For the same reasons I don’t think that the new Star Wars movie will be Star Wars, this new version of ID4 isn’t going to be ID4 and it’s blatantly obvious from the trailer. ID4 was a popcorn movie. It was, as Harlan Ellison said, a bonehead movie. It was something to turn off your brain and just enjoy the action. That just isn’t what the new movie looks like, judging solely from the newly released trailer. Here’s why Independence Day: Resurgence, at least from the current trailer, isn’t going to work.
Independence Day, also known as ID4, was released in 1996 by director Roland Emmerich and starred Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum and Judd Hirsch. It was the story of a worldwide alien invasion and the fight to defeat them, led by the plucky Americans on July 4. It was a popcorn movie. That’s what Roland Emmerich makes. That’s really all he knows how to make and he’s good at it. Like Michael Bay, who makes big budget movies where stuff blows up, Emmerich makes summer popcorn blockbusters. Everything from Stargate to Godzilla, from The Day After Tomorrow to 2012, they are rollicking rides with lots of silly action, not a lot of plot and are great to just experience, not think about. That’s what he does. That’s what makes these movies great, to one degree or another.
But that’s not at all what the new movie looks like. You don’t take a Roland Emmerich movie seriously. You can’t. I mean, look at Godzilla. Godzilla fans hate that film because it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Toho Godzilla, but as a stand-alone mindless monster flick, it’s fine. Change the name of the monster and it’s no different than any other American B-movie giant creature feature. The same with Stargate, which spawned a massive franchise of TV series after it. Lots of Emmerich films go on to inspire TV series and cartoons because they’re just fun to watch.
Of course we can only go by the trailer and that’s not a lot of information, but my first impression is to pass. Yes, Emmerich is directing, but the feel of the trailer is completely wrong. It feels like he’s trying to make a franchise, not a one-shot, blow-your-wad, have-fun summer movie. It feels corporate. It feels serious. That’s not what I want out of an Emmerich movie. Maybe I’m wrong, I’d be happy to be proven so with future trailers, but at the moment, I’m pretty much convinced that Independence Day Resurgence will suck and I’m hardly alone. I guess I’ll have to keep my fingers crossed that things will change.