INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
INDEPENDENCE DAY: WIEDERKEHR
review by dalia di giacomo + production notes
“THAT’S…DEFINITELY BIGGER THAN THE LAST ONE.”
Decades ago Director Roland Emmerich has redefined the genre with two epic films: Stargate and Indipendence Day. Yes, I dont forget how sensational Stargate was at the times of its release. Indipendence Day: Resurgence, on the contrary , doesnt write history but delivers a good follow up, colossal special effects and a great entertainment in 3D. This film is Emmerich’s first sequel. The movie is indeed a sequel "par excellence": the time-gap between the two movies is easily understandable and many characters of the first film are involved again.
During the press screening and even more now that I write the review, i realized and realize that 20 years have passed in reality too. I was there in 1996, in a theatre, totally high for this movie. I lived the story with an incredible intensity, it is impossible for me to describe this sequel just with fewwords, maybe telling that the expectations were too high and that this sequel may be disappointing. It’s not true : the expectations are not disappointed. By judging this film we should simply understand that this is a kind of war -movie. War is war there is not much to add in a story of war. The same civilizations who fight one another cannot change themselves at the core, neither their mentality and strategies. Moreover there is something new in this movie: a second alien civilization clearly appears, involved in a cosmic fight. The enemy of our enemy is our friend. Isn’it? And the possibility for another sequel is not excluded. I can only agree with production designer Barry Chusid when he notes: “Roland thinks big. When you dream up something big, he would think of something even bigger. He’s always pushing boundaries of scale and scope.” New boundaries of scale and scope, therefore already the new Alien spaceship is a structure of unfathomable size that wreaks havoc with the entire Earth.
Expanded review - characters: 20 years have passed
20 years have passed from the first alien attack, the so called War of 1996: The nations of Earth united and collaborated on an global defense program to protect the planet using recovered alien technology. The world began to restore itself and cities, monuments, landmarks were rebuilded in their former glory. The cooperation among the nations is unprecedented. An extraordinary Defence program and weapon systems have been developed as well as alien hybrid Fighters, whose speed, maneuverability and weapon arsenal is outstanding. In a way, a second attack was clearly awaited. And when The second attack comes the whole defense program is no longer sufficient to grant protection.
The immense force of the attack brings Humanity at the border of the total obliteration. What I like in this movie ist that the old heroes are joined by a new brave generation.
Director Roland Emmerich says “It’s exciting to see this handover from one generation to the next…We have veteran heroes from the first film making way for a team of new ones. With the original cast on set, and off, it’s like a 20-year class reunion—the class of ‘96.” Liam Hemsworth leads the cast of newcomers, portraying Jake Morrison, an orphan who is now fighter pilot of Alien-human hybrid jets. We meet the daughter Patricia of former U.S. president Thomas J. Whitmore, and Dylan Hiller, son of the fighter pilot Steven Hiller, who was portrayed by Willy Smith. Dylan is the leader of the flying Legacy Squadron.
Dean Devlin notes: “The most rewarding part of the project is being on set with these actors again and seeing that they are not just as good as they were then; they’ve gotten even better. When you’re writing the script, you wonder, ‘What’s it going to be like 20 years later?’ Then, our returnees work on this film, and they just light up the screen and our new team shines, as well. It’s the perfect mix.”
I like of course the presence of David Levinson, again portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, now Director of the Earth Space Defense program (ESD). “David knows that another Alien invasion is not a question of if, but of when,” says Goldblum. “He is thrust into this position of responsibility of defending all of Earth against another attack, which is even more massive than the one in ’96. So David tries to come up with a plan that will snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. He is trying to help everyone understand what’s happening with this new invasion. And even though the invasion creates a horrible couple of days, there’s an opportunity for humans to develop an even greater connection with one another. New, incredible, paradigm-shifting, soul-cracking light is shed on the nature of the universe and our place in it and with whom we share it.”
Goldblum further notes that “The Aliens are advanced militarily, but in some ways they reflect some of our own smallest stupidities. They have a disregard for a living planet’s inherent beauty, and a need to exploit resources at the planet’s expense. That could be their undoing, as it could be ours in our real, non-movie world.”
Bill Pullman reprises his role as former U.S. president Thomas J. Whitmore Affected by Alien Residual Condition he has visions and dark premonitions. “Whitmore has been exposed, in an unfiltered way, to the entire consciousness of the Alien fleet,” Pullman explains. “It’s like a shockwave to his brain. But he’s still a hero to the world, even though he’s been sequestered off by his daughter Patricia and a close circle of associates, because Whitmore is convinced, through his visions and intuitions, that the Aliens are coming back—and no one believes him.”
Emmerich adds that Whitmore “has lost himself. In classic drama, this character would be referred to as the fool, a crazy person. The Aliens still occupy his mind. Whitmore was changed by this experience and is now connected to the Aliens’ huge hive-like mind. He knows they’re coming back, and he thinks this time we cannot beat them.”
Jasmine Dubrow Hiller is now a health professional working in a hospital. She is worried that her son Dylan is at the front of the battle. “Jasmine still has a lot of fire, but she's done working as an exotic dancer [her profession in ID4,” says Fox. “She’s now saving lives, delivering babies—and still doing a lot of running.
“That’s life in the Independence Day universe,” she says with a laugh. “People ask, ‘How’s it going on set?’ My answer is always: ‘You run. You run a lot.”
Other two ID4 veterans : I love that Judd Hirsch returns as David Levinson’s father, Julius! And of course I was surprised to see again Dr. Brackish Okun, the long haired scientist who was in charge of research at Area 51 during the time of the initial attack. After having been comatose for two decades Okun is back and like President Whitmore, has visions about Aliens and their plans.
Actor Brent Spiner (the android Data in the Star Trek: The Next Generation series and motion pictures) says: “I always hoped I would be coming back, and the fact that it's been 20 years, well, I think it's cool because who else gets to play a character they haven't played for 20 years?
After a moment of reflection, Spiner concedes, “Ok, Harrison Ford, right? And, I guess, Stallone. Ok, Schwarzenegger, too. But it's still exciting to come back and do this guy again. I'm thrilled that Okun is still alive!”
And finally a new interesting character. In Africa’s Democratic Republic of D’Umbutu, a small group of Alien, survivors from 1996, waged a decade-long war. The country’s new leader is the warrior Dikembe Umbutu, portrayed by Deobia Oparei (Game of Thrones). Oparei notes “Dikembe is Oxford educated, so he speaks with a British accent. He is now the leader and wants to free his people. Dikembe and David Levinson and others find their way into Jake’s tug spaceship, and venture into space, this ragtag bunch of characters—all with their separate missions—and it's fascinating.”