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Independence Day 2: Resurgence was an insult to a legacy - Elf M. Sternberg
Independence Day 2: Resurgence was an insult to a legacy
I finally watched Independence Day 2: Resurgence, and my initial hopes that it would be a fine movie were dashed by about the halfway point. Just a warning: this rant contains spoilers.
TL;DR: Independence Day 2: Resurgence draws you in with impressive and promising world-building in the first half hour, which it then completely discards and even contradicts in order to deliver an idiotic action-movie set-piece finale.
The film opens with an amazing bit of world-building. It's been twenty years since the first movie, and twenty years in the movie's universe. Humanity has taken apart much of the aliens' techonology and learned reliably from it. All the tech the aliens had, we now have. Plasma cannons, anti-grav, man-portable cannons, tractor beams, force shields, battery-sized fusion-based power plants, the whole kit the aliens brought with them in the first movie are now ours. We have bases on the moon, Mars, and even one of Saturn's moons. The alien tech is mostly hidden, incorporated into what we already do, so everything looks familiar; Marine One still looks like Marine One, it just doesn't use rotors anymore.

Even better, a few of the alien ships didn't crash; they managed to land, and humanity spent the next decade after the defeat of the mothership fighting wars with the aliens. Conveniently, this mostly happened in Africa and Southeast Asia. The result is that we have a lot of highly experienced alien hunters, in both high- and low-tech varieties, as well as a massive prison population of aliens. Up until this point, the world-building has been fairly well-handled.

The film goes off the rails when it's revealed that the alien ships are hiver ships; every ship has an alien queen, and when the queen is killed the rest of the aliens become comatose. Wait, what? Didn't the film also tell us that recently unqueened aliens become aggressive and continued fighting?

We're introduced to a new player, a refugee from another world and a previous alien attack. Her (voice is definitively female) species is completely digital and uploaded, yet for some reason needs an eight-foot-wide sphere to house its consciousness, has no ability to von-neumann up an entire starsystem in its defense, and lacks even rudimentary defenses.

It's also the biggest threat the aliens face, their boogieman in the silicon. So when the refugee reveals itself to humanity, the aliens respond with a devastating plasma weapons attack on the site from orbit, followed by high-yield fusion nukes, just to make sure, right?

Just kidding. In one of the most idiot plot moments in SF history, the alien queen leaves her vessel to take out the defenseless refugee on her own. We see her in one scene communing with advisors. Her advisors know that outside of her ship's powerful shields, the lesser shields of her shuttlecraft can be taken down by the humans' new weapons. Her advisors know that outside of her ship, she'll be vunerable. Her advisors know they have armed and armored personnel carriers that could invade and destroy the Cheyenne Mountain redoubt, because they already did so earlier in the film! But no, she has to handle this herself, and so chooses to take her personal Queen's "yacht" out.

There are a lot of other problems with the film. Apparently, despite all the tech they have, the aliens require fissionables to power their starships, and the bulk of Earth's trans-uranics are in its core, so Humanity's deadline is set by the mothership's massive drill operation. But that doesn't make sense; with their tech, there are lots of other ways to harvest fissionable material from the universe. When the refugee's ship is initially destroyed, no one from the moonbase goes out to look at the remains (WTF‽‽‽); David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum's character) has to have his hot-shot pilot friend steal a shuttlecraft to go check it out. And the movie is by Roland Emmerich; his penchant for crushing, burning, and mangling bystanders is only slightly restrained from the grotesqueries of 2012, but not by much.

Can we stop with the whole "alien queen" trope? Queens are not the brains of the hive: the hive is the brains of the hive. Queens are at best the uterus of the hive. Aliens, Independence Day, even Star Trek: First Contact have run out this idea. In any case, if you're injured neither your brain or your reproductive organs have evolved to leap out and avenge you.

Someone should make a Hellstrom's Hive movie and give us an alternative idea of what an SFnal "hive" would look like.

While the world-building, visuals, and science-fictional aspects are actually less insulting than those of Armageddon, The Transformers, or Battleship, the result is significantly less entertaining. Even the nostalgia-inducing aspects of seeing Jeff Goldblum, Vivaca Fox, Brent Spiner, Judd Hirsch and Bill Pullman doing their thing lack the emotional resonance needed to sustain it.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
sirfox From: sirfox Date: November 30th, 2016 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
one feasible (not that i've seen it used) "queen / hive" situation is, after dealing with classic 'ALIENS-queen' trope in the initial invasion/ infestation, and then learning more, we find out, no, this is the immune system of a bigger and far more complex hive.

Rather like our own system detects an intruder/infection, and then basically sends off a chemical wanted poster to the nearest lymph node which swells up and starts bursting forth lots of very targeted attack cells.

you'd hafta come up with a far more complex hive dynamic for the second half, and Hollywood is incapable of resisting putting tits on the eventual queen. *shrug*
resonant From: resonant Date: December 5th, 2016 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I would watch a movie where a spleen avenges the death of the rest of its body.
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