That’s right, fucking Independence Day (Emmerich 96). I just made this blog PG-13. I decided that with the 4th upon us U.S. people that a fitting movie would be right. So, after perusing my 1001 book, I found this gem of a disaster and sci-fi epic. I remember when I first saw this film; I loved it. I even begged for the alien toy so that I could open up the exoskeleton and play with the insides (hehe). Watching now, I have a different perspective. If the the title alone did not cue you, this movie is patriotic to the core. Amidst all of the humor, the catastrophe, and the off and on screen deaths, patriotism rings clear. But, I do not think it was all about U.S. patriotism. Let’s look at the film, and the cast to see what I mean.
A group of aliens attacks earth and tries to destroy everything and everyone. To combat this threat, militant groups worldwide get together to fight the invaders. Although the movie is definitely grounded in the States, it does reference and allow scenes that show the fight elsewhere (many of these scenes are stereotypical and cheesy though). The English fighting with Middle Eastern forces, the Russian, and even different Asian militaries are all fighting to exist. This is evidenced in the cast, which is as diverse as it is lacking. We have David (Jeff Goldblum) and his father, Jewish. We have Steve (Will Smith) and his girlfriend/wife Jasmine (Vivica A. Fox), Black. We have regular white people, even white people with Hispanic kids. We do not have any major Asian players…; anyway, Bill Pullman as the president says it best in his riveting and inspiring speech to the people before the big attack. We must put the petty squables aside for the sake of mankind. So, this movie wants to be about unity for everyone, and it succeeds and fails. A I stated previously, it shows scenes of people from different countries fighting the good fight, but they seem so cliche. Once again, the U.S. is the featured country in this film, and it does not stray far.
Now with that said, how cool is this film special effects-wise. You might not think so with the likes of Avatar (Cameron 2009) and Prometheus (Scott 2012) now being around, but for 1996, this movie had the stuff. First of all, it is science fiction, so that’s a win. Second, it has ridiculous humor like the casting of Randy Quaid, that’s another win. Third, watching national monuments get blown up is pretty cool, especially when it looks great, even today. This movie is a special effects spectacle. Granted there are plenty of lame effects too, like the obvious superimpositions, or work with green screens. However, that can be forgotten, and mostly ignored, when thinking about the film as a whole. I admit I did laugh when I saw this film was on a list of films you must see before you die. I mean that has to give it some credit right. All in all, I enjoyed rewatching Independence Day. I will end this blog with just one really bad thing. Did you have to make the strongest female character in the whole film a damn stripper, huh Emmerich? Why was the part of her backstory even necessary? My thoughts, they just wanted to show some ass. Does ass make this an R rated blog now?
Next Week: Josef von Sternberg – Der Blaue Engel, The Blue Angel