All our favorite 1990s films are getting sequels and reboots, making us look back with rose-colored glasses on the earnest, un-ironic excitement we felt for these movies back when they first came out. BUT the 1990s were a time when official movie websites and breathlessly devoted fan pages were the norm -- and most of these websites are still out there, unchanged by time and spectacularly crappy by modern standards.
Sure, we remember the release of Independence Day and The Lost World: Jurassic Park as being a uniquely magical time of totally warranted youthful enthusiasm, but a quick look at the websites we all made back then proves that the Internet fan culture of 20 years ago was just as goddamn silly as it is today.
6The Lost World Had A Hyper-Boring Employee Website
Jurassic World comes out this summer, marking the first Jurassic Park sequel in 14 years and the first sequel in any series to just combine the titles of the previous films. Oddly, Jurassic Park never had a stronger Internet presence than it did in 1997, on the eve of the release of The Lost World. Universal built an elaborate official website, disguised as an InGen employee portal (the dinosaur-cloning company from the movies) peppered with hidden Easter eggs about the upcoming film. It's shockingly boring, even by late '90s Internet standards, and it is 100 percent still up and available for viewing for anyone who feels the need to spend hours hunting for teaser content from a movie that came out 18 summers ago.
An actual screenshot from the official website of one of the biggest action-adventure films of all time.
Seriously, try clicking around. It is exhaustingly well-constructed -- there's an HR section with an employee handbook just as dull and barren of dinosaurs as the one for your real job. There's a "Lost And Found" page with only two entries: "Lost -- Spanner wrench used to raise and lower Catwalk -- contact Ted Garvey. Found -- Roll of rare Indian Head nickels -- contact Kevin Davis." They went all-out constructing a thrilling Jurassic Park universe full of memorable characters like the Indian Head nickel-loving Kevin Davis, who apparently kind of sucks at his job:
The marketing section has fluff like "Kudos to Megan Odell, whose brilliant ad campaign has carried those stuffed Compsognathus dolls all the way to the bank." You can also head to the Systems section and read everyone's super boring emails, which are just out there for anyone to see. That might be another piece of subtle universe-building, as Jurassic Park has always had trouble with security.
The Lost World website stands as a testament to how strong the hype surrounding that first Jurassic Park sequel was -- they could afford to put up the most boring shit in the world (which they did) and people were so fucking excited to see more dinosaurs that they ate it up. Again, this website isn't archived -- it totally still exists on Universal's servers, which means that either they're preparing to revamp it for the impending release of Jurassic World or that they've utterly forgotten it exists.
Either that or Dennis Nedry made sure it could never be deleted as a final piece of revenge.
5A Sprawling Independence Day Fan-Fiction Site Ended On A 20-Year Cliffhanger
20th Century Fox
Today, virtually any movie that has any sort of fan base will instantly spawn an ocean of fan fiction, a disproportionate amount of which will be uncomfortably "erotic." Until the dawn of the Internet, we were mostly spared from that unique form of expression. But luckily for us, Independence Day was released just at the right time in Internet history to have an entire fan fiction site dedicated to an alternate take on the film set in Britain, heroically titled ID4UK.
Don't laugh. Ben Towse is now in the House Of Lords.
As you might have heard, Independence Day director Roland Emmerich is currently making explosion noises with his mouth in preparation for Independence Day 2, so there's literally been no better time than right now to revisit this immaculate piece of literature that is absolutely still available on the frozen timeline of horrible decisions that is the Internet.
Essentially, ID4UK is identical to the original film, except with British landmarks blowing up instead of American ones. Also, the whole July 4th thing (you know, both the title and theme of the film) is totally lost, because Independence Day is 100 percent not celebrated in any fashion in England, for pretty much the same reason that the day the War Of 1812 started isn't a national holiday in America. However, Bill Pullman's President Thomas Whitmore still plays a role in ID4UK, routinely calling the British prime minister to keep him updated on the situation in America (a phrase here meaning "relaying the plot of the actual film").
The queen disappears into a helicopter and presumably returns, guns a-blazin', in the climax.
Sadly, ID4UK was never finished. It was abandoned and left standing to confound future generations like the monolith in 2001. The story ends with a haunting "To Be Continued" and a link to the author's unofficial Frasier fan site, as was custom for all websites in the 1990s.
Along with a broken hit counter.