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Movie Monday: Independence Day

On a belated note: Happy Canada Day to my friends north of the border. That is by way of apology for this Yankee-centric post.

I have to admit, it doesn’t have to be the Fourth of July for me to watch Independence Day. This movie is on All. The. Time. And if it’s on, I watch it. It’s one of my wallpaper movies. It makes me happy.

We all know the reasons it’s ridiculous. And if we didn’t, the nitpickers at IMDB will be happy to innumerate the all the reasons why. It breaks the laws of physics within the first 30 seconds. Serious Science Fiction people consider this movie an offense to mankind, and the rest of the world (apparently) hold it up as further proof that Americans are jingoistic idiots with no taste.

But is this fair? Does every alien movie have to be Serious Speculative Fiction Cinema? To take Independence Day as cultural commentary is to take things way too seriously. The aliens come. They are uncomplicated and evil, and essentially drones. We blow them up. Cue Fireworks.

I know real life is more complicated than this. But there are plenty of movies about complex cultures and realistic examinations of the effects of war and cataclysm and blah blah blah the enemy is us. But every once in a while I want to watch a movie which exists sole as an excuse to blow $#^% up.

So here is my list of ways that Independence Day is filled with awesome:

  1. Jeff Goldblum is at his neurotic, nerdy best. His schtick fits the character and the absurdity of his role in the unfolding Saving Of The World. And he is the perfect foil for….
  2. Will Smith, who is at the height of his irreverent, kick-ass hotness. His schtick hits just the right note of ‘I’m fully committed to this ridiculousness, but also fully aware that it’s ridiculous.’ (Goldblum and Smith allegedly improvised at least half their dialogue, which is doubtless why it is so awesome.) Contrast that with how…
  3. Everyone else in the movie place things with complete sincerity. Not a tongue to be seen in cheek. Even Bill Pulman’s awesome and oft quoted speech is played with complete commitment, that toes the line of melodrama, but doesn’t quite tip the scale. The exception to ‘everyone’ is…
  4. Randy Quaid, who’s character is SO over the top, that his character’s fate seems perfectly plausible, and in fact, inevitable, when taken as a whole with the cheesy smorgasbord that is this movie. (And I may just shed a tiny cheddar-colored tear when he says “Tell my kids I love them.” Maybe.)
  5. Jeff Goldblum saves the world with a Macintosh…
  6. in a plot device that is a complete rip off of homage to H.G. Wells.
  7. $#6% blows up. Copiously.
  8. But the dog lives.
  9. President Roslin plays the First Lady.
  10. Jayne!
  11. And of course, this…