's a shame that the Jerkhole Aliens are apparently just crashing a giant ship into Georgetown and ruining all that hard work.

Some projectiles rain down on the Moon, propelling an astronaut into the non-air, but his companion catches his foot before he can be launched into space. Some soldiers race down a hallway with atmospherically sparking lights. A group of bigwigs (including a woman who has an American flag lapel pin, and therefore must be the President) is hanging around a swanky Situation Room, which has apparently had its power cut. The door opens and a few guards immediately open fire with non-Combine weaponry.

Three old school helicopters take off from a rooftop; I guess we need those fossil fuels after all. One of them is labeled United States Army, so nationalism is alive and well, too. There's some smoke in the distance, as well as a colored smoke signal, and the woman waving at them (hey, it's Hiller's widow!) seems to be trying to convey some kind of warning.

The Moon building is a laser gun, though it doesn't seem to be doing any good. Perhaps this tiny complement of space fighters can help.

Dylan orders his fellow pilots to fall back during a fierce dogfight, which appears to be taking place over the alien ship as it heads toward Earth. One of the fighters certainly bears a resemblance to the original design from the first film, and it manages to take out a human jet.

The mob bank manager from The Dark Knight is a military officer. Some kind of Futurama-like drone takes off ahead of the destruction on the Moon as Thor's brother helps David aboard. Apparently there's a Hollywood rule now that all disaster movies need to have a scene where a school bus full of children is in peril.

Soldiers with Overwatch rifles fight back against a raid by alien fighters. It looks very similar to the attack on the El Toro base from the first movie, though one of the red beret dudes is there as well. Maybe he and all of these guys are mercenaries in the Congo war, with their fingers on their triggers, knee-deep in alien gore? Anyone? It's "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner," look it up.

Whitmore's speech is still going on, and he gets through "Today, we celebrate our In-" before the audio suddenly goes to static. Luckily the title is there to remind us what day we're celebrating.

The enormous alien spaceship enters Earth's atmosphere. David and Thor's brother watch from the Moon, and an unnerved David comments on how it's bigger than the last one. Indeed, it looks like the alien plan this time around is to just drop a new kind of mothership to the ground and swarm the planet from there. A few lighted areas are visible, including a large city.

Then we get the invitation to pay our respects for the War of 1996 by visiting the official website. David speaks at some kind of TED Talk about alien technology, which apparently gave us the iPhone. Also, Las Vegas is no more but Europe's major leaders managed to survive the first attack.

Looks interesting, and hopefully it won't suck! Right now, Independence Day: Resurgence is scheduled for release on June 24.

No comments:

Post a Comment