Viking Night: Independence Day
By Bruce Hall
July 7, 2016
Alien invasion movies are, on the surface, a dumb idea. There is no mineral or natural resource present on this planet that cannot be found in abundance out in space. So the need to waste a bunch of blood and treasure building super giant ships with massive, city killing death rays on them really isn’t there. Now if the aliens are just dicks, like in Mars Attacks, then I totally understand. If you’ve got the time and the technology, there’s something to be said for visiting another world, only to inconvenience the people already living there.
It’s amazing how Christopher Columbus inspires us still, to this day.
If the aliens are allegorical in nature, so much the better. Remember the evil aliens (warning – 30-year old spoilers ahead) from V, who built giant saucers to steal our water and pack us all up like TV dinners? Did you know that the rings of Saturn are almost nothing but ice? And with that much water, growing food is the easiest thing in the world. So why visit earth at all? And imagine what it was like for a space lizard, who can’t regulate his own body temperature, to walk around wearing a heavy wool uniform over his fake rubber people suit? Yeah. It’s all kind of stupid, when you think about it.
But didn’t it all make a wonderful historical allegory for Nazi occupation? That’s what you were supposed to be thinking about. Plus, wasn’t it awesome when they peeled their faces off? My young, dumb ‘80s ass was perfectly happy to watch Marc Singer’s enormous nostrils and Michael Ironside’s resting bitch face save the world, one space lizard at a time. It was such a wonderful, different time.
And then there was Independence Day. When I first saw it, I failed to recognize it for what it was, and found myself a little put off by how obnoxious it is. There are actual explodey opening credits, which forced me to confirm that I had not, in fact, accidentally started watching Wrestlemania XII. Being kind of a nerd, I noticed, just as I had the first time, that there is more scientific imprecision in the first five minutes of this film than both volumes of my Robo Ninja Jet Squad saga put together. It’s as though everyone associated with Independence Day intentionally avoided even the most rudimentary research on anything related to the story. That’s not necessarily a crime, but it gives the movie a distinctly idiotic tone.
Nothing about the moon, the Earth, the military, politics, science, or even basic human behavior in any way resembles anything that ever happens in real life. Nobody will ever convince me that this screenplay was not written by a particularly afflicted head injury patient. I see the pages being handed straight to the director and filmed immediately after they were written. This would be the first, but certainly not the last time someone obviously kidnapped Roland Emmerich’s family and said “You have seven days to film the most obnoxiously stupid disaster movie ever, or everyone dies.”