When I was young, I saw what I thought was the greatest movie of all time. Damnation Alley. Now, this was before Star Wars, you understand, but this movie had it all. Jan Michael Vincent with the coolest feathered hair, a neat truck that had three wheels where one would normally be, and the best special effects I’d ever seen. Giant scorpions! Carpets of flesh-eating beetles. And a spooky red sky!
Years later, I watched that movie and thought that I must have been inhaling too much model glue. It sucked. And sucked bad.
But at that time in my life, it was the best movie ever.
Fast forward to today.
For fun, The-Youngest and I went to see Independence Day 2. He loved it in a way only a 9-year-old can love it. We got to sit in the D-box seats which basically means our butts got vibrated every time something blew up and the chair tilted this way and that with every flying sequence.
I gotta say, it was kinda cool.
He watched the movie with great intensity as humanity fought the aliens. He tilted and flowed with the gyrating D-seat. He raised his hands over his head when the aliens were defeated. (Oh, crap, I should have said, ‘spoiler alert’, but hey, spoiler alert, the aliens are defeated.)
Later, he told me how he would have shot the aliens, how he wants to go to Area 51 where they keep the aliens, and how he figured out how best to outfit my Mustang with lasers.
For him, the movie was a complete success. The graphics were amazing. There was none of that annoying ‘character development’ stuff that got in the way. He didn’t ask why the stupid old guy in a stupid bus would be chased by the stupid alien queen (oh, crap, spoiler alert, there’s a stupid alien queen, and she chases a stupid bus). He didn’t care that the alien’s plan seemed to boil down to drilling a hole in the earth when they could have pretty much just used their 3000-mile-wide ship to beat us into little pieces like some sort of kinder egg in the hands of an angry toddler.
Nope, for him, it was a great movie.
For me, I hated the dialogue. I hated the fake personal stakes, and I absolutely hated that there wasn’t a funny Will Smith pilot in it. I hated that I didn’t care about any of the characters or the world or even the aliens. I hated that the movie felt like I wrote it in grade 4.
I mean this is the age of Game of Thrones. Of The Walking Dead. Of Bridesmaids.
People know how to make good shows, so what happened here?
I have no idea. I blame Obama.
I would have given it a 2 out of 10.
But seeing it with The-Youngest, and listening to him talk about it with such enthusiasm, it made that movie a 6/10. 7/10 with those cool D-box seats.
I do miss that 9-year-old mindset when I didn’t judge a movie by the actors, the writing, the structure or theme, I just judged whether it was cool or not.
And if it had rad scorpions.