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Independence Day (1996) - Movie Review, Analysis, and Deconstruction

Independence Day (1996) - Movie Review and Analysis


Aaron and Steve discuss the 1996 summer blockbuster film Independence Day. When the world wakes up to 15-mile wide spaceships hovering over all major cities, it is up to President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) to lead the nation and the world in defense of the plant. Enlisting the help of scientist David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and a hot shot pilot (Will Smith) to win the day and save the planet.


Transcript as follows:

Participant #1:

Well, Freud was right.


Participant #1:

Hello and welcome to the second episode of Cinema Decon deconstructing and overthinking the movies of our younger years. My name is Steve Epley, and on this podcast, we will revisit the movies that we keep in the back part of our minds. Flawless masterpieces, untouchable by any criticism, and hopefully they stay that way. Join us as we re watch a randomly selected movie from our list of 300 plus from the. With me on this journey is my co host who would never light up a cigar before the fat lady sang. Aaron, how are you tonight, Aaron? I am doing excellent tonight, Steve. It's been a really long week, so I'm glad to be able to sit down and actually talk about movies for a change. Yeah, it's been about a week since we met up and been looking forward to talking about this week's movie. Yes, a staple classic from the mid to late ninety s. So, as we embark on this second episode of Cinema Decon, we want to send a big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to listen to our first cuts, multiple cuts of terrible cuts and provided feedback on all the things our friends bud, Jamal, Pete, Michelle, who is my wife, michael, my dad. A lot of people out there provide some good feedback out there for us and hopefully we can use it or ignore it. Either or. Oh, is ignoring it an option? Excellent. Yes. I vote for that. Yes. If they tell us to be funnier, we may ignore that. Anyone who thinks they know more about movies than Steve and I obviously don't know what to do. Don't be yourself. Why would you do that? I mean, so far the process for me has been pretty fun. I've learned a lot about the editing process and just the recording process, and it's just been a lot of fun in my spare time. Pretty much spicing things up to make Erin and I sound a lot better than we actually are. Hearing yourself is a bit weird when you're doing the editing process. That's going to take some getting used to, but I think it turned out all right. We've been able to put out a trailer, so for those out there that have listened to our episode zero trailer, please do. I think it turned out okay. And due to that trailer, we are now available on all major podcast outlets. So your Apple, your Google, your Stitcher, your Diesel, and there's a whole bunch of them out there. Did you just make some of those up? Yes, maybe. Okay, all words are made up. Now you're just making up words. To follow up on the feedback, though, we do want to clear up a few things and specifically what happened when we spun the wheel after coneheads. So we are using a Google random number generator that picks a random number between one and 351, which is our list and I spun it twice. But I screwed up because each time it was set to default, which is one through ten. Minimizing the odds rather drastically at that point. Yes, one through ten does not get it out of the A's. Yeah, we would have a really short podcast around if we didn't realize that setting there, so we did it right the last time. Came up with this week's movie and enjoyable process all around. We also received some feedback on the lack of background for us as far as who I am and who Aaron is. So to give some more background on that, I do come from rural Illinois and at 18 I left and joined the army. Did four years, active in several years with call ups and National Guard after that. Ended up in DC, ended up in Iraq, ended up all kinds of places. And it was in Iraq that I met our mutual friend Bud, who after I got out of the military brought me down to Atlanta and that is where I ran into Mr. Aaron for my story. I was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, spent pretty much, I want to say 22. It was either 22 or 23 years. It was so long ago, for lack of a better word, stuck in Wichita. It is described as one of those black hole cities where no matter how hard you try to get out it always pulls you back in. And that was proved a couple of times to me after I went overseas back in 2001 right after 911 and lived for about a year and a half in Qatar. For those that don't know, it's a small peninsula of Saudi Arabia. It's also where Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom were originally run from the base that I was working on. So I was doing some contractor support for the army there, transferred over in three to an Air Force base in Afghanistan and then came back to live in Wichita, aka black hole up until six when I finally had enough of it and wanted to get out. Primarily because the It industry in Wichita is not the greatest. If you're not in aircraft or medicine it's not the best place to be. There's really nothing wrong with the city. It's just primarily in aircraft in medical town. To add on to Erin's thing there, when we met up in Atlanta through our mutual friend we all became defense contractors and we ended up rotating in and out of the Middle East for 710 years. Yeah, off and on both local and ended up through Bagram, Kandahar, Baghdad. All the fun night spots went through there. Not to mention the lovely local spots of Camp Lejeune. That's really the only lovely one. I guess Pendleton wasn't so bad. Being able to go to Disneyland was a nice touch because let's be honest, everyone wants Mr. Coates wild ride. So in all those travels and in our various ways, movies are always there. Any time you're overseas, there is the shared drive that has many, many movies that you can do in your downtime. You just pull one onto your laptop and go ahead and watch it. Or if you're real hung up, you go to the local store and get some bootlegs. If you can handle someone standing up in the middle of the theater and walking out in the middle of your shot, not to mention multiple language subtitles that you can't read. Yeah. I knew I should have learned Russian. And let's not forget all the hours we spent sitting on the floor of random Middle Eastern airports waiting for our military flights just going through. Maybe we could probably fit two or three movies in one sitting waiting for those flights because we'd have to get to the airport at maybe two, three a. M. And it would be 5 hours before we were able to get on one of those planes. Yeah, there'll be many movies on our list that when it goes back to what recollection or memory do you have of that film? It's going to flash back to me to either somewhere defense contractor or somewhere military. A lot of these movies just bring up the fond memories of those days. Fond memories. That was air quotes for everybody who's not watching this on TV. It's hard to portray air quotes through a podcast. They weren't all bad. There she is. There's my wife. And we're live streaming. Say hi, Mrs. She can't hear me. Though I will say my wife has not given me a five star review on itunes yet and probably will not. She doesn't even have the app yet.


Participant #1:

I'm out of liquid. I'm going to grab a liquid. Got me some podcast juice. All right, the ladies go. No girls allowed. God. For today's episode of cinema decon, we will be discussing the 1996 blockbuster Independence day starring Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman. Aaron, what do you remember about this movie? Oh, my God. My first job was at a small movie theater in Wichita between junior and senior year, high school. And it just so happened that was the biggest movie that came out while I was working there. I worked there. I can date when I worked there based on the movies that came out. I started when Paul Bears was in the theater, because I remember as I was waiting for my interview, they had me go sit in the theater and I watched maybe 20 minutes of Paul Bear. Still haven't seen that movie other than that 20 minutes of it. And then I ended, literally, I quit literally the night the Kingpin got cut. They had gotten the reels from Kingpin in, and they wouldn't let me come in since I had quit the night before, even though I was dating a girl that also worked there, I couldn't come in. It's a plus one. But Independence Day was one of the big movies that came in while I was there. I watched that movie so many freaking times for free. I remember clearly seeing this one of the theaters. It was big. I mean, the media market for it, I mean the commercials blowing up the White House. Everyone was this was probably the first movie I waited in line for. It was a very good trailer. I remember the trailer for it didn't give much about the movie other than having them show up and then the White House explodes and everybody's jaw basically drops. So that was pretty intense. I have seen that within the past five years. I think I rewatched it when the terrible sequel came out and I did not rewatch it when the terrible sequel came out. I just watched the terrible sequel and then did some tantrum chanting to try to gain those 2 hours of my life back. So this will be interesting. I probably haven't watched that movie since early two thousand s, I want to say, because that was 95. 96, right? That would have been 96. I have that in our list somewhere. We will see you again when we go back and watch Independence Day. Yeah, let's keep the tires and lack the fires, big daddy. The 4 July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice we will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight. We're going to survive. Today we celebrate our Independence Day.


Participant #1:

So we watched Independence Day again, again and again a couple of times. How can you not? Exactly. I just put it on a loop. There's no sugarcoat in this one. That was a great movie. Yes. I could watch it again right now. I mean, to start out, it has the wonderful late 90s action movie, the giant letters flying into the screen, very circa Total Recall and Terminator with just the music in the background. Yeah. And they also waste absolutely no time whatsoever on little character set up or anything until the plot literally starts with the aliens just showing up. Spoiler alert, this movie is about aliens. If you haven't seen Independence Day by now, I can't help you. Also spoiler alert the planet Earth does not have any ability to see past the moon because this gigantic ship is only seeing they were hiding on the dark side. Somebody forgot to call Pink Floyd. I was happy to see SETI going in there. The only other real movie that I've really seen with SETI with the night guy listening to End of the World as we know it. Surprisingly, the only real song on the soundtrack. Everything else was instrumental. I did not notice that. Yeah, everything that I saw I actually looked up with soundtrack and that was the only song song. But yeah, the only other love that Settle has ever gotten that I've seen was in the movie Contact with Joey Foster. Also a good movie. Before we go any further, though, it is worth mentioning that during our time as defense contractors, aaron and I were satellite network engineers. So when it comes to satellites in this movie, their capabilities, we can make an entire podcast of just talking about SATCOM, Inconsistencies. And media, but nobody wants to listen to that or even just the president of the United States looking solemnly saying, you're talking line of sight. And now I'm sad that I forgot about that line because I would have totally used that in real life a few times. Also, to clear things up, we worked on the satellite antennas. We did not work on the satellites. That would have been a very long commute to work every day. I got that a lot. So you work on satellites? Yes, we have a really big ladder. It was fun working at Teleports, though. Working at the teleport, though. Going and actually seeing the gigantic dishes. Yeah, those giant earth terminals were really cool. When you see a cut scene in the movie where they're relocating their dish that in high speed, when in all actuality to move that sucker 15ft takes 15 hours and then in the air itself, reposition these satellites. Yes. It doesn't really work that way. Exactly, but I digress. We're here to talk about the movie, not the inconsistent use of SATCOM technology. Well, let me segue into robert Losa is awesome. That man has been in many movies. He's the four star general. Four star Marine cart general. Also the coach and necessary roughness. I think he was the boss. And big. Yes, the Piano Dance. He has a very identifiable voice. You'd recognize him without even seeing him. Apparently Roland Emmerich gave him homework in order to prepare for his role and he told him to watch Airport, the thriller for about a terrorist and stuff at an airport and the chaos and stuff. But he mistakenly watched Airplane and then he refused to come out of his trailer because he didn't want to be in a spoof movie. That is by far the best origin story for an actor for a role that I've ever heard. But they introduced his character great because you've got a four star hymn and a two star army general walking towards the door and the four star stops and just looks at the two star. The two stars played by the dad from the Wonder Years. And he hesitates. He's like, oh, crap. And then he opens the door. That was General Officers in a nutshell right there. I loved it. That is comically accurate because the net two star is going to stare down a full bird and be like, Where's my door? And it just keeps rolling downhill. I will say rewatching. This definitely brought back some memories from watching the first time, the intro when the saucers separate from the mothership the camera is basically looks like it's mounted on the surface of the mothership. And you see all the smaller battleships breaking apart and then all rotating around to show that their discs in one move. That was really nice. One thing I did notice later in the movie is if all these saucers were basically mounted on the outside of the mothership. When we saw the actual outside of the mothership later in the movie I didn't notice any actual mounting points for anything. Everything was relatively not smooth. Yeah, you think there would have been little craters. Yeah. Little disk sized USB ports, basically. That's what I was expecting. That would have cost more money. And they couldn't get through Topia or Coke to sponsor the mothership. That and I'm sure somebody had a patent on a UFO shaped docking clamp that they would have had to obtain rights for. And then when they finally entered the atmosphere I remember it from the original sea watching the trailers where they only really show maybe bits and glimpses of the spaceships in the trailer. You see a lot of the fiery storm cloud that is created as they're entering the atmosphere and maybe one or two shots that actually show pieces of the spaceship from completely upward angle and then it's completely covering the background over the buildings as they're being blown up in the trailer. And that's as far as the trailer got. That was one of the things that was kind of cool about the trailer is it didn't touch on the plot at all. It just touched on the destruction. The trailer built some great suspense. It was all set up. All it was was a teaser at that point because nobody knew what the plot of the movie was. At some point, the White House was I don't remember seeing any explosions in the trailer. Did they? I think it exploded. I think that was the end of the trailer. I will say, like for act one of this movie, which is one thing they did rather nicely, was they broke up the movie into the three acts they did over the actual three days that the plot of the movie takes place July 2, July 3, July 4. And they do that pretty evenly. And I think that does really well with act one basically being the destruction of the major city. The first destruction of the major city. Well, I think the act one is the setup itself. The placing of the chest pieces and then the destruction is the start of Act Two or the end of act one. That's the transition point where then you've got the aftermath and then, say, July 4 is the counter attack. Exactly. Yeah. It just seemed like it lined up very well every time the date would fly out. July 2 would be equating to starting act 1, july 3 would be act two, et cetera. I could have done without the jarring transitions to new York. It was just white screen, boom. Statue of Liberty. White screen boom new York. They just seemed out of place for an otherwise excellently paced first act where they took the time to sit down in Central Park with Jeff Goldblum and his dad to talk about chess and just that great exposition over that chess match where you find out everything about that father son duo. That he's smart, he's divorced, he loves his dad, he loves the environment. You find all of this out in just a few excellent lines of dialogue. Although the Judd Hershey's cigar length does change back and forth throughout that conversation. But it's a small nitpick. Yes, there's a couple of things. One of the things I really liked about the Act One sequence is just, I would say, probably the star of Act One, aside from the buildings blowing up, which is pretty cool, especially for 1996, was just the setup of seeing the ships appear. The giant shadows being cast in a long shot over the entire city is the monument. I think that was done really well. And that very slow scene where the satellite itself slowly runs into the mothership. And to anyone who's never actually seen a satellite on the ground, I mean, these things are not tiny. The satellite itself, the center, you're talking the size of a Greyhound bus. And then you've got the solar panels on the side. These things are huge to a human. So do you see it just gradually, gradually get smaller? And then the scene lasts probably five to 10 seconds longer than you think it would. And then it finally hits with this tiny little explosion in the distance just to show the massive size of that mother ship. I will say they did. They had a couple of issues with the perspectives of the ships where, like, some of the shots from below where they were trying to show the mother ship, like, passing over it as high up as the ships are supposed to be their perspective on it changes a little too much, as if it was closer. So it was a little off on there. And then there were obvious other ones where the size that they were describing these battleships it wasn't the mothership ship, the battleships that broke off of it the size that they were describing them as, which is around 15 miles they were depicting them over when they went to wider shots and showed them over entire cities. If you look at the actual mapping of those cities in some shots, a 15 miles ship should encompass a hell of a lot more than what it's actually showing. For example, in the scene where Will Smith comes out of his house and picks up the paper and he notices everybody around him. They're, like, packing up and moving out. He hasn't figured out why yet until he looks forward and sees a 15 miles ship. What appears to be 20 miles away. But if it was really Los Angeles, that ship should have been over directly over his house, something like that. Oh, wow. Because that was a pretty cool reveal scene. It was a great shot. It throws the numbers off a little bit. Well, the approach of those ships is way off as far as the way they said. We've got two over the Atlantic, and they're headed towards New York and DC. And then they show the shadows coming up over DC. And the Washington Monument. Lincoln Memorial. The shadows are coming from the wrong direction, and I would assume New York may have a similar thing. I'm not familiar with the wrong direction geographically out of New York as far as the shadows go, but the one over there in the desert, there was one over the Pacific, and it headed towards La. But yet it shows them all in the Imperial Valley, which is in southeast of Los Angeles. It's a border town in the desert, so the shadows come from the wrong direction, but that's more nitpicking. Yeah. And now that you're mentioning it. I want to say in the scene where they're watching the Russian news. Where it was the really grainy news. It was the first video that anybody was seeing of one of the ships arriving. And at the end of the Russian newscast. They jump back to a map. And you can hear the English dubbing over it of them talking about one of the ships heading to Moscow. I want to say there were two ships on that diagram. I may be misremembering it, but I want to say there were two ships on that diagram that were moving into two different locations. But since these ships came from the same mothership, they should have been moving roughly in the same direction, not coming from two different directions to reach Restaurant, unless they both went around the planet in opposite directions to meet there. The same map also had Berlin as, like, a mile from Moscow. Wait, Berlin is not a mile from Moscow. Well, that whole area is the size of the Eastland Mall, so it's easy. That's what they get for using the metric system. I thought it was funny when David's assistant, after he's discovered the signal and he's talking to his assistant who was hiding under his desk. I can't remember the guy's name, but he's been a lot of things. He's talking to his mom, trying to ask him what he wants to do. The guy from Mrs Doubtfire. I haven't seen that in so long. I'll have to take your word for it. I got to call my brother. But, yeah, he has that line. I got to call my brother. I got to call my housekeeper. I got to call my lawyer and forget my lawyer. The line where he says, Forget my lawyer sounds different. That was dubbed. Yeah. I swear, he's fuck my lawyer. And they're like, no, we already used the F bomb and we want to keep it PG 13. Did they use an F bomb in there? Maybe they didn't. Was that maybe prior to the one F bomb rule for the PG 13? But you can tell they redoubt. That was obvious ADR in the background. Yeah, that was those Galaxy Quest level of obvious, particularly like the warning to Los Angeles, please don't fire guns at the giant spaceship. You may inadvertently trigger an interstellar war. Which, I mean, if you want to nitpick, it would just be more it wouldn't be interstellar because we wouldn't be finding anybody from another star system. Well, I don't know how high were those ships supposed to be from the ground? I don't think any small arms fire is going to reach from the ground to that ship. You're just going to be raining bullets on yourselves. Also. Yes. I don't know if they ever said it's obviously taller than, what was it? The Chrysler. But not the Chrysler building. Taller than the Empire State Building because it was hovering over the Empire State Building. Yeah. I don't know if you could tell from perspective how much higher, even, story wise, but that was probably, I don't know the name of that building in La that it hovered over. The one with obvious I did no security where they let anybody with a sign and a short skirt up to the top. I don't either, but I want to go there. Now, you had me at skirt. I do have some notes here, military wise, about the beginning, because you got the scene on the sub, and these are nitpicks, but the Persian Gulf does not fall under Atlanticon Falls under CENTCOM. They should have reported their sighting to CENTCOM, and that should have went through to the Pentagon. But that's small. But I'll give full credit to the uniforms. The uniforms in this movie were pretty spot on. I mean, I was zeroing in on those and accurate awards, accurate layouts, accurate combat patches, and a lot of combat patches for the mid ninety s. So you're talking the coastavo area and maybe some Desert Storm. Yeah, but I did get a chuckle when I just said northern desert Iraq, and it had the most stereotypical version of Iraqis nomad in the desert. That's not what I remember from northern Iraq. Yeah, and that wasn't the only stereotypical one near the end, where they were recruiting everybody via, quote, unquote trope Morse code, they flashed to, I believe, another Iraqi air base with the British. And then the next scene, I want to say, was the French, who were, of course, in a castle in the rain, smoking cigarettes and eating croissants while they were talking. And the Americans saved the world. Yes. And as they flashed over to Russia, you can hear the ID Four theme song in the background change to, like, a Russian version of itself. Oh, really? To make sure everybody knows we are in Mazarashano. I'm kind of curious, with the light panel helicopter, what language they were attempting to communicate with this completely foreign alien entity with using those light panels. So obviously, we've seen this done in a couple of movies since then and maybe before then. The one that I've heard the most about is, say, the movie The Arrival with how they were depicting what first communication with a completely alien entity might be, and then this light panel thing. I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish, because you would think maybe binary would be the easiest thing to go with 10 kind of thing, but they appeared to be just sending random light flashes. See, what comes to mind for me is Close Encounters of the Third Kind at the end with the lights and the music, but now I'm picturing aliens landing outside my house and trying to communicate me with a gigantic strobe light. I'm going to look at them like their goddamn morons and see, by far the best First Contact communications that I've ever seen is John Fauberty Ubidobi from Star Trek. I need to unfriend you for that. Was that Roy Orbison? It's Roy Orbison. Okay. I literally just looked it up because I couldn't remember who it was. That's what came up when I searched Ubiduby. Ubidubi is Roy Orbison. Classic. Best proof. Yes. Well, it's not the top list on it, I'll tell you that. Stefan Cochrane knows the right one. And besides, the best First Contact is always going to be Mars Attacks. The international sign of the Donut. It's worth mentioning on this, since we're still talking about the mother ships and all that. It's obvious that these ships coming into the atmosphere over all these major places of this size would be environmentally given. The Earth would be wrecked already. These things would be causing tidal waves, actual earthquakes, not the Will Smith tremor that he mentions. These things would be causing havoc. Yeah, it's great. Even just crazy for the size of that mothership. Just the mothership without the battleships would have affected the gravitational pole. Yeah, that'll screw up the moon and quite possibly throwing off the moon as well. But this movie does a great job with establishing the suspension of belief through their storytelling. It's only on the second or 50th re watch, so you're like, man, this would cause problems. Do we want to talk about the intro of all the main characters? Sure. So first we get President Lone Star and married to President Roslyn Young. They hold off and don't go directly into it. They just jump to Lone Star in a bed, talking to Roslyn, who's at a hotel somewhere, and then as he turns on the TV, while they're badmouthing the President, who we haven't actually revealed that he's the President yet. And again, from the trailers, at least the initial trailers, none of the characters are really introduced as who is? I should have. Watched the trailer before this. I'm pretty sure Bill Pullman is in the trailer, but it's not apparent that he's the President. It isn't until he gets up and walks out that he's created and you understand who he is. I did see one moment, though, after that. So they introduced us to those two. He walks out in the hallway, meets his chief of staff, who I don't know her name, but they're going back and forth as far as his agenda and his policies and stuff. Then he gets a call, and I don't know if it was intentional or if it was just a little character choice, but he's got a phone call. He walks over to the phone, and then they say it's the Pentagon. And as he picks it up, the President himself, who is a former pilot, military pilot, he snaps to attention before he picks up that phone, and then he answers it, and then he shrugs. What? Did you say that again? But that was just a nice little character touch of once you're military, you're always military. It's the Pentagon, sir. And he straightens up and snaps up, and then when it comes to his Oval Office later, he has the same Oval Office as Bartlett. Down to the artwork. Did not realize that we recently rewatched all the West Wing again, so that was fresh in my mind. And I saw those paintings, and I got to Google them. Makes me wonder if they changed the rug on the floor so the rug on the other way. I don't know if that's a myth or not. It's a myth. From everything I've read, that's an absolute sorkin. But if Fitzwallis says it, it's true. Fair enough. And then we have the intro of Will Smith and was it Vivica a fox. A. Fox. And their son Dylan. And as soon as he gets up, basically immediately puts on the dog tags with no shirt to immediately establish him as military man. I will say this, and it's not my position to question anyone's parenting, but these two are still sleeping, and they've got a six, seven year old running wild outside, and they're just inside sleeping first thing in the morning. Who's watching this kid? You just described my entire childhood in La. Well, not my entire childhood. I don't know. I'm not questioning the strippers parenting at all. Not how I would have done it. It's okay. He was out finding aliens. But I do have an issue with the trope of the military girlfriend getting all pissed off about the soldier being called back from Leave. That one rubbed me the wrong way every time I see it. To me, when you get involved with a military person, there is a higher duty that you need to accept, and you can't get all pissed off, especially when there's a goddamn alien mothership and your boyfriend's a fighter pilot. I know emotions are high and everything, etc. Or but get over it. He's got to go do his job. Yeah, that one's kind of awesome. And her getting all pissed off. She rubbed me the wrong way right from the very beginning with that scene. I'm not a big fan of her character throughout the movie. Her parenting, too. Let's not also forget to mention the obvious trope of the military fire pilot dating the stripper, because that never happens. Yes. Military never date. Strippers, never. No legume. Unheard of. And then after Captain Hiller, will Smith meets up with his right hand man, the lovely Harry Connor, Jr. It's nice to see Harry in there. Yes. They have their funny little scene in the locker room, the pseudo homo erotic Harry Connor, Jr. Proposing to Will Smith. When the other guy walks in, he's like, no, you guys do your thing. He was hilarious. I thought his little sidekick stick was great. The whole rev proposal thing was funny. And just as a supporting character, it's a shame Will Smith immediately forgot about him when he dies, let alone obviously the best friend fighter pilot is going to die. Oh, yeah. He was doomed from the beginning, and he's going to die. And he's going to die attempting something that he obviously shouldn't. As soon as he started doing it, Will Smith is like, don't you do that. You can't do X while y doesn't matter what he says. I assume there's some sort of aviation flight maneuver he was trying to do that was wrong and he wouldn't have been able to get out. I don't know. What Will Smith said was that he was basically telling me, you can't bank at that speed. From the actual video, it didn't look like he was banking very hard. It obviously caused him a lot of distress and breathing, which apparently, when you're not breathing, you forget to outmaneuver the alien spacecraft and get shot. Yeah. If you're having trouble taking an oxygen, take off your oxygen mask. Yes. Also yeah. When they're walking to their flights, though, there was a line that bugged me. You had Will Smith calling him soldier. You will never find a Marine pilot calling another Marine pilot a soldier. It's just not going to happen. It's not what marines do. No, a soldier is his army, and a Marine will tell you the same thing. But when they're flying, he calls them Marine. That's Northern Marine. So there's just that one line of it was in jest because it was all about the cigar. Don't light that up yet. Don't jinx it. I do remember after the good reverend gets blown up for banking too hard and Will Smith is riding through all the canyons trying to escape the one final alien ship, he looks down and sees that his fuel gauges, or his fuel is running low. But if you actually watch the fuel gauge, it's got a percentage read out that's literally psyching. 100 down to zero. 100 down to zero. 100 down to zero. I didn't catch that. So completely random graphics just to make it look like it's running faster than it is. But I thought that that was a nice continuity touch, though, as far as he does run out of fuel and he ends up 200 miles away from La in the middle of Death Valley, in between Ben Lake and La. Somehow they missed Fort Irwin. Fort Irwin is out there somewhere. They may miss it. I don't think anybody misses Ford Irwin. Barstow. Everyone needs to spend time in barstow. That's for you, bud. I also like how, with the issue with being able to get any can't get any shots, missiles, ammunition or anything through the shields. He basically kills them with concussion against the rock. And that dog fight through the canyon was pretty badass. It was definitely good. And especially good for 96. That was done very well. Yeah. And we forgot one of the main people, which is Dr. Jeff Goldblum. We did speak about his intro with the chess scene, which was probably my favorite scene in the movie. The chess scene. I just like the way they talk and the whole chess yes, the chess metaphor comes up throughout the movie, which is great. Callback what is his job? Actually, it sounds like from what I can tell, he works for a TV broadcast company, possibly one of the major television broadcasters, and runs the communications department on it, basically dealing with because his dad looked down on him for what he does. I guess he's got a brilliant mind from MIT, but he works for, like I say, just a TV channel or something. Yeah. Which goes to a tiny bit of character progression for Judd Hirsch towards the end, where he's proud of you. Well, he thinks he's certain that he could do more with his with as smart as he is, he knows he could do more, and he thinks he's kind of wasting his mind away doing this menial running a TV station type job, which you could say he kind of is wasting away if he's got this level of intelligence. However, it worked out in the end for planet Earth, all he was trying to do was save the planet. And it gave him the ability to search a phone book for his ex wife's phone number and triangulate. That's one thing that people if new kids that they re watch the movie today are not going to understand the concept of a busy signal on a cell phone. When he tries to call her and it's in use because he gets a busy signal, he's like, oh, good, it's in use. I can triangulate it. I can triangulate it so I can park right out in front of the damn White House. Also something that kids today won't understand. What do you mean you can park in front of the White House? You couldn't do that then. Not to worry. Look out the window and wait, I'm here it is for loading and unloading only. I mean, I used to do it all the time. I don't know what you're talking about. I was impressed with his wallet, TVs in his office, though, for 96. All the old school CRTs as well. Yeah, I mean, there was probably 30 TVs on that wall. And let's not forget the best cameo in this movie by far, lieutenant Commander Data as the wily haired crazy scientist from Area 51. Is Data better than Jane, the man I called Jane. I would say yes, because Adam Baldwin is always Adam Baldwin. Lieutenant Commander Data is rarely a crazy. Wiley science. That reminds me of Dr. Wiley from Sonic the Hedgehog. I can see that. Yes. You can tell Brett Steiner was having a blast in that role just overacting as much as he could. Yeah, the exact opposite of what he's used to. Whereas Adam Baldwin is pretty much Adam Baldwin. Everything I've ever seen him in. Jane Cobb being the slightly dumbed down version of it, but still the same character. He still got the same evil, meanish look like don't say anything wrong or I'm just going to punch you from across the room, kind of thing. Officer Jane in this movie is a master of all. He's an EXO, he's a security commander, he's an aviation instructor. He's a sharpshooter. He's everything that every airman wants to be. Like I said, he's Jane. He's Jane. One thing I was kind of curious about. And maybe because I didn't get a chance to rewatch it. But while they were doing the alien autopsy on the alien that Will Smith had knocked out with one punch. Who had stayed unconscious for well over 3 hours while he drug him through the desert. Which a props on Will Smith for having a hell of a punch. They were autopsying him.


Participant #1:

They said that the aliens were basically like you and me. Like when they showed the three that were in the glass jars, for lack of a better term, he was explaining, they're organic. They're like you and me. Their bodies are just as frail as ours. It's the technology, the suits that they wear that make them a lot more formidable. When they were autopsying them, it looked like they were cutting into organic material and basically opening it up and reaching in. And yet the alien is still alive, basically. You see his tentacles or his hand fingers start curling like, oh, he's about to wake up and kill everybody. You would think if they were actually cutting into his organic material, he would kind of be in pain. We know they don't have vocal cords, so he's not going to be screaming. Do you think he'd be doing more than just laying in wait as he's being cut into? And the only thing that I can think of is that their suits that they're in very much resemble organic material as well. At least us. I think that's probably the best way to go. I mean, we don't know there to get into the techy details of their interstellar travel and what they need to do, what they breathe and all that which they did. They breathe oxygen, which is one of the reasons they thought they postulated that they were interested in Earth. It was the same atmosphere, so they could reap the rewards of it. But it's interesting to me that these suits that they're in appear very organic in nature. They're all slimy and slick, and then you look at their vehicles and they're the complete opposite.


Participant #1:

I can see it being done that way from an image perspective for the movie to make them look a little more menacing. Same with the outside of the battleships and the mothership. Very reminiscent of if you look at the walls of the trench run from Star Wars. It was just a lot. Nothing was smooth. It was all things jutting out all over the place just to make it look busier. It kind of reminds me of the Borg, but just in saucer rather than the Cube. Yeah. And again, if you're flying in space, you don't worry about the aerodynamics of having a non smooth surface. And then I guess maybe these things fly. I don't have to worry about that with the shields while they're in atmosphere. If the shields basically create that smooth, aerodynamic surface, which is why they're still able to fly so fast. Which makes me wonder if they fly worse, if you turn the shield off, they start catching a lot of wind resistance on all those jetting out rough edges of the ship. That's true. That could be. So let's talk about the actual explosions, the attack. So those were goddamn awesome. They still hold up today as far as the impressive I know it's all models, and man, they crushed it. I would put that right under the terminator two apocalypse dream sequence. As far as big scale cities being destroyed scenes, it was pretty good. And the biggest reason why I think it's because it was all models, it wasn't CGI. You knew for a fact something actually blew up. This wasn't just a computer rendered model. This was real life. Yeah. I mean, when it comes to the actual explosion, the wave of fire, there's always the famous dog and stripper in the tunnel. They'd be fried. Yeah, the dog who's completely unfazed. The dog who is completely unfazed by anything happening around him, including the giant fireball running at him, who happens to just barely miss it. That an Air Force one. Air Force One was toast. There's no way that plane would have got off the ground, the wall of fire right behind it and an airplane taking off. I'm not a master of avionics, but there's no way I'm actually curious. I was trying to find out what the takeoff speed of one of those jets was so that we could clock the rate of expansion on that firewall, because it was basically expanding at the same rate as Air Force One was taxing at time of take off. So if we knew that, we could know how fast that giant wall of fire was moving. The wall of fire looks pretty amazing. The one thing that was missing in my mind was the shock wave of an explosion. It didn't act like it was an explosion. It literally act like it was like, say, a napalm fire bomb. They just have to keep getting bigger. You didn't get the shockwave or anything. People weren't blown down. That's true. At the exposure, it literally was just like a cloud of flame. And maybe that was on purpose, because it's obviously something alien, and maybe they don't want to do that. Maybe they have a light based napalm style weapon, and that's how it works. Wait, you're not an expert on alien weapon technology? Give me a week. My kids were coming in and out of the room throughout the movie, and my four year old daughter happened to catch part of that, and her only comment was, I hope the trees are safe. No, but then trees are gone. Yeah, the models were great. Whatever company put those to work and built those, great job. Absolutely. I wish more movies did stuff like that today. That's a lost art. Then there's the obvious trope of the alien ship that they have in captivity in Area 51, which hasn't worked in 2030 years. I can't remember when they said it crashed. It was the 50s or sixty s I want to say it was the Roswell incident. Okay, so 30, 40 years. They say different things in the movie. One of the guys, I swear, said, crash landed back in the then the President's like, You've had this thing for 20 years. I'm like, well, that math doesn't work, and you're the leader of the free world. Well, to be fair, he just found out about it. He didn't just find out about math. Math. Not even once. But that shit has been sitting there as a pile of wreckage, and then everything starts turning on right at the mothership, starts showing up as if the alien power and you see this trope a lot. This was in Avengers. This was in Star Wars prequels, where all the robots were controlled by the control ship. You take out the control ship, and all the soldiers are dead. Yeah, the hive mind, sort of yeah, the hive power supply. Yes. At least these guys kind of did it, I want to say first, but they did it before. All those really agree, but it's definitely a shortcut. Yeah. It's such a massive scale of this whole invasion that's really the only way out they could have written. And it also explains why they weren't able to do anything with the ship. I'm kind of curious how far off when they decided to shoot a nuke at the ship over Houston. And then they had the spotter vehicle pull up what appeared to be on, like, a highway exit ramp. I wonder how far away they were. That's a scene that highlighted the secretary of Defense and what a jackass he was, because as soon as that explosion went off, he jumps out of his seat. He's like, yeah, we got him. And then as soon as he's proven wrong but wait, we don't know that the next one won't have the same effect. He's the antagonist in every scenario. He's the sleazy rat guy. He does it very consistently. He's the guy that knows about Area 51 that obviously hasn't told anybody because of his job, even when all the damn aliens show up. Yeah, he's a pretty pissed for secretary of Defense. Yeah, well, on the upside, he didn't have to be that way for long. He's also not Jewish, as we find out. Yes. My little trophy here, just to go down a couple real quick. Keys in the visor. She has the keys in the visor of the truck. Person talking about motion sickness on Air Force One makes somebody else sick. We can go up, we can go down, we can go back, we can go forth, we can go side to side. But he does follow up with the whole, all you need is love for man shot in the back there. Is that the jump scare during the alien autopsy conversations right next to a running helicopter. As we both know, that is impossible. It's hard enough to get conversations over calm equipment in a helicopter, let alone without it. The First Lady, she survives just long enough for the doctors to say they can't do anything. And then the ticking clock. That's my trope list. Yeah, a lot of those are covered for mine, also. When they got to the mothership and we're ready to launch the virus attack, instead of literally, like, hitting a button or hitting Enter on something, he literally brings up a window, types in three paragraphs of what appears to be programming code, like, on the fly, and hit Enter. Like, have that stuff staged. Yeah, it looks like he typed it all I know. That was fast. It didn't even take him, like, three key clicks, and he had the entire page. And he even had time to name the program. The Jolly Roger. Jolly Roger. And he had the program in there, the little bar and the Skull and crossbones. I mean, that's impressive. All on an apple PowerBook. He was a good call back to see David's laptop running macOS System Seven, which brought back some wonderful memories. Do you think that Power book would have been able to boot up with the hello, Dave. Oh, me? Mine did.


Participant #1:

Yes. My IBM apptiva was a piece of shit. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I had a 286 back then. I just know it took me four CD ROMs to play Mist. So whatever he was doing on that power book was impressive. And then that leads into the American save the world plan, which, as trophy and as cliche as it is, I enjoyed it. I thought it was funny. It's about buddy time. What do they suggest? Yeah, that's the whole montage of stereotypical looking as possible in every other location in the world. They want to make sure, you know, they're in the Middle East, they're in France, they're in Russia, they're in Iraq, for example. But then you've also got the US command, who is in a secondary base. We've got our president, we've got our Secretary of Defense, we've got our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. We've got people still, we've got resources, we've got technology. And then it cuts over to random places around the world, and they've already been reduced to tents and what looked like middle officers in their late 20s. That's all the Russians and the British had left to enforce this plan. Which kind of makes me wonder. It brings me to one of my questions about this movie is if you believe good old Randy Quaid that they have been experimenting on humans for years to find out our weaknesses and everything, do you think the aliens did any kind of, like, force recon to determine the best strike points? They had to have known some things because they took out NORAD. Yeah, that was my thing. NORAD would be and if they would have went for the population centers, they wouldn't have went for DC. I think Chicago and Miami have higher populations than DC. New York and La. Obviously those are easy ones, but they really don't go into how the recon of probing Randy Quaid which, by the way, this segment here is the first time we mentioned Randy Quad. This is true. Forgot all about that. They don't really go into how is there a cloaking ship? How would they get Randy Quad? With the current ships that we've seen, they've been pretty obviously gigantic. Even the little cruisers that they fly back to the mothership is still a big ship. Yeah. I'm inclined to believe that Mr. Russell case never did get abducted. I think that is all in his head. It just happens to be his own personal motivation. He is a Vietnam pilot. He's like, we got some PTSD and he's got some issues, but he is the only main character, I would say, that has an arc, that has a firm arc because he starts off as a drunken slob, and in the very end, he is redeemed. He is the man. He is redeemed in the eyes of his kids or step kids. I don't know if that's ever really defined, but he has a full arc and comes around as a good guy. Yeah. Now that you mentioned, I don't think anybody else really changed much. You could argue that Jeff Goldblum and Judd Hirsch maybe a little closer. Largely, they're the same people as when the movie started. Like the scene with him handing in the Bible. That was kind of nice. Just in case. And the speech at the end. Today we celebrate our Independence Day. Oh, yeah. We didn't even talk about the speech. Still very excellent speech. Well given by Bill Pullman as well. I think he's sweet to the point. Still gives you goosebumps at the very end. As the credits are rolling, my six year old son asked me, is there an after credits scene? Oh, child. He's been spoiled by marvel. Yeah. Oh, child. Nobody watched the credits in the 90s.


Participant #1:

No. Unless you personally knew somebody in the movie. Everybody got up and left as soon as the credit started. I think we should move on to our ranking system. Yeah. Because that's pretty much what I got. So the way that we're going to be approaching our rating system is that Aaron and I will be giving a score of one out of 1010 being a perfect movie, one being absolute crap, five being an average run of the mill movie. In order to make this fair, we're going to be adding in the Imdv score as a third person. So we'll take the average, and then we will start keeping track of all these movies and make our gigantic mega list. So what's your rank on Independence Day? So I'm going to get Independence Day a good, like, 7.8. Very watchable, obviously dated just from the technology. There's a lot of things from a plot perspective that wouldn't work out today with new technology and that might hinder new viewers being able to understand certain plot points, aka the concept of a busy signal. But those are little minor points. The actual plot and storytelling of it, I think, was very spot on. I'm going to go with a solid eight. I was really impressed with all of the special effects. I loved all the performances. And despite a couple of nitpicks on the military side and the science side, it's just a thoroughly enjoyable movie. They really hit a home run with that one. Let's see IMDb as our third person. IMDb is a solid 7.0. So we are right in the realm there. Yeah. And our composite score, 7.6. I'm good with that. Yeah, I'm very happy with that. With two movies down, it puts it at the top movie we've ever done. All right, I think we're ready to spin the wheel. Time to spin. Okay, we're going to do it right this time. All right. Big money. Big money. No Whammy. No Whammy. 338. Oh, we got big numbers here. We're down in the 338 is W's. Do we have any w's? Like to buy a vowel? The Wedding Singer. Oh, God. We're going smack into the 90s version of the 80s. Thank everybody for listening, and we hope you stay with us through this little experiment. Please don't forget to subscribe and leave a review on itunes. Check out our website in the show notes to see the full list of movies we'll be covering and our rankings thus far. We'll see you next time on Cinema Decon.


Participant #1:

The man they call Jane.






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