Dave Barry on ID4

Could Alien beings from another galaxy come here and obliterate human
civilization? If so, would this be covered by our home-owners' insurance?
These troubling questions are on the minds of the millions of people who
are being exposed this summer to the spectacle of grotesque, repulsive,
inhuman creatures that would stop at nothing to their determinations to
dominate the Earth. I am referring, of course, to the Democratic and
Republican conventions.

But the public was also troubled by the blockbuster motion picture
"Independence Day." It definitely had a powerful effect on me. I had been
skeptical about all the "hype," but when the 2 1/2-hour movie was over, I
found myself sitting pensively in the theater for quite a while pondering
the question: How am I going to get out of here, when my shoes are bonded
in place by one of the most powerful adhesives know to science, Movie Floor
Crud, which is a mixture of Pepsi, Milk Duds, and year-old nasal secretions
snorted out by distraught moviegoers during the ending of "The Bridges of
Madison County"? A lot of people just leave their shoes on the theater
floor and walk out barefoot.

But getting back to "Independence Day": What happens is, these aliens from
millions of light-years away arrive in our solar system in a fantastically
huge spaceship manufactured by the Winnebago Corp. When they reach Earth,
they are in a bad mood, possibly because their luggage has not arrived, so
they attack New York City, causing the population to panic and run around

In my opinion, this is the only unrealistic part of the movie. I mean,
we're talking about NEW YORKERS, here. These are tough people. These are
people who, every day, without even thinking about it, voluntarily go down
into dark, steaming, noisy, extremely aromatic holes containing the New
York City subways system. Poeple who do that are not going to get bent out
of shape just because an alien invastion force is obliterating their city.
They are merely going to shrug and continue reading The New York Post

At the same time as they hit New York, the aliens destroy Los Angeles - a
clear indication that they had been monitoring the O.J. Simpson trial. They
also wipe out Washington, D.C., apparently believing - this just shows that
even a highly advanced species can be stupid - that wiping out the federal
government would be somehow make it more difficult for the county to

While millions of Americans take to the streets to celebrate the fact that
they will probably not have to file income-tax returns for several years,
the president of the United States, played by a weenie, escapes, along with
several key actors, to an ultrasecret government installation.

There they learn that scientists have been trying to repair an alien
flying saucer that crashed in 1947, which means the warranty has expired.
(This crash was hushed up, except for a brief statement from the Federal
Aviation Administation assuring the public that flying-saucer travel is
perfectly safe.) The secret installation also contains the bodies of
deseased aliens, which have likewise been kept completely hidden away
except for one brief incident in 1977 when on of them showed up as part of
a science-fair project submitted by Amy Carter.

The plot thinkens when Jeff Goldblum, who plays a brilliant cable-TV
scientist, discovers, by analyzing signals coming from the mother ship,
that the aliens are the source of all "infomercials." This makes the Earth
so mad that it decides to fight back. There is a spectacular aerial battle
between a fleet of scae-model alien saucers and a fleet of scale-model Air
Force fightters, led by President Weenie. Meanwhile, Jeff Goldblum, flying
in the crashed enemy saucer, which is piloted by the Fresh Prince of
Bel-Air, gets inside the mother ship and uses his laptop computer to put
a virus into the aliens' main computer system. He can do this because the
aliens, like every other life form in the galaxy, have basically no choice
but to use the "Windows 95" operating system; in fact the whole reason why
they have attacked the Earth is to destroy Bill Gates.

Goldblum's virus easily disables the aliens' main computer. Perhaps you're
wondering why aliens who can travel millions of light years can't fix a
computer virus. The answer is that, like any large organization, the
mother ship has only one individual who actually understands the computer
system, and that individual is not available. The alien computer nerd is
hiding in the bowels of the Mother Ship, playing with the alien version of
Space Invaders, in which the object is to kill little attacking figures
that look like Keanu Reeves. So the alien ships, their defenses disabled,
are all shot down, and the movie ends with people all over the world
celebrating. Of course the cheering will stop soon enough, when the
millions of attorneys crawl out of the smoking rubble of America's cities,
contact the surviving aliens, put neck braces on them and start suing the
Earth in general for trillions of dollars. THAT'S when we should really
get worried.
Page created: April 9th 2003 06:14 AM