The Top 10 Things I Found MOST Irritating About Independence Day

    A bit of a while ago now, I vaguely remember seeing a trailer for a film that looked interesting and vaguely exciting as a post-modern adaptation of H.G. Wells' interplanetary warfare classic The War Of The Worlds. This film was called Independence Day, and after the first few months of advertising campaigns, it still looked vaguely interesting. However, suddenly, it was held back from release onto the Australia market for reasons that still have yet to be explained. However, my theory was that the film was edited down slightly in order to get the more consumer-frenzy-friendly PG rating that would make parents of small children more inclined to take them to see this film. As parents soon discovered, however, they would have been much better off buying the book for their children, or sitting them down and getting them to listen to Jeff Wayne's classic musical adaptation. Here are ten reasons why this is the case:

10. One critic with whom I do not normally agree (Paul LePetit of the Sunday Telegraph) summed this film up brilliantly with just five words: "American chutzpah saves the world". To look at this film, one would think that there were no military forces outside of the world other than those of the USA. Suddenly, instead of a global conflict, we have the Americans rescuing the entire world from an alien menace. I wonder what the ANZACs, just as one example, would have to say about that...

09. The manner in which the people gathered at various points around the USA, which has to be one of the most paranoid societies of the modern age, seemed ready to welcome the incoming aliens with open arms. Common sense tells you that if a strange object is hanging in the sky above you and looks that threatening, it's an excellent idea to run for the nearest place of refuge.

08. The mere presence of Will Smith. Normally, I do not object to the presence of a single actor in any film, even if it is one as irritating to me as Salma Hayek, but Smith has simply turned verbal masturbation into an art form. With the way he is constantly yammering, one would think he had the physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the mental capacity of Sir Isaac Newton. But let's be real blunt here - I could beat him up with one arm and both legs tied behind my back, and outwit him after having consumed about five straight litres of Russian vodka.

07. Bill Pullman's speech shortly before the open attack upon the alien mothership. America has already forced enough of its crap upon the rest of the world (MTV being a marvellous example), so this speech was far from the rousing hit it was intended to be. I am sure that any Mexican in that squadron would have turned around and let loose a couple of missiles upon the president. Now, don't get me wrong, I think Bill Pullman is a wonderful actor, given his performances in films such as Spaceballs and The Serpent And The Rainbow, but even the best of actors cannot salvage such a sucky piece of monologue.

06. The feigned surprise of the Air Force pilots when their missiles failed to work on the alien motherships. Well, guess what, guys? Those are air-to-air missiles, Sidewinders if I am not mistaken, which are designed to explode upon impact with the outer armour of the target and shatter the outer shell. While this strategy works well for targets with relatively light armour such as fighter planes and helicopters, it is useless against armoured targets. The Hellfire, on the other hand, is designed to melt its way through a target's armour for a second or so, then explode. Which missile would have made the better choice against a hulking body of steel in mid-air? You tell me...

05. The alien mind-meld sequence. Five-year-olds write scripts like that in their head all the time. Where's their multi-million dollar budget?

04. The obvious errors of aerodynamics. Even if you discount the fact that aircraft shaped like those alien vessels would be more likely to fall apart than fly in our atmosphere, there's still the small problem that no Earthly fighter plane (except maybe the Harrier jump-jet, and even then I doubt it) could fly into the alien mothership that way.

03. The manner in which the Secret Service suddenly reveal to the President that they have been secretly hiding an alien fighter craft in a hangar for years, waiting for a sticky moment like this. One secret service agent tries to explain this with two words: "plausible denial". I have fifteen that would have summed it up much better: "we've painted ourselves into a plot corner and this is our device for getting out".

02. The use of a computer virus to bring down the aliens' grand-mothership. Do you honestly expect me to believe that an alien computer is going to even make sense of human programming codes, leave alone be affected by them?

01. The fact that H.G. Wells' brilliant work was pillaged to make this film in the first place. If truth in advertising laws were as effectual as I would like, the commercials for this film would have had to have begun with a shot of the man rising from his grave out of sheer torque.

Rating 0/10
© Dean McIntosh
February 11, 2000
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