June 26, 2016


http://topicstock.pantip.com/chalermthai/topicstock/2009/11/A8547572/A8547572-vote0.jpgI went to see IDR yesterday then read the reviews after. While hardly surprised, I was deeply disappointed.

The first and foremost point that the critique-meisters went after was that it was a “sequel”, didn’t live up to its predecessor, and that it was boring.

Of course, I’m not a movie reviewer nor I am I particularly fond of movies. I get my “entertainment” from reading and as a reader, I have very clear expectations of storyline, character development and even a sense of what sequels are supposed to be like.

Anyone who read the HARRY POTTER series is familiar with sequels and series and how they’re supposed to go.

According to what reviewers say, the same does not hold true for movies. After reading a dozen of the things, I’ve come to the conclusion that a movie is supposed to neatly set out a premise and then wrap up all the loose ends in ninety or so minutes, and be completely unique in how it does so. If it doesn’t, then the movie fails. It’s as if movie reviewers (and maybe the movie goers themselves) have this idea that life, as reflected in movies, should be all neat and tidy and that’s why people go to them.

ScreenCrush’s MATT: “Next question: Those guys out on the boat who just happened to be perched right next to the alien laser drilling to the molten core (MOLTEN CORE!) of the Earth: How did they know how far the drill was getting? Did they have sensors in the Earth’s crust?” (http://screencrush.com/independence-day-resurgence-spoiler-discussion/?trackback=tsmclip) sort of fixates on the idea that the writers used the whole molten core idea and that it was somehow WRONG. I was an Earth science teacher for eight years, so I have some knowledge of the planet. The core is divided into two parts, the molten outer core and the solid inner cored. The only reason that the inner core is solid is because of the pressure of the outer core, mantle, crust – and the force of gravity. Matt uses it as a mantra – and I’m guessing here – as a sign that the movie’s science is fatally flawed, therefore it’s just one MORE thing wrong with it. Of course, I could use the same argument by repeating “warp drive (WARP DRIVE!)” in critiquing any Star Trek movie and invalidating it on the basis of proven science. Oh, and Matt maybe isn’t familiar with ground-penetrating radar…

Peter Travers at Rolling Stone said, “But come on, you don't buy a ticket to something like this to see a soap opera with C-list acting. You want aliens. And you get them. At first, they're kind of cool in a creepy way. And then repetition dulls the effect. Finally, you think, is that all there is?” http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/independence-day-resurgence-20160624#ixzz4CglNDInF) Scanning through this reviewer’s output since April leads me to be suspicious of his knowledge of science fiction as a whole and wonder if he doesn’t tend to rank political correctness and comic books higher than pretty much everything else. I’ll give his review a pass except to say that it seems that he is unfamiliar with the written form of the genre.

So, given those two reviews, I’m going to jump off. Or spout off. Take it for what it’s worth.

IDR is the logical next step in the storyline with the addition of a secondary alien group whose main purpose is an ethical imperative to gather up survivors of the Swarm’s voracious abuse of natural resources on an interplanetary scale.

You have a typical SF trio here of totally different aliens: the Swarm, a hive-mind civilization that travels from world to world raping each one for its resources. Perhaps they also have an evolutionary or ethical imperative to “prove” each generation by defeating the individual members of a civilization in a sort of “hand-to-hand” combat and so instead of blowing Earth up and harvesting what they want or orbiting us opposite our current rotation, bringing us to a standstill, and then letting us die off naturally – they engage Humanity.

You have Humanity, descended (or created with) apes – social, and tribal. You have an AI created by not ONE alien people as even Wikia implies, but by many survivors, who are being collected and shuttled to one world where they might develop a way to protect our little corner of the galaxy from the Swarm. And the accountant? He’s the only one desperate enough to actually touch the Sphere and initiate contact. If it wasn’t for his deep desire to be part of the war; his disregard not only of orders from the whackadoodle Dr. Okun but for his own life, very likely NO ONE would have contacted it and the story would have ended when the Swarm Queen nabbed it from a surprised Dr. Okun.

In the world of REAL science fiction, this is a familiar story – James White’s FEDERATION comes to mind as well as his best-known SECTOR GENERAL books; as does the movie GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY; Edmund Hamilton’s Federation of Stars (INTERSTELLAR PATROL series begun in 1929); James H. Schmitz created the "Federation of the Hub" in 1952; even STAR WARS, with its multispecies Republic in opposition to the entirely human Empire.

The ID series is about exploring the place of Humanity in the universe – and if some of the science is off, hey, it wouldn’t be the first time! STAR WARS insists on having sound in space and STAR TREK characters never feel the acceleration of anything in their universe!

I contend that ID4 and IDR are a reasonable attempt to explore our place in the universe, how we might deal with both an implacable, and to-us-mindless alien civilization and how we might become part of a union of alien civilizations seeking a solution to stemming the tide of advanced aliens bent on strip-mining the universe…

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