Species II Recap

Jamie

Important couple weeks for BMT, so felt like it was key to catch up. Let’s dive right into Species II.

What?! Sil is back, Jack!… JK. She was engulfed in a flaming tar pit at the end of the first Species. She’s dead. Instead astronaut Patrick Ross returns from a mission to Mars having been infected by ancient alien DNA similar to Sil’s. The military has to find and destroy him (perhaps with a little help from Sil’s genetic clone, Eve). Can they stop Patrick before it’s too late?! Find out in… Species II.

Why?! Like Sil before him, Patrick is driven by one thing and one thing only: getting it on with as many ladies as possible (but who isn’t, amirite? Ayyyyyeeeeeeee [hits jukebox]). This is so the alien species can spread its DNA far and wide and overwhelm the earth and its denizens. Press Lennox (still a real name that was written in a script unironically) is once again pressed into action to stop him at all costs. That’s it… there is literally no other motivation here. These films are just gratuitous gore and nudity… wait, is there a reason these films aren’t still being made?

How?! After Patrick is infected, Press and Dr. Baker team back up to try to figure out how to stop him. Unlike in the first film, Patrick was infected as an adult and is far more powerful than Sil was (she still needed to mature and learn the fine arts of seduction, while he’s already a handsome national hero a.k.a. a lady killer… literally). Through their efforts experimenting on Eve we get some further details on how the alien species operates. Many thousands of years ago the alien DNA was sent to Mars (much like it was sent to Earth in the first Species). It infected the Martians that lived there and destroyed everything leaving the once thriving planet desolate (this is only implied, but I love how bonkers it is). As suspected in the first film, the aliens aren’t here to take over the earth, but rather just to exterminate us. The alien hybrids are advanced biological weapons. Furthermore, through their experimentation they figure out that Eve/Sil won’t mate with inferior DNA not by preference for a stronger mate, but because she literally can’t mate with inferior DNA. This allows for one of the astronauts with sickle cell trait to not only be immune from infection, but also makes his blood poisonous to the aliens (which seems like a super terrible fatal flaw of the weapon, right? You’d think they would have R&D’d that shit a bit more before launch). They pack up his blood and go a-alien killing (culminating in a scene where Press stabs the astronaut in the leg with a pitchfork in order to use his freshly squeezed blood to kill the final alien puppet monster. Word.) Don’t try to think through the science of how this all works… seriously, don’t try. It’s horrendous. In fact, while the first film tried hard to keep things coherent, Species II allowed itself to descend into ridiculousness and contradiction almost immediately.

Who?! Definitively no Planchet in this one, so I’ll just give a little shout-out to my favorite minor character: Richard Belzer randomly playing the President of the United States. You read that correctly. Mr. Law & Order himself. So minor that it’s not even listed on the wikipedia page for portrayals of Presidents in film. Maybe I’ll have to go ahead and add it.

Where?! We jump coasts for the sequel and are entrenched in our nation’s capital, where most of the action takes place. We get some nice scenes of the Capitol building, clear license places, etc. Additionally, we get a “Welcome to Virginia” billboard when the characters jump the border, which is my favorite. Overall a solid B.

When?! Booooooooo, no clear indication of the exact date that the film took place. We know it’s not too long after the first film due to returning characters, but that’s all we got. At one point Eve is shown watching an MLB game, so if I were truly insane I would try to figure out what game that was to give us an exact date. Fortunately I’m not that insane (yet). F

I gave you all the pieces of species (ooof, sorry about that), now let’s see how it stood up to BMT analysis.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Species II? More like Cease Please, Too! Amirite? If I seem less excited about that kick ass rhyme that means you didn’t read my recap of Species because I made the same rhyme and my mind melted. Now it is old news. In the second installment of the series we have the vicious besmirching of the name Patrick by the alien/astronaut Patrick Ross. The sequel brings a ton more sex, but let’s just say I thought it got a bit less erotic. Let’s go!

  • The Good – Hmmmmm, I guess I kind of like the idea of continued experiments on Sil and trying to make her a defense against a future alien attack. I did find it a little odd there is just no mention of the fact that a nearby solar system has not only intelligent life, but deadly killer intelligent life (and yet we are happily trotting off to Mars to collect exactly three soil samples, good use of your 16 month journey idiots). This is starting to look like criticism, but there really isn’t much to like in this sequel beyond that it delivers on a few of the promises (what if the alien was a man? We could be doomed!) from the first film.
  • The Bad – Hmmm, well they got rid of what I liked about the first film (a gaggle of alien hunters on the trail of a fugitive alien, Forest Whitaker’s kind of awesome if confounding empath, the learning about the world aspect of Sil) and replaced it with trash. Now we have terrible practical effects instead of terrible CGI. And as I said, the sex is just less erotic, mainly because most of the women in the film eventually burst in half. The movie is slower and a bigger mess. There is nearly nothing to like here.
  • The BMT – And yet, I don’t feel like the movie is completely dog poo in my face … and I can’t really think why. I think this movie is like a 50. Above average, but too shoddily made to jump up to 70ish. It is hard to recommend the film, although back-to-back with its surprisingly superior predecessor I might consider it.

Today Species II has inspired me to dust off the old Ph.D. and get back to Sklogbusting the scientific myths from bad movies. In this episode we look at the starting mission to Mars. In that mission to Mars Patrick Ross becomes the first person to walk on the surface and, ultimately, he collects exactly three soil samples to bring back to Earth. First flag: According to NASA is takes six months to get to Mars (and in the movie I do believe they say it is day 180 of the mission, so that makes sense), but you would have to stay on/at Mars for about 1.5 years in order for the planets to align to make the return trip. In all the mission would take 2.5 years … and yet they snag three soil samples and happily return home. I guess it is all that sweet cash from the advertisements on their ship’s rocket booster (thanks Pepsi, Sprint, and others for the probably billion dollars this wasteful mission cost). So that’s complete horseshit. Second flag, it is later revealed that Dennis Gamble, the only non-infected astronaut on the mission, wasn’t infected because he is a carrier of the sickle cell genetic marker. Now, I know that athletes for example have to be very concerned about playing in Denver with this trait (see the case of Trent Coleman). So could an astronaut be on the first manned mission to Mars with the trait? In fact you are not explicitly barred from becoming an astronaut due to carrying the trait, and since the 1970s the Air Force no longer discharged servicemembers carrying the trait! So indeed it is possible. I’m going partially busted here. No way the mission shook out the way it did, but the personnel seems plausible (even if it is ludicrous that only three people would be involved in a manned mission to Mars). Oh, they were also talking directly to Houston without an eight minute delay. This documentary seems like a load of shit.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Independence Day: Resurgence Recap

Jamie

First post of the new year and we get to dive into a holiday classic. Happy New Year everyone and Happy Fourth of Joooool-eye!

What?! It’s been twenty years since Independence Day and the War of 1996. Humans have used alien technology to make immeasurable advances, but nothing could have prepared them for the next invasion. Will this next generation of fighters not go quietly into the night, not vanish without a fight, live on, and survive to celebrate humanity’s… Independence Day: Resurgence!

Why?! You may be wondering why the aliens are back just twenty years later after getting their alien butts handed to them. Turns out before Will Smith totally rocked them they were able to send out a distress signal to the super mother ship. They’re coming back for vengeance and to sap on our planet’s sweet, sweet molten core. This vengeance comes in the form of a 3000 mile long ship that is so large it totally fucks everything up with its gravity. The motivation for the humans is even simpler: survival.

How?! The aliens’ plan is to take us out, eat our planet’s core, and leave it an empty husk for the interstellar vultures. The humans’ plan is more complicated. That’s because on our own we are straight up screwed. Fortunately there is a rebel alien species that also received the distress signal and comes to our rescue. After first blowing its ship to smithereens (oops) we are able to salvage the powerful alien entity from the wreckage (in the form of a giant white orb). This orb is feared by the enemy aliens as it represents a much more advanced species capable of taking them downtown charlie brown (in the galactic sense). Teamed up with our ally we are able to lure the alien queen from the safety of the mothership and stop the drilling of our core. For this is the only way to safely set up the third film in the trilogy that everyone is obviously clamouring for (though lately Emmerich doesn’t seem super confident in it happening).

Who?! I had an existential crisis about the Who category recently. I started to think that there just weren’t enough Planchet-type characters in this world and I might need to take it in a different direction. Independence Day: Resurgence was a philosophical salve for that wound. I counted no less than five separate Planchets. We had Floyd (a nerdy auditor or something), Dikembe Umbuntu (a kooky African warlord), Papa Levinson (Jeff Goldblum’s extra Jewish father), Dr. Okun and his life partner (back from the dead and faaabbbbbuulllous), and my personal favorite Charlie Miller (BFFs with Liam Hemsworth’s character and a truly classic Planchet). The Who category is back baby! A+++ effort by the writers (one of which was one of the Planchets, Floyd!)

Where?! Kind of a hard question. If you had to pick one location it would be Area 51 in Nevada. Most time was spent there and the best fight scene took place nearby. However, we also have to give a shout out to the Moon, central Africa, and the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, all of which hosted key scenes of the film. Kind of an amazing set of locations. B+ effort using intertitles and everything.

When?! A+ alert! Took place on Independence Day, 2016. Straight up getting it in the title. NBD.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Independence Day: Resurgence? More like …. Resplendent Day 2? Independence Day Boo? I feel like my brain is broken, this is like the fourth week in a row with wizzeak puns. Anywho, we watched a sequel to a beloved Sci Fi adventure from 1996, how could it possibly live up to the expectations? We’ll let’s see:

  • The Good – I thought this movie was … surprisingly cogent. It was surprisingly entertaining. The Independence Day stalwarts are still pretty good actors. And the direction was pretty solid. The movie was average in literally every possible regard. Which is surprising. A ton of people think this movie is the worst of the year. For me it was just shy of not that bad.
  • The Bad – The use of Goldblum’s father (Judd Hirsch) was atrocious. His story makes no sense (am I wrong or do they suggest he drove literally across the country in a school bus through the film? [NOTE: I was wrong, he was in LA and he was struck by the wave caused by the giant ship’s gravity, not the ship landing]) and could also have been completely cut from the film with no impact. Same goes for the Russian drillers. The young actors are all either anonymous or terrible. The story is ludicrous in a couple different way, but most obviously in that it requires several enormous exposition dumps in order to clear up the plot debris that floats alongside the gravity of the 3000 mile alien ship.
  • The BMT – And yet I was entertained. I would gladly watch a third. I would gladly watch a well made show (don’t half ass some NBC thing, but like Showtime or HBO or something? I’d go for it). I do not personally think this is a BMT film. People think this might be the worst of the year! I find that nuts. This is like a 10 tops for me.

The Sci-Fi glory that is this movie inspired me to bring back a rare game: Sklogbusters our scientific mythbusting segment vaguely started for the movie Bats and their giant cave cooling refrigeration unit. In this segment we ask: What do the aliens want with the core and does it make sense that it was their goal in the first one anyways? The key question is: Does it actually contain enough energy to really matter for a ship that size (a 3000 mile long disc)?

To start some back of the envelope calculations (BMT does not guarantee the accuracy of these figures). Let’s assume it is a perfect disc and that it is 8:1 diameter to thickness (because). We also know it is hollow inside, so let’s say it has a hull thickness equivalent to a battleship, and the density of transparent aluminum (Star Trek references all up in here) and you get a mass of about 4 * 10^17 kg I think. Ignoring almost all physics let’s just use 62 MJ / kg as the energy needed to get the spaceship back off of the earth and away from the planet. Using the heat capacity here magma has a heat capacity of 41 J / mol / K, and the core is about 5000 K. Iron is 0.056 kg/mol so each kg of Fe would provide about 4 MJ.

And that is where the figure doesn’t really add up for assuming the core is being used to propel the spaceship back off of the Earth. You need 62 MJ / kg to get each kg of fuel off of the planet, but the heat only provides 4 MJ and the radiation isn’t much at all. Which leads to only one conclusion: fuel is not the reason for the sweet sweet core sucking power of the aliens. Perhaps with wormhole technology travelling the universe is trivial. And perhaps it is, instead, the iron itself they want. They wanted the core to “grow their technology” and for energy. Why not to build dyson spheres? Would make the most sense since they appear to have cold fusion in this universe. I think there is only one moral to this story: questioning and interrogating garbage Sci-Fi science is a waste of time, because I am forced to declare this myth plausible since the technological advances of the alien race appear to be so advanced as to be unknowable. Sigh.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs