Give Fox a certain level of credit for not promoting this over a year in advance. They’ve got a near-gauranteed gargantuan blockbuster on their hands just based on the title and hitting the Millennial Nostalgia market at what’s probably going to be its peak (don’t forget: JURASSIC WORLD just got done becoming the biggest hit ever) – regardless of how you feel about INDEPENDENCE DAY (I’ve made my position pretty clear) there’s an audience to whom it’s a generational touchstone who will turn out in force for this – so they can afford to not bury the planet in advertising before now:
In any case, I mostly like what I’m seeing. I’m curious to see how they solve the problem presented by the aliens (part of the charm of the original is that it treats “alien invasion” like an impersonal natural disaster that doesn’t need much explanation or any background, but we’ll probably need some of that this time) and it feels anticlimactic to lose Will Smith’s character offscreen (see below), but otherwise it looks like the best pitch you could reasonably have for this. I’m especially interested in the idea that they’re going with an significantly altered timeline (with the original invasion still dated to 1996 and this being an alternate 2016 world spinning out of those events) rather than futzing around trying to keep a “normal” present like the last three TERMINATOR sequels. Hell, given the ongoing state of the world, “endless war-preparation even as the inciting attack gets further and further into the past” is eerily appropriate.
Along with the trailer, they’ve also launch a “War of 1996” viral site to handle some inter-film worldbuilding. This is where we learn (among other things) that Stephen Hiller (Smith) died in a test-pilot accident (Jessie Usher is playing “Dylan Dubrow-Hiller,” i.e. Jasmine’s now-grownup kid from the first one) and that David (Jeff Goldblum) has become a sort of Steve-Job-but-for-weaponry guru leading the adoption of alien tech by humanity; along with other (potentially) interesting details like surviving Invaders still being alive (and fighting with human troops) in Africa.
So… call it a maybe. Well-intentioned failures aside, Emmerich remains one of the best action-spectacle filmmakers working, and I’m excited to see him return to full-on science fiction after all this time. We’ll find out on June 24th (the July 4 weekend having been previously claimed by Spielberg’s BFG adaptation and, for some reason, Warner Bros’ new TARZAN movie.)
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