When the Independence Day sequel is released next year, it will be just shy of 20 years after the original alien invasion disaster film debuted. Fox has announced that the film will officially be titled Independence Day: Resurgence and has provided a brief synopsis. In the years since the invasion, humanity has reverse-engineered the alien technology to create a planet-wide defense system in case more aliens attempt to invade. Of course, they do anyways, apparently with even more advanced technology. Most of the stars not named “Will Smith” will be reprising their roles, and we also got a couple of cool photos of a spaceship / mech. So, I am excited, right? Far from it – this will be an unmitigated disaster.
First off, let’s talk about Roland Emmerich. After Independence Day was a huge hit, he basically got carte blanche to do whatever he wanted. And, with the exception of The Patriot and Anonymous (seriously, how weird is it that these are Roland Emmerich movies?), what he wanted to do (and still wants to do) is blow shit up over and over again. Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 10000 BC, 2012, and White House Down are all particularly egregious examples of mindless blockbuster disaster flicks. How many failures are we going to withstand in deference for the one semi-competent offering he gave us two decades ago? And, what are the odds that the strength of that film comes from strong character actor performances, plus catching Will Smith’s meteoric rise at the ideal moment? You can argue all you want about how good or bad the original is (and plenty have), but you must admit that Emmerich behind he camera has to be a net negative.
Emmerich’s mark will also be on the written page, as he is also writing this screenplay. But, at least he has four co-writers to help him out. That’s right – five writers for this screenplay, though Emmerich and Dean Devlin are credited as writing the characters (so, they may be getting writing credit for the first movie and have no hands in this screenplay) and two of the “writers” are actors in Independence Day: Resurgence. You can’t feel too good about five separate writers on a big budget blockbuster like this, but maybe this is a situation where Carter Blanchard is the main writer, and the other four writers contribute to fleshing out the characters, both new and old.
The other possible saving grace of Independence Day: Resurgence is undoubtedly the acting talent. Jeff Goldblum and Vivica Fox return, as does Bill Pullman and Judd Hersch (but no Adam Baldwin, sadly). We also get some new additions like Liam Hemsworth and William Fichtner and a bunch more. The original film definitely succeeded on the strength of its ensemble cast and some truly rousing scenes and performances. The only hope we have is that somehow Emmerich strikes gold twice and everything gels together again. Because if this film fails, it fails really hard.