15 March 2013

Independence Day

Independence Day (1996)
  • Director: Roland Emmerich
  • Based on Book: no
  • Cast: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Robert Loggia, Randy Quaid, Viveca A. Fox
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Will Smith: I Am Legend, Wild Wild West, Men in Black, Six Degrees of Separation
    • Bill Pullman: Igby Goes Down, While You Were Sleeping, Sleepless in Seattle, A League of Their Own, The Accidental Tourist
    • Jeff Goldblum:  Igby Goes Down, Jurassic Park, The Fly, Silverado
    • Mary McDonnell: Donnie Darko, Dances with Wolves, Matewan
    • Judd Hirsch: A Beautiful Mind,  there must be more I’ve seen but I can’t find any
    • Robert Loggia: The Sopranos, Dharma and Greg, Wide Awake, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Prizzi’s Honor, lots of old TV series
    • Randy Quaid: Brokeback Mountain, Bound for Glory, Paper Moon, The Last Picture Show
    • Viveca A. Fox: Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2, Ella Enchanted, Born on the Fourth of July
  • Why bought: It was in a box of doomsday films of which I wanted only The Day After Tomorrow
  • Seen: November 16, 2012

I have avoided this film for a long time because in the reviews it was described as American patriotic. It certainly is, to the point of being nauseating and ridiculous.  There are other reasons not to like it.  The gender stereotypes are firmly set – macho guys who love their wives and children but go off to war to save the world, tough beautiful chicks who nevertheless hug them good-bye and wave them off, or conveniently die.  The rescue of the world against the overpowering bad-guy aliens who locust like are stripping the planet of all life (what possible evolutionary purpose could such creatures play?) is achieved by a) weapons, b) a computer virus that a second-grade intergalactic power could brush off with a simple Norton virus protection program, c) macho bravado and d) just a touch of Christian and Jewish faith…God just might be out there, right?
So an automatic 0 * of 100, right? Um. No.
I kind of liked it. Stupid, yes. Hokey, yes. A tad unrealistic even within the framework of slimy-vastly-superior-technologically-invaders-out-to-destroy-us sci-fi, yes. Shallow characters, dull personal stories. Yes.
But it’s always fun to watch Will Smith. Jeff Goldblum is kind of likeable as the nerdy genius who figures it all out.  The acting generally is, if not enthralling, at least competent.  The big enormous space ship hanging over all the cities is kind of cool. And there are a lot of spectacular fires, although I did snooze through the bombing.
So not a zero, no.  You don’t have to rush out and see it but for a Friday night? Let’s say 1* out of 5 which puts it way above Caveman and 2012 Ice Age but well below the Alien series, for example.

1* of 5.

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