Sunday, January 28, 2018

Independence Day 2

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

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Set twenty years after Independence Day, a film which I only foggily remember and did not re-watch to prepare for this review, all the nations in the world have united and live in peace following the original alien attacks. But then the aliens come back and they're like way more powerful than they were in the first one and they wipe out Earth's defense systems and it's up to Will Smith's son (Jessie Usher), the former president (Bill Pullman), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to figure out a way to stop them. And, like... they do. Hooray!

Like I said, I don't really remember that much about the first movie - most of my memories of it got replaced with Mars Attacks! and the first half of Starship Troopers. Thus I was kind of confused that a lot of the characters were introduced with the assumption that I know who they are. Sure, I remember Jeff Goldblum and Jeff Goldblum's dad, and I remember Bill Pullman, but I completely forgot that Bill Pullman had a daughter, Will Smith had a son, and Brent Spiner was in the movie. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure there were some characters dropped in that weren't in the first movie at all but still were presented as though I should know who they are. Given that it takes a full thirty-five minutes of preamble to get to the resurging, the utter lack of any character development is unacceptable.

I was fully prepared to hate this movie as soon as I started watching it so, in the interest of being fair, I did my very best to try to find thing about the movie that I enjoyed. I still ended up disliking the movie, but it had a few good elements and moments.

One of the things that I liked was that alien technology from the first movie was integrated into human technology in this movie. That gave the movie a cool, near-future sci-fi look to it which I found aesthetically pleasing.

The effects were good, so the destruction of major cities was satisfying. That being said, the only reason anybody watches these movies is to see shit getting exploded, so there definitely wasn't enough destruction. An awful lot of time was wasted on talking and emotional stuff (more on that later) that would have been better used showing buildings falling down and people screaming and stuff.

There's one really cool part where Will Smith's son, and Bill Pullman's daughter's boyfriend (Liam Hemsworth) for whatever reason fly on to the alien mothership and then get stranded and find out that the inside of the ship is a fully functioning ecosystem where the aliens live. They then have to evade the aliens on, effectively, their home turf, which is a super cool idea for a movie but, unfortunately, gets chopped down to a single part in this turd because, you know, they have to go back to Judd Hirsch driving a school bus full of kids around.

So... those are the good things. The rest of this review is just going to be a list of reasons why this movie is terrible.

Firstly, all of the characters, about which we are supposed to care, are so one-dimensional. I get it, there's like, nine million characters in this movie so it's really difficult to make any of them in any way realistic but there's a solution to that - don't have so many characters in your fucking movie. Make it about one person for fuck sakes. It's not that hard, most other movies manage to do that without too much difficulty.

Secondly, this movie seems to not understand that today's audiences are cynical as fuck. To be fair, maybe that's just me. I can't be the only person who felt nothing when Vivica Fox is trying to save a LADY who just had a BABY and the ALIENS ARE COMING  and THINGS ARE EXPLODING and she's rushing them to a HELICOPTER and she SAVES THEM but she SACRIFICES HERSELF while her SON WATCHES. Like, first of all, the baby-lady never shows up again in the movie so who gives a shit about her. Second of all, apart from a brief "nooooooo" from Jessie Usher, the emotional impact of watching his mother fall to her death is never addressed. Third of all, people aren't completely stupid, we know when a movie is going out of its way to be emotionally manipulative and we will not stand for it. In fact, the only thing more cynical than today's audiences is the people who wrote this movie and were like "yeah, put a chick with a baby in danger, that'll make people care".

My next problem is of a more scientific nature. It turns out that the reason the aliens have come to Earth both times is to drill down and extract the planet's liquid core to fuel their space ships and "advance their technology" (whatever the fuck that means). The question I pose to this movie is, why would that be at all efficient? It's a pretty good way to fuck up your enemies' planets, that I will grant, but if an alien race had space ships that ran on liquid iron-nickel alloy, would it not be easier to find uninhabited planets and asteroids and stuff that were made of iron and nickel and just... melt it? That would save all the trouble of drilling down through the rest of the planet, because that has got to take a phenomenal amount of energy to do. Also they can't possibly use a whole core all in one go, therefore they must be able to keep it at a high enough temperature and pressure that it will remain liquid for them to use so I ask again why couldn't they just melt chunks of iron and nickel? I know the whole thing is probably a metaphor for oil use or something but still, make your shit make sense, movie.

Supplemental to that point, our heroes manage to stop the aliens seconds before they reach the core with their drills, and there was much rejoicing. But, like, wouldn't there still be a gigantic hole drilled through the mantle? That has got to cause some problems. I'm talking massive - fucking massive - tsunamis and other sorts of geological unrest. They said that the hole being drilled was one mile in diameter, and the outer boundary of the Earth's liquid core is 1800 miles beneath the surface*, that's what, like 1400-ish cubic miles of material displaced? Where did that go?

The movie introduces another race of aliens and hints that there are many, many more, but tells us next to nothing about them. I want more aliens, damnit. Furthermore, the movie ends exactly when it's getting interesting, with Brent Spiner announcing that the friendly alien is going to help the Earthican people take the fight to the bad aliens, which just gives me such a huge lady-boner and guarantees that I'll watch the next turd this franchise craps out.

The worst problem with this movie is that it's actually really boring. Honestly, I didn't mention some of the other stuff that I couldn't make sense of because I wasn't paying attention to most of the movie and it's entirely possible that I missed some details. I can't even say that I hated it because that implies an emotional response and I didn't have one. This isn't a movie that you watch, this is a movie that just happens. I almost turned it off halfway through because I was so fucking bored but I made a commitment to you, gentle reader, to watch this boring excuse for a movie and tell you why it's bad.

- Jeff Goldblum appears in the film (+1)
- William Fichtner appears in the film (+1)
- Explosion! (+1)
Total: (+3)

- Too much chat, not enough splat (-1)
- Will Smith unceremoniously killed off screen (-1)
- Vivica Fox unceremoniously killed on screen (-1)
- Ann from Arrested Development got replaced (-1)
- Horny character with no game (-1)
- Wormholes. Were there wormholes in the first movie? Why was nobody making a bigger deal out of the wormholes? (-1)
- 25 minutes before any aliens show up (-1)
- 35 minutes before the main aliens show up (-1)
- Who the fuck are all these people (-1)
- Aerial battles are convoluted, and remind me of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, a movie I would rather forget (-1)
- Core-drillin reminded me of The Core, another movie I would rather forget (-1)
- Psychic bullshit (-1)
- Science problems (-2)
- All earth nations are united in peace but America is still in charge (-1)
- And yet Bill Pullman wasn't made supreme ruler of Earth at the end of the last movie (-1)
- I want to know more about the other aliens (-1)
Total: (-17)
Final Score: -14 points

Directed by: Fucking Roland Emmerich.  Written by: Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods, Dean Devil, Roland Emmerich, James Vanderbilt.  Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Liam Hemsworth, Bill Pullman, Brent Spiner, Maika Monroe, Jessie Usher, William Fichtner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Deobia Oparei, Nicolas Wright, Travis Tope, Angelababy, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox

*I don't know why I'm using imperial measurements here but bear with me

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