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ID4: themes, homages, details

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#1 Orpheus


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Posted 04 July 2016 - 11:23 PM

I'm sorry I've been so absent lately, but my dad has been in the ICU for about a month (You all know how I love medicine, but I've always said that I don't know how non-physicians manage to deal with the medical system in the tricky, but critical, corner cases [much less, the legal/ethical/administrative issues]. I've spent most of my life training in those areas, but those of you who haven't -- YOU are the real heroes)

I recently overrode his ICU docs with an extubation and out-of-protocol follow-up plan [Don't try this on your own, kids. We're highly trained professionals.], which went well, so we got to spend a pleasant July 4 on a regular medical ward, discussing sports and politics, reading the paper together, watching the earliest episodes of Bonanza, Gunsmoke [etc.] from before I was born (including John Wayne's first starring role, The Big Trail, from before my dad was born). Then, to whet our appetites for the fireworks (viewed from the second highest floor of the hospital), we settled in for a viewing of Independence Day [1996] and Independence Day: Resurgence [2016].

I'm guessing we're not the only Americans who turned to those July 4th staples, esp on ID4's 20th anniversary, and with the release of its sequel.

I guess I hadn't seen ID since its opening day (when I was entertaining some visiting dignitaries), because I'd forgotten a lot of the film, and noticed a lot of homages -- and details that many of shows/films, like Stargate SG-1 and the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, borrowed from Independence Day. I've always said "ID4 wasn't a great film, but it was awfully fun to watch, especially for Americans" but now I feel it actually made some real contributions to SF cinema.

I don't want to bias you, so I'll just ask: what do you think; what did you notice?

#2 gsmonks


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Posted 05 July 2016 - 11:24 PM

I just saw ID4. It was . . . how shall I say this politely? A cliche of the original? Of the genre? With tons of dated special defects straight out of a Transformers movie or Battleground LA.

There is a sameness about  current sci-fi special defects that makes these movies cliches of themselves. They're all using the same software, and the result is like churning out bazillions of cartoons that all look the same.

It's like watching 800 Jurassic Park movies in a row. The first one was amazing, the rest are knock-off's that simply can't compete with the original.

They just don't have the "wow" factor of sets and models. A few sci-fi makers are beginning to realise this, but I wonder if even now Jonathan Frakes has realised that his prediction of CGI "being the way to go" wasn't a gross overestimation?

Yes, I caught the Stargate bit at the beginning, etc. I'm afraid that doesn't make up for the cliched script.

It was watchable, but for me it was a B-movie knockoff of the original.
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#3 gsmonks


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Posted 06 July 2016 - 02:22 AM

Also, many of the sound defects were taken from that Battleship vs the aliens movie and Battle LA.

And there was homage to Cloverfield at the end, and Alien, and Predator, and it was kind of a Galaxy Quest mishmash.
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#4 gsmonks


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Posted 06 July 2016 - 02:23 AM

Oh, and War of the Worlds.
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#5 Virgil Vox

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 11:35 PM

I remember watching ID4 when it first came out in theaters. I must have been ten at the time. My dad took myself and my brother and sister to see it. We didn't go see a ton of movies in theaters so when we did they usually stood out to me. The movie blew me away. I thought it was amazing. I recently bought the Blu-Ray version with the extended edition and watched it, and that was probably the first time I've watched the movie in its entirety since 1996 or 1997. I thought it held up surprisingly well. Sure some of the effects were dated but overall it looked good. It was a fun summer blockbuster with good action and characters you could root for. It took its time introducing the characters and building up suspense until the aliens finally started blowing up cities.

Afterwards I became obsessed with alien invasions and had to have any movie or book about the subject. I remember going to Blockbuster (how I miss that store) and finding the original V mini-series on VHS. I just had to have it. My dad warned me that it wouldn't have the same kind of action as Independence Day but I didn't care. I also bought the 1953 War of the Worlds film.

Looking back, it's easy to see influences from both works in ID4. The V motherships entering the atmosphere and setting up shop over various cities around the world is pretty much exactly what happens in ID4.

Still, I do think ID4 influenced sci-fi and other movies. If nothing else, it sent Hollywood scrambling to find new ways of blowing up the world. The speech given by President Whitmore has become more or less iconic and referenced quite a bit, including in the Teen Wolf TV series.
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#6 gsmonks


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Posted 07 July 2016 - 06:13 AM

The core-sucking explanation (I'm trying to avoid spoilers here) was extremely dumb. That's not why the aliens were after Earth. All planets have a core. If that was the reason, there would have been no reason to seek out Earth.

That was as much a clunker as the Jurassic Puke movies, which kept dicking around with the story-line. It's a case of venturing into J. J. Abrams-crappola territory. You can't write worth beans, so you try to make up for it by buggering the story-line up the arse, trying to give everyone the impression that you're more clever than you appear. However- stupid is as stupid does.

There's also all the obvious non-scientific stuff, such as spacecraft having aerodynamics, completely misunderstanding the nature of atomic fusion and its potential uses, things not moving, acting, and reacting right, to scale, and so on.

Plus they killed off Wil Smith. Was that a sign of a B-movie budget or what? I wonder what they had to pay for referencing him in the movie? About half their budget?
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