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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

No, Seriously: I Love The Movie "Independence Day"

It's the quintessential action movie; it's the quintessential "don't think too hard" sci-fi movie; it's vintage Will Smith, for good or ill, I suppose. It's underrated for its heart. Maybe that's why I'm writing this.

If you add up the slew of really good acting performances--Smith, Pullman, Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, and on and on, you get a good movie, no matter what critics say, or the prevailing belief that you're not allowed to appreciate a mega-blockbuster as a good movie. Did you know this movie grossed over 847 million dollars, worldwide? At the time, it was the second-highest total of all time. Somebody liked it.

We have coined the unfortunate phrase, "disaster porn" since this film to talk about the tendency to destroy everything to make the point that whatever has happened is really, really, bad, but it was legitimately impressive and new in 1996. I just keep thinking that the relationships between the characters are believable and work well. This is why this movie works, on a human level.

Hirsch and Goldblum are really great as father and son. Pullman just kills it as the POTUS, delivering one of the best speeches ever, on the eve of the final battle. Goldblum and Smith are great together when they go to sabotage the bad guys.

Those kids. If the "President's" little daughter, and "Capt. Hiller's" little son don't just make you want to squeeze them, you may be a troll.

There's a wedding, between Smith's Hiller, and Vivica A. Fox's Jasmine Dubrow. Margaret Colin plays Goldblum's estranged wife; they may even be divorced. They get back together! Don't blame me for being pleased.

Harry Connick, Jr. plays Will's Marine pilot crony, and he's hilarious and endearing. He does a great impression of Jesse Jackson (no kidding), reminding us all that, hey, that guy used to be important, and we all used to like him.

The only weak point of the movie from a Christian moral perspective may be the conversation between the president's wife, critically injured, and Jasmine, who eventually tells Mrs. Whitmore that she is an exotic dancer. The First Lady says (correctly), "I'm sorry." Jasmine says, "Don't be." She makes good money, blah, blah, "sex-positive" nonsense, blah. It's one thing to treat people like people, even if they are in disreputable work; it's another thing to believe the lie that there is no disreputable work. But really, a very good movie. Heroism, drama, action, humor, good acting...what do you want?

Of course, I'm pumped for the sequel. We don't need it, but I'll be watching next summer.

Side-bar: I think Whitmore has to be a Democrat. The GOP doesn't need to nominate ex-fighter pilot presidential candidates to win. [Didn't they actually do this?--ed.] Touche. Still, that's my bet. P.S. OK, it's awesome that the president flies into battle, even if we are a bunch of militaristic jingoists. I digress.

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