If you were watching football all day — who doesn’t watch football all day on Sunday? — then you got a commercial break worthy of any halftime show set up slot: the trailer for the sequel to the 1996 film, Independence Day, or ID4 if you remember the sly introduction to computer abbreviation terminology. It’s called — brace yourselves — Independence Day: Resurgence. Catchy, huh? Here’s the catch: it doesn’t come out until June 2016.
What’s that you say? The first one was bad enough, why do we need another? Well, for all you naysayers and anti-fun people who think all the best movies are written and directed by Europeans with names none of us can pronounce and movies with high box office numbers are disqualified from being labeled “good” simply because if their mass appeal: this is America and mass appeal wins every time. ID4 grossed more than $306 million just here in the U.S. of A. since its release in 1996 and over half a billion worldwide. The big question is: what took them so long?
The second question is: how can you make a true sequel to such a hit movie without its number 1 star? No Will Smith? Okay, well, if it doesn’t have Will Smith how good can it be? We don’t know really, but Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Bill Pullman … and that’s about it from the original cast — oh wait: Vivica A. Fox is back. Hold on a minute: didn’t her character, Jasmine, marry the Will Smith character in the original? How does that work? The star’s character is killed off … yeah, okay, this film is getting less believable as the build up hype goes along.
In 1996 it was plausible to suggest aliens would invade the planet and destroy everything, starting with the White House and Hollywood, but to suggest that 20 years later the one guy who piloted the alien craft — with absolutely no training whatsoever — that was key to destroying the aliens wasn’t going to be around to help save the day when the aliens came back, but his wife would and she would play a role in helping to save mankind … nah, that’s too far-fetched. You gotta make these types of movies believable, make it easy for us to suspend our cynical skepticism for two-plus hours. Remember how audiences cheered when the White House got blowed up? That hooked everyone and we were on board with that movie.
Some sequels get by without key characters. Godfather III for example. Not as good as the first two, but still really good, even though Paramount refused to kick out the dough to include actor Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, the “family” lawyer. So everyone was thinking, “How good can it be if Tom Hagen isn’t in the story?” Sure, they got the ever-tanned and handsome George Hamilton to play the family lawyer B.J. Harrison, plus they added Joe Montegna and Eli Wallach to the cast as low level bad guys … as if Don Michael Corleone was a good guy … but no Tom Hagen? It was a pretty good movie but it could have been better.
So, we have this giant hit of a science fantasy movie coming out — without the number 1 star of the original — and we’re expecting it to be good? Roland Emmerich directs and I bet a lot of people stumble over the pronunciation of his last name, so there’s some hope it will be good. But a retired president somehow has a role to play in saving the world again? There’s a woman president, played by Sela Ward and so, oh yeah, she needs a man, an old man at that, to save the day. Well, it’s Hollywood, what do you expect?
Then there’s Liam Hemsworth, the brother of Thor. You might remember Liam from The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games and the big hit: The Hunger Games parts 1 and 2 Tne End (we hope). There’s even an actor named Gerry Garcia. He plays a busboy, but you’ll get no snide remarks from me. The young guy comes from an athletic family and he’s a martial artist.
Then there’s Brent Spiner … oh wait, Data was in the original, playing Dr. Okun. Wasn’t he killed by the alien when their attempted autopsy went violently wrong? Apparently not. Data … err, Brent Spiner … is resurgent as well. William Fichtner is in this one. He was in Armageddon, which came out a year after ID4 and was a box office smash. Fichtner played a great character in the HBO series, Entourage (Phil Yagoda). He usually plays characters you sorta like, but then you think, “What a knob.”
There are a couple of young actresses in it to keep an eye on: Maika Monroe, a kite-boarding athlete and Joey King, who went to Whitefish Bay High School, in Whitefish Bay, WI, a suburb of my hometown of Milwaukee.
So, here is the trailer for ID4-2. You’ll go, “Wow, I gotta see this!” But remember Godfather III. Wasn’t it a little disappointing without Robert Duvall? I’ll be going to see it for sure, but there will be that lingering doubt, wondering how much better it could have been if Captain — maybe General — Steven Hiller (Will Smith) had been there to help save the day. Just sayin’.
All photos from YouTube trailers of Independence Day and Independence Day: Resurgence.
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality.