Saturday, July 05, 2014

Independence Day

No, this will not be a post about how I spent my 4th of July. This is how I spent my 5th of July.

I haven't watched the classic sci-fi action flick (can a movie from the 90s be called classic?) Independence Day in a long time. So I thought I'd pop it in a day after the real Independence Day. I still enjoy it just as much as I did when I was 16 years old. But I started thinking about something that could be a little disturbing. At least, it's disturbing to me, as someone who has a tendency to think too much about fictional situations.

I don't feel like I should give a spoiler warning, seeing as how the movie is now 18 years old. But... spoilers...

Anyway, the end of the movie sees Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum firing a nuke into the heart of the mother ship which allows the rest of the earthlings to take out the smaller ships positioned around the planet. That's great, right? The humans won and we get to keep our planet!

But think about the implications of that attack. Earlier in the film, Bill Pullman's President Whitmore was telepathically linked with one of the aliens. He saw their plans and saw how they operate. He explained that they're like locusts. They move their entire civilization from planet to planet, using up all the natural resources before moving on to the next.

Did you catch that? Their entire civilization. That means, when the good guys took out the mother ship, they essentially committed genocide. I'm sure there would have been a handful of alien lifeforms that would have survived the destruction of the city-sized saucers, but would the humans have taken them as prisoners of intergalactic war?

I know. In the movie, it was an "us-or-them" kind of situation. If we hadn't annihilated them, they'd have annihilated us. So I'm sure, if I were in charge, my decision to follow through with this plan would have been the same as the one that was scripted. But I'd hope I would take some time to at least think about it. What are the implications of destroying an entire civilization that we know very little about?

There's been talk of a sequel ever since Independence Day was released. Of course there's been talk of a sequel. It made a truckload of cash at the box office. Recently, there's been more talk from the creators, making it sound as if a part two could actually happen at some point. There's been no official announcement, but I can't help wondering what that story would look like.

It's nearly 20 years later. I don't think earth needs to worry about retaliation from the same aliens that attacked the first time, especially if Whitmore was right about the mother ship containing their entire civilization. But can we assume that there are other advanced civilizations out there? Are there some who may have known about the bad guys and their locust-like behavior? Would they come to earth to congratulate us on our victory? Or would they come looking to pick a fight, too? Would they want to see if they could take out the planet that, despite being incapable of interstellar travel, saved itself from a technologically advanced race?

And what about life on earth for the last 20 years? Would the world have united in some way? Throwing aside nationalism and border disputes? Earth is now a galactic power. It only makes sense that we would attempt to reverse engineer as much of the alien tech as we could. That would probably make us capable of interstellar flight. What would have happened to the aliens that survived the final battle? Execution? Integrated into society? They couldn't have all been bent on the destruction of all life, right?

I really think too much about these things. I'd promise to stop overthinking things, but I don't think that's a promise I could keep.

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