July 3, 2005: Nine years after Independence Day blasted its way into summer movie theaters, this "epic" movie has been largely forgotten. And there's a good reason for that: the only reason we saw this movie was to go "Oooooh, Aaaaaah," and say "That blowed up real good!"
Did anyone really care about the way the movie gave us "Irwin Allen Meets War of the Worlds?" Can anyone remember one memorable character from this movie, except possibly Will Smith? Whether it was Jeff Goldbum's re-hash of his Jurassic Park scientist, Bill Pullman's macho President of the United States, or the stereotypical Jewish grandfather who gives the wise advise about viruses that ends up saving the world…no one really cares about these characters. All there is to see in ID4 is things blowing up.
Fortunately for the film's producers, this means that much of the audience overlooked the jingoistic, flag-waving theme behind the movie that connected with the audience far more than the stupid characters did.
In Independence Day, the United States saves the world. In fact, other than the scenes of aliens arriving over Moscow and Iraq, you'd never know that the rest of the world was involved with this alien invasion. It's not really Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, it's "America vs. the Evil Enemy." One of the movie's many conveniences is that the aliens just happen to be a totally evil, faceless Enemy that never allows us to be sympathetic in any way. We don't know where they're from, what the name of their race is, or anything. They're just The Enemy: they're here to destroy us. Good vs. evil. Black-and-white.
Despite the fact that this is a "worldwide" alien invasion, we only see three American cities toasted. We don't hear anything about what happens out there in the rest of the world, because that's not important: this is America we're talking about here. How DARE these Evil Bad Guys attack the Greatest Nation On Earth?
The rest of the world sits back while America fights, and when America figures out how to stop the aliens all we get from the rest of the world is a one-liner from an Israeli solder saying, "It's about time!" "About time" for what? Time for America to get on the stick and save the world once again. Ever since WWII, America has promoted itself as the "protector" of the world. This movie is another way for America to say, "…and don't you forget it!"
And of course, America is such a great nation that even a poorly-trained volunteer air force can defeat a whole armada of alien fighting ships, despite the fact that they're vastly outnumbered. Not only is America the great nation in the world, it's the greatest nation in the Universe! We don't even see the other countries winning
victories against the aliens. It's not important, because America won the war and beat the bad guys.
The whole idea of the title, of course, is that the aliens arrive and attack, and we get to fight them off just in time for that most American of holidays, Independence Day. Except now the whole world gets to celebrate an American holiday: "Independence Day is no longer just an American holiday," as the President said.
It's interesting to note that Hollywood has practically owned most of the movie audiences around the world for years. American movies have such a stranglehold on foreign markets that in some countries, the local film industries barely exist at all. With Independence Day, Hollywood forces this message of America as the Greatest Nation In The World down the throats of moviegoers worldwide. "We save the world and you love us for it!"
Some people are going to flame me for making what looks like a criticism of America, the Greatest Nation In The World. The standard flame in this thread will be, "If you don't like this country, then get the hell out!" I'm not attacking America here. I love this country and I'm glad to be here.
What I am attacking is Hollywood, for creating a piece of blatant propaganda that they will be foisting upon audiences worldwide. It may be pro-American propaganda, but it's still propaganda.
But hey - those cities and ships sure blowed up real good!