I saw Independence Day five times in the theaters.
For sure, I liked it, but I was also 18 and didn’t have a lot going on that year. I even had a nice ID4 poster up in my freshman year dorm room because, well, everyone needed awesome posters for their walls because that’s what college kids do.
Some movies age well (Shawshank). Others don’t (A Few Good Men). But ID4 still exists in the pantheon for me, an all-timer that’s good to go every now and again. Plus, it’s worth remembering that a black man and a Jewish guy save the world- that’s pretty cool and was pretty cool even 20 years ago.
ID4 was peak Will Smith. I mean PEAK. No one could have been cooler that
him. The scene when he rolls out of bed with looking jacked and then walks out of the room- I mean, who wouldn’t want to look that cool and look that in-shape. I still measure myself by my lack of meeting that standard. Sigh.
Other than that, here are some other highlights.
- The President’s speech. Pretty good still, but is it better or worse than the presidential speech in Armageddon? Hmmm. Hmm. I’ll leave them both here for you. And actually at some point we’ll have to juxtapose both of those movies and talk about it for a few thousand words but I still haven’t done my look back at Singles yet that I’ve been talking about for six months so I think that will have to wait.
- The music- still kinda intense and way underrated.
- Julius Levinson leading Shma Kolenu in the bunker at Area 51 and the “no one’s perfect” response to former Secretary of Defense Nimzicki when he says he’s not Jewish.
- The Israeli and Arab fighter pilots getting together to save the world.
- Will Smith doing the Will Smith thing when he talks trash to the alien ship, knocks out the alien by punching it, and then drags it across the desert while berating it. I still shout out “Who’s the man? Who’s the man?” sometimes thanks to that scene.
- Hacking into the alien mother ship using an Apple Powerbook. Uh-huh. Why not. But you must read this defense of that hack’s plausibility.
ID4 ushered in a whole new era of world-ending movies in which each new summer blockbuster had to try to out-destroy the previous one. Sure, the White House was blown to bits in ID4 but remember when the Chrysler Building fell, pointy-thing first, in Armageddon? Or when the Kaiju trampled over the Golden Gate Bridge in Pacific Rim? Et cetera. ID4 led the way. And for all of the implausible twists and turns, hammed-up lines delivered by President Whitmore (I forget, was he a pilot in the Gulf War? Oh wait, I don’t forget- he only talked about it every ten minutes), and other sappy lines, it still holds up with the best of the summer movies.
And this week, after years of hearing about it from his older brother, I have the privilege of showing it to my 10-year old for the first time, and he’s all in. Just in time to go see the sequel.
Check back for that review.
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