Before I really get going, I just need to warn everybody first: The following post contains major spoilers for the new Independence Day movie (and the one from ’96). If you haven’t seen it and care, maybe skip this post until you’ve seen it.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s go!
This past weekend my wife and I went to go see the new Independence Day movie. I can’t say I went into it with high hopes, but I loved the first movie when I was younger, and at the end of the day, I’m a fan of explosions on a movie screen, so I went.
Overall, I’d have to give the movie a great big “meh.” I wasn’t surprised, but I was disappointed, and a little surprised. I loved almost all the characters from the old movie (I think Bill Pullman is the best movie president ever), and with so many of them returning, I thought I’d at least enjoy them.
But the movie was flat. It had plenty of explosions. In fact, my wife said the “booms-per-minute” ratio was off the charts, but I wasn’t entertained, and I’ve been thinking about why.
There’s a lot one could say, but I think for me, it was that the story seemed to lack any real meaning. China is literally picked up and dumped on top of Europe, killing at least millions, and I didn’t feel a thing. Even in the first one I was bummed when the exotic dancer died when LA was attacked.
Ultimately, stories need to be about people. People we care about, even if only a little. If not, they are empty and devoid of purpose. I know a lot of people bash the proliferation of CGI these days, and there may be a truth there, but the root of the problem is not in CGI. I believe you can have great movies with great effects. The problem is when spectacle take priority over substance.
For me, it reinforced my belief that even if I want to write stories that are epic in scope, they are all about people. Because those are the stories that matter.
Until we meet again, keep reading!