|Independence Day (aka. ID4) 1996 ► 4 / 5|
Popcorn Fest. definition: A Movie (usually a blockbuster) that aims to find the middle ground between audiences of various tastes and generally caters to the popular opinions and imaginative will.
equiv. terms: A similar concept in Indian films are termed 'Masala'. Hindi Cinema(bollywood) ~ bollywood masala/masala fillim & Tamil Cinema(kollywood) ~ masala padam. differences: unlike popcorn, masala isn't served to the audience per se, but denotes the one seen in the story/film on screen. Also, Hollywood prefers to make the genre an art and not compromise on the overall quality. eg., Jaws, Star Wars, The Fugitive, Die Hard, E.T., Indiana Jones etc.
[The above definitions are entirely my own and I hold full responsibility for the same.. ;)]
You are alone/with friends and want to spend a mindless evening consuming popcorn/chicken bucket/soda watching a flick that is a visual feast, which doesn't require much focus or intelligent thought. In the event you missed this Roland Emmerich's blockbuster offering, then do rent it/buy it/steal it, and have a roller-coaster ride with antagonistic aliens, marvelous explosions, and some wonderful performances. There's a reason why I believe ID4 (as in Independence Day-July 4) is the ultimate popcorn fest. That's the reason for the review now. Moreover, I managed to spend such a time as I've described, last weekend, which brought back nostalgic memories for the zillionth moment.
|Roland with his 'E.T' inside it's 'bio-mechanical suit'|
|One fine Manhattan morning..|
Act 1. July 2 > U.f.o enters the earth's atmosphere. Blasts all major cities by nightfall.
Act 2.July 3 > Survivors on the run. Area 51 exists. Various sub-plots converge.
Act 3.July 4 > American/World Independence day as the world unites in it's fight for survival.
Somewhere in all of this, you've got a career making role for Will Smith, an awesome & a cool one for Jeff Goldblum (a favorite actor of mine), a revelation of Bill Pullman as the President (one of the best in movies), Judd Hirsch as a quirky but dignified dad, and several other able supporting casts.
There's no way I can spoil this movie for you - it's all about the experience. You know the humans/protagonists will survive at the end (fundamental rule of all popcorn fests). Conversely, aliens will get their butt-kicked. Capt. Steven Hiller (Will) actually has a line in the movie where he tells he can't wait to whoop E.T.'s ass. Another Spielberg classic is poked at when he punches 'E.T.' square on the face and remarks, a cigar clenched, "Now, that's what I'll call a Close Encounter..".
|Our Liberty at stake ..|
Take for instance, people running away from the wall of fire, blazing towards the camera. Yes, the fire has been filmed in super-slow motion. People on the other hand run in real time. It is evidently a conscious choice on the part of film-makers, and it works. Firstly, the fire that engulfs the cities, almost consistently, spread at the same speed as a jet-plane taking off from the run way (lol). It is definitely fun to watch. Also, the explosion from the ray of death or whatever, is alien in nature. Maybe it isn't as effective as our Nuclear bomb. A point further enforced in the movie's final moments. So do you now see how the popcorn logic works? Hence, the contrivances of the film-makers clearly dished out for fun, serves it's purpose to the story without annoying one or make one laugh to death (see Indy escape a nuclear blast in his latest movie venture.. sic. That's poop-corn logic!)
If Will drives the action part of the film (mostly), then Jeff as David Levinson commands the performance bit. There are several unique and beautiful moments, as much as can be provided, between his dad (Judd Hirsch) and himself. Fondness for his dad comes off effortlessly, from Jeff's eyes, as much as his love for his estranged wife. Jeff, as an actor, commands an intelligent aura about him and makes his characters immune to any bad plots. He first commanded my attention as the 'Chaotician' in Jurassic Park. Spielberg, infact, rewrote the Lost World around his character. Sadly though, it didn't do him nor the story any justice. It is sadder realizing that, until now, only this blockbuster has come close to giving him the kind of opportunity and role that enables him to be more. His David is etched with a finesse and subtlety that instantly elevates the human drama of the film, the moment we encounter him. Notice how deftly he plays the pivotal scene of the movie - demonstrating his plan to defeat the space goons.
|Empire State - a wonder of destruction|
|David Levinson: A toast, to the end of the world.|