You still here? Good.
I’m going to start out by saying that Independence Day (1996) is one of my favorite films. It was well-written, and there was a good mix of emotional depth and one-liners and nail-biting action to keep me emotionally invested in the movie. When I first saw it when it came out, in the theatre, I was like WOW, this is a damn good movie. Solid 5-star movie, for sure.
Its little brother sequel?
Not so much.
For a movie that had a $165 million dollar budget, compared to the original’s $75 million dollar budget, you’d think they’d have the sense to use a screenplay that…oh, made SENSE.
I think maybe a $1.95 went to buying a cup of coffee that the screenwriters for this one had to share. Which is really sad, considering some of the same names were involved in this one as in the original.
If you want the tl;dr of this movie: A nice and really smart alien Pokemon ball tries to save Earth from bad guys, gets shot down by same ungrateful (and stupid) Earthlings, and then the Earthlings spend the rest of the movie violating all laws of physics and shitting themselves until one Chekov’s gun line from early in the movie is used to kill the bitch queen alien.
I’m not even joking.
For starters, the movie opens with a cheesy “action” scene that sets up the “bad boy” pilot, his best friend, a love interest, an antagonist (the step-son of now-deceased Capt. Hiller) …and we give absolutely zero craps about any of them.
ANY OF THEM.
They could have randomly picked some out-of-work twenty-somethings to fill the same roles, and we could give the same amount of fucks.
There’s an annoying commanding officer who is, of course, the uncle of a girl pilot who is little more than some stereotypical no-agency long hair and exotic Asian beauty
wank fodder love interest for one of those main characters to lust over. (I can’t even remember all their names, they were THAT unmemorable.)
Again, zero fucks given.
We have the character of David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) who I SWORE in the first one was remarrying Constance before he and Capt. Steven Hiller (Will Smith) flew what they thought might be a suicide mission up into space to deliver a virus and a bomb to the mothership.
Unless I miss something somewhere, there was no mention of her anywhere. (Supposedly she died, I guess that was in a book or comic or graphic novel or something, I heard, but I honestly don’t remember anything about that being mentioned in this one. So I spent most of the moving thinking WHERE the FUCK is Constance?)
And David’s father, Julius (Judd Hirsch) who wasn’t a bad comic relief/foil/mentor kind of character in the original movie comes off as cheap and cheesy and idiotic in this one. (And can we address the fact that you cannot drive from Florida to Area 51 in a matter of hours in a fucking car? But fuck physics.)
And why is it that cars in these movies are always like 20 years out of date? “We’re going to trash it anyway, get a cheap-ass one.” So we’ve had alien technology for 20 years, but people are still driving around in 1985 Dodge K-cars, or some shit like that.
As this huge alien ship is coming to land on Earth, it has its own gravity which picks up buildings in one city in Asia (somewhere on the Pacific shore area) and then drops them on top of London and Paris.
#fuckphysics #moarCGI #fucklogic
Insert mental image of me face/palming this whole time.
Meanwhile, the step-son of Capt. Hiller (Will Smith’s character) seeing that the whole Eastern seaboard of the US is going to get destroyed, says, “I have to check on someone!” and flies to New York JUST to coincidentally see his mom, who we meet up with again thirty seconds earlier and is now a nurse, ushering a mother and newborn onto a helicopter, just for her to fall and die herself. At least she was played by Vivica A. Fox, who played her in the first movie. But I guess they could only afford to pay her for about thirty seconds of screen time…
And again, ZERO fucks were given.
I’m still not exactly sure how Capt. Hiller was supposed to have died. (In the real-world, it was probably due to trimming the movie’s budget.) But, HEY, we can work around that…
A character that I assumed died in the first movie isn’t actually dead! No, he’s just been in a FRICKING COMA for twenty years. *cue soap opera dramatic music* Dr. Brackish Okun (Brent Spiner) was apparently cheaper to pay for screen time than Will Smith and Vivica A. Fox, because fuck yeah, let’s just revive him for this one and set him up for a sequel after it.
I. Can’t. Even.
Which is sad, because Brent Spiner actually plays batcrap crazy really well and did a good job in both these movies.
There were a group of kids that are driving in Florida through flood waters (that should have killed them and their car) when they stumble across Judd Hirsch. Then the cross-country trip begins. Oh, they have a dog. I couldn’t tell you a single thing about them other than there was a moody teenaged girl and I think either two boys and a girl or three boys. And a dog.
SAVE THE FUCKING DOG!
Of course they do.
But let me back up. At the beginning of the movie, we see David going to this area in Africa where apparently there was this group there fighting a bunch of the aliens because their ship actually landed and was drilling for something. And everyone’s seeing Pokemon ball icons. (Or sideways power switch icons, which is what I honestly first thought they were, which was even stupider in my mind, until I saw them shoot down the bigger Pokemon ball later on.)
“What are those icons?” everyone’s asking.
Um, on/off buttons? I mean, seriously. You guys have had alien technology for twenty fucking years and the best the movie’s art director could come up with was a sideways power switch icon? (“Oh, just turn it ninety degrees. No one will figure it out!”)
Okay. So anyhoo, big bad warlord dude with agreeably justifiable anger issues over aliens tells some annoying government wonk trailing David around that, “You have to kill them from behind.”
Chekov’s gun, anyone?
I made Hubby laugh out loud when I leaned in and said, “There’s how they save Earth.”
THAT’S HOW THEY FUCKING SAVED THE EARTH.
(It’s a blessing and a curse of being a writer.)
But honestly? They couldn’t have made it any more obvious if they’d just paused the movie, inserted a dang PowerPoint slide with neon lettering, and said, HINT HINT HINT.
It was THAT blatantly obvious.
Especially the second time they used it later on to kill a smaller alien.
(That’s when I poked Hubby in the shoulder and said see I told you so.)
I think he was getting annoyed with me at that point because I was pretty much reciting all of the movie lines–NOT HAVING EVER SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE–before the characters said them, because it was like that $1.95 cup of coffee the screenwriters had to fucking share wore off and they said, “FUCK IT! WHERE’S THE STORYBOARDS FOR MOVIE 1? WE’LL JUST COPY THOSE FUCKERS! THEY’LL NEVER KNOW!”
I mean, almost point for point they copied the plot of the first movie. Now, I’m NOT talking overall plot skeleton of the movie.
I’m talking EXACT PLOT. Right down to saving the fucking dog. (Whom I cared about more than anyone else in that movie, to be honest.)
The father sacrifices himself for a suicide mission to get shit going and kill the aliens. (President
Bartlett Whitmore played by cray-cray Bill Pullman who probably filmed his last scenes first so he could grow that CRAZY FUCKING BEARD.) There’s a presidential speech to rally the troops. There’s a standoff at Area 51. (And BTW, how the fuck did they all suddenly get lockers at Area 51 when they were stationed on the Moon and other fucking places? SERIOUSLY???)
And let’s not forget they had this alien technology. They used their 20 years since the last attack to unify the Earth (okay, cool) but they couldn’t fucking design shit to protect the whole fucking earth, disable the alien force fields and shoot the FUCK out of the goddamned aliens with their OWN SHIT??
(I’m running out of question marks.)
But let’s go back to the Africa thing. This whole fucking movie, I was yanked sideways out of it because I was like, really, okay, you should have started THERE, with a short montage of THAT, of what happened between the attack and now. SHOW US a brief thing, or do a Star Wars crawl, explaining that shit. What did they start with?
RECYCLED FOOTAGE OF PRESIDENT
BARTLETT WHITMORE GIVING HIS INDEPENDENCE DAY RALLYING WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE FIGHTING ILLEGAL ALIENS LIKE DONALD TRUMP AMERICANS SPEECH. And showing us the head bitch queen alien being all pissy about it.
How does she even UNDERSTAND MOTHERFUCKING ENGLISH?
We SAW the motherfucking first movie. That’s like one of THE most iconic movie scenes from the past FIFTY FUCKING YEARS. You don’t use that footage to open the movie like THAT. WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. Show us what we DON’T know.
Oh, and can we talk about the Pokemon ball again for a moment? It’s so fucking smart, but it doesn’t know how to shield itself from the fucking bad aliens? And it can’t send like a message transmission to the Earthlings it wants to save…IN ENGLISH…saying, hey, dudes, we’re on the same team, don’t shoot.
No. It’s such a smart fucking Pokemon ball, it fucking lands IN FRONT OF A SPACE CANNON ON THE MOON. So of course the trigger-happy (rightfully so) stupid humans are going to SHOOT IT THE FUCK DOWN. (I pick YOU, PEW-FUCKING-PEW!)
Or, it doesn’t have shielding capabilities since it’s supposedly helping run a revolution against these bad aliens?
I mean, dudes, I know y’all set this movie up to be #2 of 3 (because, yo, BLATANTLY FUCKING OBVIOUS statement IN the motherfucking movie about it) but assholes, guess what?
WE NEED A FUCKING STORY.
It cannot be all PEW PEW GRAVITY YANKS BUILDINGS AND DROPS THEM DYING PEOPLES PISSY ALIEN BITCHES OH NOES SAVE THE DOG ETC ETC.
And how did that ONE fucking salvage ship survive in the ocean that was spying on the aliens? When the fucking alien ship landed and took HALF THE FUCKING GLOBE WITH IT, there would have been a tsunami that wrecked it. Or at the very least, those mutant fire ants called aliens would have destroyed it, just because.
I’m hoping that Independence Day 3: We’re Retconning and Saying Resurgence was Just a Bad Dallas Dream Sequence and Oh Yeah We Paid for Will Smith This Time is better than this hot mess on a skillet was. I mean, yeah, the CGI was fucking awesome. The problem was, they filled the story with so many logic flaws, physics fails, flat characters, and cheesy recycled story points that I personally could not enjoy it. It is a SERIOUS film-making lesson on what NOT to do. I sincerely hope that Neil deGrasse Tyson fisks the crap out of that movie. Now, I would pay to see THAT.
It’d be more entertaining and less of a disappointment.
I get it. Putting on a sequel to arguably one of the greatest movies in the past 50 years is a MASSIVE fucking burden on a writer. It really is. I GET it. But damn, why the hell was there not an intervention somewhere?
I could have written this review to follow the progression of the movie, but the movie was so choppy and disheveled and shit that I thought giving you a deliberately choppy and disorienting review was fitting.
It was good enough for the writers, director, and producers, so it’s good enough for me.
FYI, if I turned in a book that was written the way this movie was written, my editor would bitch-slap me back to my writing cave and tell me to fix it.
So what’d you think of it?