Are there such things as aliens? I believe in them. Are there ones as nice as E.T.? Well who knows? From Spielberg's great works we have been given the perspective that aliens are beings that are curious, like children exploring the world. In James Cameron's "The abyss" we are given light to aliens that are basically god-like beings, both understanding good and evil and their advanced technology. In Ridley Scott's "Alien" we are introduced to aliens that are quite scary looking, very deadly and giving birth to a mixture of scifi/horror. In John McTiernan's "Predator" we get one ugly looking alien who steals human skulls as trophies in battle. In this film however, the kind of heart does not reside, but neither do new interesting alien characters. They are certainly evil, but in all other ways, they are quite dull.
Basically a similar concept of H.G. Wells infamous novel "War of the worlds" we see aliens coming from afar, mankind is curious and keeping their heads up on these visitors. Among them are Will Smith as captain Steven Hiller, just enjoying some sleep on a Los Angeles morning with his girlfriend Jasmine, played by Vivica Fox. A computer geek (who should definitely have his own company) named David played by Jeff Goldblum. The president of the united states played by a dull Bill Pullman and various others all experiencing a life changing event. Well now, aren't these an interesting set of characters? Not really. The one with most potential seemed to be David's father Julius played by Judd Hirsch who perfects his character in this film. Yet, he doesn't even have much screen time.
From most other group of characters in apocalyptic films, this group is certainly one of the most boring. Will Smith, yeah expect smart talking from him, but that is all he gives to his character that really stands out the most. The character of Jasmine was totally unnecessary in the film. Yes, I know that the filmmakers were trying to gather more perspectives from the story, but what good did that do?
Back to the more visually interesting gigantic spacecrafts all over the world, we see curiosity still being the main standpoint of mankind. The visual sequences that follow are perhaps the most interesting from the entirety of the film. The spacecrafts just blast away at landmark buildings in cities across the globe, the devastation brought about is that of a nuclear bomb. That certainly spells war.
The alien designs-um. They looked like giant squids that seem to try and find their way back into the water. That is literally how they walked. Their intentions are specified by the president when he is attacked by telekinesis by an alien. He discovers that they are going from planet to planet, destroying all those who live upon it and take their resources. Telekinesis? When was that specified? Now and only now.
From the story, I could pull out nothing really interesting then besides the vast explosions, the weakness the aliens have and it is quite stupid. A computer virus. A virus? Well that's the weakness to my computer, but to a gigantic spacecraft and the hundred times larger mothership? Come on. That helps to bring about the destruction of the aliens and ending their reign of terror? With all their technologically advanced ships and weaponry, they could not fend off a simple computer virus. Certainly that is humiliation for the aliens, but to the filmmakers that humiliation is there as well. It seemed they had run out of ideas on how they were going to give an overall victory to mankind.
This seems to be the problem for director Roland Emmerich's films besides "The Patriot" (Definitely his best film). He always kills the endings to films of this size. Not to mention, he is the one that really works on apocalyptic films such as "The day after tomorrow" and "2012". I am not even going to mention his film "10,000 B.C.", standing out from the rest as his officially worst movie.
Comparing this to other films about aliens, I'd have to say that the way they released hell on Earth was original. That is about it. Looking at it from an entertaining perspective, it definitely achieves that. The suspense is there as well. From the spacecrafts revealing their ultimate weapons in cities and to the dogfights between these spacecrafts and military jets. I would say that a film such as this is worth your time due to how much fun it is to watch.
This has been a review by daveactor7