Twitter Plot Summary: It’s all down to a rogue SETI scientist and a small town firefighter to help prevent an alien invasion.
Director: WD Hogan
Key Cast: Casey Dubois, Iain Belcher, Andrea Brooks, Nicholas Carella, Aaron Craven, Michael Kopea, Garein Sanford
Five Point Summary:
1. It’s all so very American… and the alien ships look terrible.
2. The President just so happens to find the only virgi… sorry, nerd, in the immediate vicinity who has a lot of relevant computer equipment.
3. That Vice President is a bit of a nasty chap. Not entirely, just a bit of one.
4. Let’s go to war against these strange drones! Yeah!
5. Are they seriously ending it there? Do we need another one of these films?
Yet another film in my season of bad TV movies, Independence Daysaster is a victory just for its title alone. In typical SyFy tradition it features a mismatched pairing of smalltime nobodies who manage to help take down the invaders. It’s a race against time because the aliens are essentially terraforming our planet, although true to form we won’t pay much attention to this point because the screenwriters had no interest in it either.
The first two minutes are spent emphasising the Fourth of July atmosphere – Stars and Stripes flutter in the breeze, a man hums the Star Spangled Banner, and an alien invasion just happens to take place on the day made famous by Bill Pullman’s rousing/cheesy speech in 1996. So as aliens destroy all of the major cities across the globe and, randomly, a small town in the back end of nowhere USA, the President has to find a way to communicate with his generals whilst a SETI scientist and a fireman, of all people, try and figure out a way of stopping the alien threat, because once more the government are completely ineffectual. The aliens themselves remain unseen other than their strangely derivative machinery, which is annoying because a little more alien involvement would’ve been nice (or even some alien-looking machines), but also a good thing because you’re not left complaining about how bad they look or how badly they were used.
These are strange alien invaders though – their first attack comes from both the skies and from beneath, using machines that look like cheap knock-offs of the Mole vehicle used by the Thunderbirds. There’s never any dialogue established between humanity and the invaders, nor any real attempt made to explain why they could be found underground. As such it ends up feeling like a one sided affair, or a street fight in which humanity showed up and the aliens decided to call in wick with alien man flu or something. Not seeing the enemy spoils it considerably.
The CGI is deliciously bad, so bad in fact it’s actually a highlight. Another element of fun is to spot the blatant references to Roland Emmerich’s film – a pitched air battle between alien vessels and a squadron of fighter jets is seen primarily from the ground, although we’re sadly lacking any characters who are worth watching. Even the President is horrendously bland, almost too earnest in fact. Where are the Jeff Goldblum’s, the Will Smith’s, the Randy Quaid’s? Or rather, the Z-list actor equivalent of those big names? Nowhere to be seen. In fact it’s not even told in a nudge nudge, wink wink manner. Play it straight by all means, but not to the point where it’s so earnest it loses much of its potential appeal. Whilst it is derivative of a number of films, Independence Daysaster is moderately entertaining, albeit with an ending that clearly indicates that a sequel is probably imminent. Still, at least the music was good, and it was better than Diana.
Favourite scene: Mr Vice President is verbally slapped down by his assistant. Ooh, snap!
Quote: “On this 4th of July, we will make a stand. For America, and for the world.”
Silly Moment: Woman makes the ultimate sacrifice so others can get away. Others start chasing after her. Like idiots.