Archive for the ‘(Attempted) Humor’ Category

What to Expect In Independence Day Sequels

March 31, 2010

Will Smith announced plans or pre-plans for two sequels supposedly filmed back-to-back to the 1996 mega-hit Independence Day. What follows is a list of what one should expect to see/not see in these two films. Snarky commentary begins now:

Home World

Maybe the aliens’ home planet. With the advanced technology we got from the ship, maybe space travel has grown exponentially in the fifteen or so years since the original invasion. Maybe we’ve started to colonize other worlds and we finally make it to the aliens’ place of origin. But think more Aliens than Avatar. Or, with the sequels being filmed back to back, don’t just think Avatar but think of Clint Eastwood’s 2006 World War 2 films, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima showing the Battle of Iwo Jima from the American POV and the Japanese POV, respectively. Create an entire rich mythology of the alien race and run with it as far as the budget will take you; no one’s saying you need to humanize the aliens.

Aliens Doing Stuff

How about having the aliens do stuff this time around? The spaceships blew stuff up but they mostly just sat around in the darkness of their ships or flailed their arms and killed Crazy Eccentric Scientist Data (he had long hair!!! Wild!!!!). Maybe this time we can see them in action. Even the aliens in Mars Attacks (arguably Tim Burton’s last halfway decent movie) got to run around and have personalities.

Evil Politician Guy

One thing the original Independence Day was lacking (or maybe it wasn’t, I haven’t seen the movie in close to fourteen years) was a truly evil (read: ultra-conservative) politician guy. A true Mr. Vice President (see: South Park‘s “Lice Capades.”) Roland Emmerich (director of the original ID4) tried to remedy this in The Day After Tomorrow with, well, an evil Vice President/Dick Cheney clone but really came to the table in last year’s crapfest/poor man’s rip-off of When Worlds Collide, 2012 featuring Oliver Platt as a man so evil, he realized that not everybody could be saved and that only certain people, important people, people who helped pay for the arks should help rebuild society. It doesn’t matter that his logic made sense, the nicer, more handsome guy made a heart-tugging speech about how everyone deserves to live. And if there’s one thing that’s helpful in a major crisis, it’s playing on everyone’s emotions. The biggest problem with Oliver Platt was that his logic did make some sort of sense (though if you agreed, I’m sure you were meant to feel like inhuman slime). Evil Politician Guy having a stance that someone can get behind needs to be remedied for ID4-2+3‘s Evil Politician Guy. He needs to be a true bastard.

More Trite Speeches

(Sorry for the bad quality)

Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. “Mankind.” That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night!” We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!

So douchey. So, so douchey. But it could be douchier. It could be longer. And there can be more speeches just as bad, if not worse, as that one.

More Hackneyed and Ham-fisted Messages

Roland Emmerich movies have a tendency to make condescendingly ham-fisted points. The points are bleeding heart, idealistic, and dumbed down so much for the masses that the fact that the audience doesn’t revolt shows how dumb they actually are.

In Independence Day we had societal togetherness (in a prayer circle, someone says to prayer circle leader Julius “I’m not Jewish” to which Julius replies with characteristic aplomb “Well, nobody’s perfect.”). In The Day After Tomorrow we had global warming and anti-conservatives and the supposed-to-make-you-think final line “Have you ever seen the air so clear?” from an astronaut who will probably be killed immediately upon re-entry because of how the Earth shifted. In 2012, we had global warming and money is bad (which is why we wanted to see those rich Russian kids die). In the Independence Day sequels, we’ll probably get global warming, pro-Obama, anti-money, and anti-conservatives. But how can we make those gun-toting kill-’em-all Republicans look bad while maintaining the savage monster quality of the aliens? Figuring that out is beyond me but I’m sure we’ll get something about racial harmony.

President Will Smith Says Hack Lines

Now that’s what I’m talking about! It’s practically a given that Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) will be elected President of the United States. (Compared to the ineffectual leadership of Danny Glover in 2012, the fast talking spaceship pilot would seem like a Godsend.) And with that, we’ll probably get more of those (non-)smart-alecky comments that Will Smith probably should be away from at this point in his career.

For those who need a refresher for some of his trying-too-hard-to-be-memorable lines from the original: “Elvis has left the building!,” “I ain’t heard no fat lady,” “I have got to get me one of these,” and “Now that’s what I call a close encounter!” Terrific.

More Animals Outrunning Massive Fireballs

Everyone loves the scene in the first ID4 of the dog outrunning a fireball and surviving. Oh how the audience cheered. Fuck the hundreds of thousands of people roasted alive, the dog survived. (A similar moment happened in 2012 where the dog’s life took precedence over two children ready to face certain doom.) The sequels need more animals doing the same thing. Several dogs, kitties, horses, hamsters, cows, turtles, all just managing to survive the scorching heat of a traveling explosion.

More Drunken Hicks

We all remember the martyrdom of alcoholic hillbilly Russell Casse (Randy Quaid) by attaching a nuclear bomb to his crop duster and flying it into the mothership at the end of the first movie. I am almost certain that people not just cried from that moment but still do every time they re-watch it. And they probably re-watch it a lot.

What I’m envisioning is an entire militia of off-the-grid drunken hicks who worship their patron saint/own personal Jesus, Russell Casse. Casse shouldn’t be back as some sort of zombies, since zombies are kind of getting overplayed right now. But as a ghost, Jedi-style? Could work.

Other Countries

We didn’t really get to see what happened to other countries in the original Independence Day, if I remember correctly. I think all we saw was flaming alien wreckage by landmarks at the end of the film while half-naked Africans threw spears. The worldwide aspect has always been missing from the Emmerich collection of disaster films. Futurama did a better job at conveying global destruction in their episode “When Aliens Attack.” While 2012 showed more non-American landmarks being destroyed than we’ve previously seen in his films, for the most part the international angle was taken care of by a Russian guy and his kids who lived in America and a Chinese guy who can speak perfect English willing to sacrifice himself for the noble Americans. Day After Tomorrow might have worked better had it focused on four unrelated stories from four different countries but then we would have missed out on Susan Ward saving some cancer kid and learning that it’s okay to burn Nietzsche.

More Jewishness

Everyone’s favorite character in the first Independence Day was Judd “My Son David!” Hirsch’s role as Julius Levinson, Jeff Goldblum’s (David Levinson) father. Julius was the equivalent of a Jewish step-and-fetch-it. The epitome of what Borat fears. But could he be more Jewish? Sure, why not. I didn’t see any dreidels or potato latkes in the first movie. He didn’t compare the aliens to Pharaoh or Hamen. The good news is that the former star of Taxi is still alive. Let’s hope the screenwriters are doing what they can to see just how far they can push Anti-Defamation League. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a “Today we celebrate our Passover!” speech. Or not.

True Loss of Life

While it’s difficult to show loss of life on a grand scale in a PG-13 summer explosion spectacular, some sense of loss would be appreciated. In 2012, especially, most of the cities already seemed abandoned when the world comes tumbling down. All that was lost were a couple of buildings and a super limo.

Ships Overturning

I don’t know what it is about Emmerich but he loves giant CGI boats, especially when they capsize with a SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH sound so we’ll probably get that in these movies too.

No Adam Baldwin

Nothing against Adam Baldwin. Actually quite the opposite. He’s too good for these stupid movies.