A strangely fun movie
by Ed Blackadder
I enjoy making up silly titles for this type of mockbuster, and there were a couple that sprung to mind. The thing is, Independence Daysaster has borrowed from so many popular movies that I’m not sure where to begin. The obvious one is Independence Day, where, not only the film, but also the title is inspired by it. Then we have the burrowing aliens, The Matrix 3, spinning alien drones, Battleship, picking up a signal by a SETI woman, Contact — and so on. But instead of it being expectedly horrendous, it turned out to be quite entertaining, in an guilty pleasure sort of way. Like a dirty secret you wouldn’t want advertised or becoming public knowledge!
It’s the fourth of July and everyone is getting ready for the parade. Somewhere in a small SETI outpost (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence), a scientist receives a very unusual signal, prompting him to call up his co-worker Celia, to verify the discovery independently from her computer. The president is on route to the parade, where his firefighter brother, Pete (Ryan Merriman, The Ring 2, Final Destination 3), is waiting with the first son, his nephew Andrew to greet the leader of the free world. Suddenly, there are loads of objects in the sky heading in their general direction, plus the ground starts to shake violently. This turns out to be large burrowing machines that are clearly an advanced technology, and most definitely don’t appear friendly. The presidents chopper is knocked out of the sky and the boss is presumed lost, but he actually crashes (unbelievably) next to a house where lives a hacker who can get power and internet access when no one else can. Dontcha just love those sorts of lazy written coincidences? He and his geek friend help get the big cheese to get back in the game, and the Commander in Chief also has a trigger-happy, warmongering VP to get under control.
Just after the attack at the parade, Pete drives his firetruck away from the town, and picks up Celia whose car has broken down. It turns out she has a new device that’s called a (looks at notepad) Phonon, which works on a similar principal to the vibrations you get from a loudspeaker turned up high. The device can easily knock the alien drones out of the sky, and the now must get it to the right people, who can use it to defeat the new enemy. The VP is doing everything he can, against the orders of the president, to nuke the aliens, and make matters worse, Andrew and Eliza (Andrea Brooks, 50/50) team up with uncle Pete and Celia — the president teams up with a likeable pair of geeks, and together attempt to figure out what they are and how to stop them.
The acting wasn’t bad, the story was silly, as was the science but again, not bad. The effects wont be getting a mention at the Academy this year, nor will anyone attached to this movie, but it still kept me watching, reasonably well entertained for eighty odd minutes. What more do you need?
Starring Ryan Merriman, Tom Everett Scott, Emily Holmes, Andrea Brooks, Keenan Tracey, Casey Dubois, Grace Sherman, Iain Belcher, Jill Teed, Michael Kopsa and Garwin Sanford.
Director of Photography: Michael Blundell. Production Design: Phil Schmidt. Costume Designer: Tanya Lipke. Sound: John Boyle. US Casting: Penny Perry. CAD Casting: Candice Elzinga. Stunts: Brett Chan. VFX: Exile VFX Studios. Original Score: Michael Neilson. Editor: Christopher A. Smith.