The first “Independence Day” movie, released in 1996, centers on an alien invasion of Earth. Characters from different American cities mobilize against the threat and join forces to (spoiler alert!) defeat the alien invaders. Stars of the film included Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Mary McDonnell, Vivica A. Fox, and many others.
And after 20 years, it's time for a sequel: “Independence Day: Resurgence.”
Director Roland Emmerich, who directed the first film and is returning for the sequel, discussed the thinking behind the title at a recent press conference. “We call it, in the film, the War of '96,” he said of the first movie’s events. “It’s like a … generation that’s unified, and that’s amazing to see a world come together with a common enemy. That’s a resurgence.”
Cinema Blend posted an official synopsis of the new movie: “Independence Day was just the beginning. We always knew the [aliens] were coming back…. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.”
Returning cast members include Mr. Goldblum, Mr. Pullman, Ms. Fox, and Brent Spiner, while newbies include Liam Hemsworth of the “Hunger Games” films, Maika Monroe of “It Follows,” and “When the Game Stands Tall” actor Jessie Usher. Mr. Usher is playing the son of Fox, according to Cinema Blend, while Ms. Monroe plays Pullman's daughter and Mr. Hemsworth is a fighter pilot who now works on the moon.
“Independence Day: Resurgence” is scheduled for release in June 2016.
The original film was the highest-grossing movie of 1996, according to Box Office Mojo, but it wasn’t well-received by critics – it currently holds a score of 59 out of 100 on the review aggregator website Metacritic. So what kept the movie in the public’s mind over the last 20 years? Matt Barone of Complex called it “tremendously ludicrous yet undeniably awesome … every self-respecting movie buff succumbs to cinematic junk food once in a while. 'Independence Day' is a king-size Butterfinger bar.”
Variety writer Rachel Abrams agreed that the movie is simply enjoyable, calling it her “favorite movie of all time.… I’ve never had more fun in a movie theater than I did during ‘Independence Day.’ ”
Daniel D. Snyder of the Atlantic, who describes “Independence Day” as “the best Fourth of July movie," wriites, "Of course, in 1996 it was still just mindless fun, but watching it now, it somehow feels even more outlandish....Watching 'Independence Day' today is like peering back through time to an era where we could overcome any obstacle simply by hurling a bunch of fighter jets at it and drop a few bombs. Of course, there was never a time when things were that simple, but there certainly a time when we thought they could be."