csum: independence day

CSUM rates: Independence Day (1996)

Situation: Towards the end of the film, Will Smith’s character makes a last ditch attack against an invading alien army by injecting a computer virus into the alien mothership’s systems. The virus is successful and the invasion is defeated.

Inaccuracy: 5
Ok, while I will say that one could argue the universality of the binary system, I don’t think it is even possible that a wholly distinct civilization will have advanced independent of the human race and end up with compatible machine code. Hell, Windows and Macs don’t even have viruses that are compatible on either system (a few exceptions exist with third-party apps) let alone entirely different civilizations. I think the biggest joke at the time of this movie was the question, “Are the aliens running Windows or something?!”

Criticality: 5
Maybe the budget disintegrated by the end of the film and they needed a one-shot deal to blow up the aliens; all of them. I don’t know, but this is a pretty darned critical contrivance because it is the vehicle for Will Smith to save the world; the climax of the film. It’s a shame it had to be so ignorant.

Ease of correction: 4
The year is 1995/1996, and I think it was obvious the producers wanted to capitalize on the emergence of computers and the Internet, and with it viruses. Unfortunately, there is no salvage to getting an earth computer virus to disrupt alien technology, so there is really no saving this idea. The writers needed another entirely different solution to save this; even Will Smith flying into the center of the ship and destroying the Mother Brain would have been more believable.

CSUM ICE Score: 100 (F) I will never forgive Independence Day for this amazingly ridiculous use of a virus in a film.

One thought on “csum: independence day

  1. y’know i’ve heard this complaint about independence day before and it just doesn’t work the way people want it to…
    as far as i can remember it was never claimed that the virus that was introduced to the alien mothership worked on human computers, only that it was written on one (which was connected to an alien fighter at the time as a way to facilitate interfacing with the fighter’s on-board computer – so it was probably acting as little more than a dumb terminal)…

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