I saw “Independence Day” the summer it came out, although not right away. I had to be sucked in by the hype and by the (generally) good word-of-mouth, fool that I am. I tried to relax into the spirit of no-IQ Hollywood fun, but I discovered, not for the first time, that there’s a threshold to my suspension of disbelief, and perhaps it’s located at the point where we’re asked to believe average people can fly F-15 fighter jets after half an hour of training.
I was so mystified by this moronic film’s popularity that I dashed off a column saying, in effect, what the hell? For the newspaper equivalent of a summer movie, the column’s impact amazed me. I got tons of mail and phone calls from other disappointed moviegoers. My favorite single comment came from a total stranger, who pulled his car to the side of the road when he saw me walking down a sidewalk in downtown Fort Wayne, rolled down his window and shouted, “I thought that movie sucked too!”
This weekend greets yet another preposterous disaster film from the same director, The Day After Tomorrow, and early reviews say it’s more of the same. Actually, movies like this aren’t so bad, because the pans are fun to read. My old screenwriting prof Terry gets a joke in his very first paragraph: We first meet Jack Hall, the dashing climatologist hero — three words I never thought I’d string together — of the eco-disaster film “The Day After Tomorrow”…
The two-star review goes on to point out groaner after groaner — About all that smells real is the White House discovering that Los Angeles is being leveled by multiple tornadoes: “Quick, turn on the Weather Channel,” yells some policy wonk … — and maybe it’s good that they are groaners, to minimize the chance anyone might take it seriously, to assume that global warming can cause, within days, melting polar ice caps followed by a new ice age.
But who knows? Last spring, when Arthur Miller came to Ann Arbor, he threw out an aside, that because of global warming the U.K. is “within five years” of a crippling wave of ice-agey weather that will make life there impossible. I looked at Alan and said, “He’s an old man.” Just to be safe, though, I told our BBC fellow to buy a good parka at the end-of-season sales.
alex said on May 28, 2004 at 12:12 pm
Just got an e-mailing from moveon.org seeking volunteers to hand out flyers at “the movie the White House doesn’t want you to see.” I wouldn’t usually take this White House’s advice for anything, but with so many reviewers in concurrence, I’ll be giving this stinker a pass.
Paul said on May 28, 2004 at 11:43 pm
It isn’t that bad. It is certainly a Friday night, summer blockbuster, non-parent-of-young-child movie. (“non-parent” because I suspect you want something “good” if you go out after finding a babysitter.)
Linda said on May 29, 2004 at 1:06 am
Well, not to split hairs or anything, but the guys who flew the F-15s in I.Day were ex-Vietnam fighter pilots.
Paul said on May 29, 2004 at 8:06 pm
Not to split a hair again, but the President in ID4 (stupid acronym) was a Gulf War veteran.
Pam said on June 1, 2004 at 9:10 am
My favorite laugh out loud at the ridiculouness of it all part in ID was when Jeff Goldblum could actually log in to an alien computer system with some basic DOS prompt and upload a virus!!! What a hoot! The movie is full of them and I think that’s the entertainment value (but then I watched it on HBO, I would have been really PO’d if I paid extra money to see it.)