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Independence Day Still Holds Up Comic Watch

Independence Day  Still Holds Up  Comic Watch


<em>Independence Day</em> at 25 Sun, 04 Jul 2021 11:00:00 +0100-The movies we love as children tend to get a whole lot worse once not viewed through the rose colored glasses our childhoods bring. I was expecting that to be …

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Independence Day: Still Holds Up

July 04, 2021

The movies we love as children tend to get a whole lot worse once not viewed through the rose colored glasses our childhoods bring. I was expecting that to be true of Independence Day, the hit 1996 sci-fi classic, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the movie still held up relatively well. 

One thing that probably helped me enjoy this movie during my second watch was that when I was younger I went into the movie knowing that it, ultimately, was a ‘90s action movie. You have to know what you expect. The reason to watch this movie isn’t the touching moments and certainly isn’t the film’s emotional climax. This is an action movie, and therefore should be enjoyed for other reasons. 

One thing that I’ve always felt impressive about this movie was the buildup. Aliens have invaded Earth and instead of forcing the humans to surrender immediately, they showcase their power and hope that will be enough to get everyone to surrender. I feel like if aliens were to show up this is around how they would act. This characterization also proves them to not just have technological advancements and scientific intelligence, but a good grasp on psychological warfare, which is the most terrifying kind there is. 

It’s to be noted that for 1996, the movie’s special effects still hold up pretty well. Independence Day isn’t 2001: A Space Odyssey by any stretch of the imagination but they do their job and look convincing enough. The aliens themselves also look as real as they need to. 

One of the best reasons to watch this movie is the big presidential speech towards the end. No one’s wondering why it’s considered to be one of the greatest movie monologues of all time. Why it’s been mentioned in almost every movie monologue book I’ve ever seen. It’s the type of monologue that’ll give you chills and make you proud to be an American even though the President is fake and the situation is made up. 

While the movie’s writing, as a whole, isn’t perfect, there are a lot of really excellent moments. Every piece of dialogue relating directly to the main plot is excellent, with the movie containing some really memorable lines, including when Hiller (Will Smith) approaches the alien ship he’s crashed and when the alien first speaks. All moments that have lasted in my head since I originally saw the movie and were fun to revisit. 

Unfortunately, the film, with it’s ups, has it’s downs. Independence Day doesn’t have the greatest emotional moments. The movie probably could’ve gotten rid of every single scene that was meant to develop a romance plot or foster a theme of family because that’s not what the film is best at.


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Independence Day: Still Holds Up – Comic Watch Sun, 04 Jul 2021 11:00:00 +0100-Another complaint: Why do people keep laughing at Randy Quaid (like Jeff Goldblum, simply Randy Quaid in most of his movies), thought a nutjob for claiming to …

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Independence Day at 25

July 04, 2021

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Aliens blow up the White House in the trailer for 1996’s Independence Day. (via YouTube)

There are certain complaints one can make of Independence Day, the 1996 Roland Emmerich alien-invasion blockbuster. The most common one is: How does super-genius Jeff Goldblum (yes, his character has a name, but I choose to believe Jeff Goldblum is just Jeff Goldblum in all of his movies) manage to save the day by uploading a computer virus onto an alien mothership? It can be hard to work between a Mac and a PC; surely there would be some interoperability issues between different species’ hardware. Another complaint: Why do people keep laughing at Randy Quaid (like Jeff Goldblum, simply Randy Quaid in most of his movies), thought a nutjob for claiming to have been abducted by aliens, when he swears revenge on them after the whole world knows they’re real? And does anybody other than Governor Patrick Stevens care that the president (Bill Pullman) nuked Houston?

Etc. But the now-25-year-old movie is such a fine example of big-screen fun that it inclines you to ignore these things. Especially if you love America. Because, fittingly for a movie first released the day before Independence Day and in the middle of the “unipolar moment,” in which this country stood alone, uncontested as the dominant actor on the world stage, Independence Day is an American movie through and through. (Despite the improbable oddity of its being made by a left-wing German.) As Sonny Bunch put in his 2016 review of Independence Day‘s misbegotten sequel (which, out of principle, I have not seen):

You see this throughout the movie. The first we see of the alien invasion is an ominous shadow over the American flag planted on the moon. (Yes, the plaque there reads we went there “for all mankind,” but it ain’t the U.N. flag up there.) Then, the movie focuses almost exclusively on the United States. The world simply assumes that the U.S. will have the plan for counterattack, and defers to it entirely. Then you have the president himself leading the climactic assault against the alien invaders — but only after a rousing pre-battle speech so famous I won’t bother to quote it here; if you can’t play it in your head on command, you should just watch it now:

All of this would be more than enough for a thoroughly American spectacle. But then you have, in a peak Will Smith performance, American swagger personified. One of the other things people often mock about Independence Day is what Smith’s character says after he — let this be emphasized — punches one of the alien invaders in the face: “Welcome to earth.” (It’s typically derided as, “Welcome to earf,” which . . . it doesn’t sound like to me.) But let’s remember what we’ve just seen in the moments preceding that: an American airman engages in a dogfight with an alien craft literally lightyears more advanced than what he’s flying . . . and he wins. That’s the kind of audacity that this country was built on. It doesn’t take much imagination to imagine Neil Armstrong or Chuck Yeager, or, going further back, John Paul Jones or a legion of similar can-do spirits acting similarly under the same circumstances.

And say what you will about that much-mocked virus upload. The collaboration between Goldblum, fresh off defeating dinosaurs, and Smithian Swagger is a perfect representation in miniature of the combination of brains and brawn that made, and still make, this country great.

Together, all of this helps make Independence Day, whatever its flaws, a fun watch anytime. But especially on the Fourth of July. Is it “jingoistic”? Maybe. But that didn’t hurt its worldwide box office at the time, whereas its more global-focused sequel made half as much in unadjusted dollars. A useful reminder, perhaps, of the spirit we could soon have to embody . . .

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Aliens blow up the White House in the trailer for 1996’s Independence Day. (via YouTube)

There are certain complaints one can make of Independence Day, the 1996 Roland Emmerich alien-invasion blockbuster. The most common one is: How does super-genius Jeff Goldblum (yes, his character has a name, but I choose to believe Jeff Goldblum is just Jeff Goldblum in all of his movies) manage to save the day by uploading a computer virus onto an alien mothership? It can be hard to work between a Mac and a PC; surely there would be some interoperability issues between different species’ hardware. Another complaint: Why do people keep laughing at Randy Quaid (like Jeff Goldblum, simply Randy Quaid in most of his movies), thought a nutjob for claiming to have been abducted by aliens, when he swears revenge on them after the whole world knows they’re real? And does anybody other than Governor Patrick Stevens care that the president (Bill Pullman) nuked Houston?

Etc. But the now-25-year-old movie is such a fine example of big-screen fun that it inclines you to ignore these things. Especially if you love America. Because, fittingly for a movie first released the day before Independence Day and in the middle of the “unipolar moment,” in which this country stood alone, uncontested as the dominant actor on the world stage, Independence Day is an American movie through and through. (Despite the improbable oddity of its being made by a left-wing German.) As Sonny Bunch put in his 2016 review of Independence Day‘s misbegotten sequel (which, out of principle, I have not seen):

You see this throughout the movie. The first we see of the alien invasion is an ominous shadow over the American flag planted on the moon. (Yes, the plaque there reads we went there “for all mankind,” but it ain’t the U.N. flag up there.) Then, the movie focuses almost exclusively on the United States. The world simply assumes that the U.S. will have the plan for counterattack, and defers to it entirely. Then you have the president himself leading the climactic assault against the alien invaders — but only after a rousing pre-battle speech so famous I won’t bother to quote it here; if you can’t play it in your head on command, you should just watch it now:

All of this would be more than enough for a thoroughly American spectacle. But then you have, in a peak Will Smith performance, American swagger personified. One of the other things people often mock about Independence Day is what Smith’s character says after he — let this be emphasized — punches one of the alien invaders in the face: “Welcome to earth.” (It’s typically derided as, “Welcome to earf,” which . . . it doesn’t sound like to me.) But let’s remember what we’ve just seen in the moments preceding that: an American airman engages in a dogfight with an alien craft literally lightyears more advanced than what he’s flying . . . and he wins. That’s the kind of audacity that this country was built on. It doesn’t take much imagination to imagine Neil Armstrong or Chuck Yeager, or, going further back, John Paul Jones or a legion of similar can-do spirits acting similarly under the same circumstances.

And say what you will about that much-mocked virus upload. The collaboration between Goldblum, fresh off defeating dinosaurs, and Smithian Swagger is a perfect representation in miniature of the combination of brains and brawn that made, and still make, this country great.

Together, all of this helps make Independence Day, whatever its flaws, a fun watch anytime. But especially on the Fourth of July. Is it “jingoistic”? Maybe. But that didn’t hurt its worldwide box office at the time, whereas its more global-focused sequel made half as much in unadjusted dollars. A useful reminder, perhaps, of the spirit we could soon have to embody . . .

image

Parents have had enough of the politicization of their local schools. And even if the schools themselves can't see it yet, they will soon.
image

Every good prosecutor will tell you that the best case is a strong circumstantial case — and that’s exactly what we have.
image

Donald Trump really does believe that he, along with two former GOP senators, will be ‘reinstated’ to office this summer.
image

The New Zealand weightlifter, who was born and competed as a male, has clear advantages over female competitors.
image

Jon Taylor had a disagreement with Jones over COVID data, so she falsely accused him of sexual harassment.
image

The demands of nightly doses of craven partisanship for year upon year have ruined him.
image

The Declaration of Independence, not the ratification of the Constitution, marks the nation’s birth. That truth helped save the Union and free the slaves.
image

Politically, it would be difficult to return the job's focus to foreign affairs, as the Constitution intended. But it would do the nation a lot of good.
image

John Mellencamp’s ‘Pink Houses’ is beloved by patriotic Americans, despite its anti-American origins.
image

The South invoked the Founders’ struggle for freedom — and ignored crucial differences in doing so.
image

This English philosopher had a hand in two of the greatest political revolutions for human freedom in world history. That’s a legacy worth recalling this July 4.
image

July 4 is the greatest single day for human liberty in the history of the world.
image

Parents have had enough of the politicization of their local schools. And even if the schools themselves can't see it yet, they will soon.
image

Every good prosecutor will tell you that the best case is a strong circumstantial case — and that’s exactly what we have.
image

Donald Trump really does believe that he, along with two former GOP senators, will be ‘reinstated’ to office this summer.
image

The New Zealand weightlifter, who was born and competed as a male, has clear advantages over female competitors.
image

Jon Taylor had a disagreement with Jones over COVID data, so she falsely accused him of sexual harassment.
image

The demands of nightly doses of craven partisanship for year upon year have ruined him.
image

The Declaration of Independence, not the ratification of the Constitution, marks the nation’s birth. That truth helped save the Union and free the slaves.
image

Politically, it would be difficult to return the job's focus to foreign affairs, as the Constitution intended. But it would do the nation a lot of good.
image

John Mellencamp’s ‘Pink Houses’ is beloved by patriotic Americans, despite its anti-American origins.
image

The South invoked the Founders’ struggle for freedom — and ignored crucial differences in doing so.
image

This English philosopher had a hand in two of the greatest political revolutions for human freedom in world history. That’s a legacy worth recalling this July 4.
image

July 4 is the greatest single day for human liberty in the history of the world.


... read more
– July 4, 2021
Independence Day Still Holds Up Comic Watch

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