Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

I probably should have picked a better film to review on Independence Day, but sometimes I am eye roll worthy jokes. Today, the mod struck.

Independence Day is a unique animal. It is a science fiction film the general public generally likes but science fiction fans hate. While I would not go so far as to use as strong a word as hate, the film has many glaring flaws that inhibit my enjoyment. Said problems run from the factual to the conceptual.

Independence Day is about first contact with aliens who visit Earth, many people assume they come in peace up until they begin attacking earth’s major cities without provocation. A marine corps pilot played by Will Smith and the umpteenth weird scientist played by Jeff Goldblum team up to save the Earth along with American President and former fighter pilot Bill Pullman.

Independence Day is definitely a movie to watch for the special effects alone. That assumes you can handle the frenetic pace. It is not as hyper kinetic as Armageddon a couple years later, but it is tough to get in on the action is you are not on a sugar high.

Speaking of sugar highs, you need to also be o one to ignore the sheer ignorance involved in the story. I will grant that most people do not know the Marine Corps does not have fighter jets, so that will not bother many people. But does anyone notice these aliens are traveling in ships fifteen miles long? They do not need to engage in a protracted, costly invasion. They can just fly around and let gravity cause huge tidal wives that drown entire coastal populations. Anyone who has sat through junior high earth science could tell you that.

The movie is not internally consistent, either. Each ship can fire a laser beam from the center of its hull which destroys everything in its path. Yet I the final battle, a plane lies up into the beam unharmed in order to destroy a ship. How was it not incinerated?

Then there is the implausible stuff. Area 51 is the most highly defended government facility in the country, ut it does not bother to have bulletproof glass in a room where they are housing a hostile alien. Brilliant.

Those are the factual problem that ought to objectively bug everyone. I have some personal issues. The president is a touchy, feely liberal who, instead of serving as a patriot commanding Americans to take the lead in saving the planet, but speaks of tearing down borders and uniting as one. Marlarky. It was the US Marines that first struck the aliens an the US Air Force that fights them to a standstill. What did the French contribute/ Body odor asa biological weapon? Hardly, but even when Americans are the heroes, it is so politically incorrect, it has to be ignored hoping international audiences will not notice.

Another prolem is the aliens have no motivation. They just want to kill humans. I have no objection to aliens being uniformly evil even though it is cliché. Nor do I mind xenophobia as their rationale generally speaking, but I want their xenophobia to come from a rationale. What have we done to them to make them hate us? Why are we in their way? What do we have they want? Your guess is as good as mine. All they want to do is kill, kill, kill!!!

It is boring. It is dumb. In my opinion, it is not even worth watching for the special effects unless you have not paid much attention to advances in that area. If not, you may still be dazzled. Careful about your brain cells committing mass suicide if you do decide to watch.

Rating: ** (out of 5)


  1. FYI, the United States Marine Corps has the finest fighter pilots in the world, and they have been flying jets since the Korean War.

  2. The Alien's motivation is we have something they want (world resources) and will exterminate us to get it. Add their bigotry towards anyone different than themselves and you understand the enemy. I don't know why so many people have a problem with that concept, it's happened thoughout HUMAN history.

    I agree the President was a bit of whimp and the notion that the world would unite against these marauding aliens, that was the most unrealistic part. We can't get people of the world to agree what time to eat lunch. The most unrealistic part was showing Iraqi pilots side by side with Israeli pilots. Please, the Muslim world would declared Jihad against the aliens and ram their planes into their shields.