Happy ID4 day!
July 4, 2012 9:58 AM   Subscribe

"Welcome to Earth!"
posted by Artw (79 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
BOOMER WILL LIVE
posted by The Whelk at 10:05 AM on July 4, 2012


Pullman's speech in NYC
posted by erikgrande at 10:08 AM on July 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I remember when the White House blew up, the audience in the theater cheered, which felt... weird.
posted by gwint at 10:10 AM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I wonder what would have happened to the title if they actually made four Independence Day movies.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:18 AM on July 4, 2012


Independence Day 4: Bastille Day.
posted by The Whelk at 10:19 AM on July 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Goddammit, that is the best presidential speech, fake or otherwise, ever written.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:20 AM on July 4, 2012


In fact, it deserves to be reproduced in text here, lest the non-video-enabled mefites be deprived of its glory:
Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in this history of mankind.

Mankind -- that word should have new meaning for all of us today.

We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore.

We will be united in our common interests.

Perhaps its fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom, not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution -- but from annihilation.

We're fighting for our right to live, to exist.

And should we win the day, the 4th of 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 live on!

We're going to survive!"

Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!
- Fake President Pullman
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:22 AM on July 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


As the dog was to ID4 the stupid whiney boy kid with a death wish was to War of the Words.
posted by Artw at 10:25 AM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The threat of world-wide alien invasion is pretty much the only thing rationalizing the US Defense budget.
posted by The Whelk at 10:27 AM on July 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I love this movie. Sadly, it's not on Netflix instant.
posted by desjardins at 10:28 AM on July 4, 2012


I do admit to having a soft spot for this movie. Perhaps I'm a victim of that all too typical American psychosis: nostalgia. A plot like this isn't possible in today's climate of skepticism and relativist attitudes. You can't give a space alien mothership a computer virus; the concept is laughable to even the most computer-illiterate in today's world.

I am reminded of the part after the Americans' discovery of the Alien warships' vulnerability is telegraphed around the world, when the courier text announces that the camera is now in Iraq, where a dashing and convivial British pilot is consulting over maps with his Iraqi counterparts in a makeshift encampment straight out of one of those color WWII films you saw on Memorial Day on TCM and A&E. "The Americans have discovered the Aliens' weakness?" he says (at least as much as I can remember it). "About bloody time!"

Ah, the good old days.
posted by anewnadir at 10:35 AM on July 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow, it totally makes sense as a revisiting the role of the U.S. in WW I and II. Pullman at that time was sorta an American archetype - the corn-fed steely man of fairness. Which is probably why David Lynch started casting him in his movies.
posted by angrycat at 10:44 AM on July 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


With regard to the much-maligned alien computer virus vulnerability, I read once that a scene got cut which explained that we really got our computer technology from study of the crashed alien craft, explaining the compatibility, but the aliens' culture did not require them to think of security in the way we do, explaining why the vulnerability existed.

Overall the movie was enough fun that I forgave them even when I didn't know that.
posted by localroger at 10:47 AM on July 4, 2012


We lcome to Eartth? How do you lcome somewhere?
posted by item at 10:58 AM on July 4, 2012


I'm sorry, but all complaints re:the post must be in the format "Aw, hell no!".
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on July 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


And or Fresh prince rap.
posted by The Whelk at 11:00 AM on July 4, 2012


Word.
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on July 4, 2012


You can't give a space alien mothership a computer virus

How do you know?? Have you tried??
posted by desjardins at 11:13 AM on July 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


This movie often is criticized for having plot holes & ridiculous situations, hammy performances, etc. etc.. However, I've always thought of it as a bigger-budget, modernized version of one of those ultra-cheesy alien-invasion B-movies from the late 1950s/early 1960s. Seen in that context, it's a lot of fun.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 11:14 AM on July 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


The original* and the best**!

* Probably not, hat tip to Mr. Wells
** But come on now!
posted by Artw at 11:17 AM on July 4, 2012


We come in peace. WE COME IN PEACE. We come in peace. We come in peace. We come in peace. We come in peace. We come in peace. We CoMe In PeAcE. We come in peace.
posted by Nomyte at 11:17 AM on July 4, 2012


anewnadir, From the IMSDB:
ANGLE - ARABIAN AIR FORCE CAMP

Dozens of Arab pilots are gathered around a large radio as the
Morse code comes through. Thomson quickly kneels down, taking
notes.

THOMSON
It's from the Americans. They
want to organize a counter
offensive.

REGINALD
It's about bloody time. What do
they plan to do?

Of course he's named Reginald.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:17 AM on July 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I remember watching that scene in a US cinema with a bunch of folks from the UK working in a summer camp. We couldn't stop laughing at the one appearance the dashing RAF chaps from blighty got in the film. We may also have cheered the aliens quite at lot as they tore up New York and Washington.
posted by invisible_al at 11:21 AM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the blog post:
I was 8 years old and terrfied of aliens

I hate knowing I was a freshman in college when this person was born.
posted by thanotopsis at 11:23 AM on July 4, 2012


I call upon all nations to do everything they can to make Independence Day 2. Thank you. Now, watch this drive.
posted by samofidelis at 11:25 AM on July 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


The threat of world-wide alien invasion is pretty much the only thing rationalizing the US Defense budget.

freebird knew this years ago.
posted by ODiV at 11:28 AM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


A countdown to what, David?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:36 AM on July 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thank you!

...don't hit me....

posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 11:49 AM on July 4, 2012


I call upon all nations to do everything they can to make Independence Day 2.

And someone years ago suggested that it be darker, and have a sour ending, and be called "Memorial Day". And I like that idea, even if it seems silly now.
posted by cashman at 11:50 AM on July 4, 2012


I really dislike this film. It's kind of okay as an homage to 50s disaster movies, but those 50s movies didn't have stupid nonsensical logo titles like "ID4," or perpetuate the tradition of utterly stupid special effects movies that at their utmost expression has given us the output of Michael Bay.

But it's more than that, it's how the people who made it seem like they felt like they were making some substantive statement about humanity through their idiot blockbuster alien attack movie. Nothing illustrates this better than the text on the back of that lenticular card that went out with the VHS release, which I've tried Googling for to reproduce here but couldn't find. But it's really self-important and smug, offensively so.
posted by JHarris at 11:55 AM on July 4, 2012


You can't give a space alien mothership a computer virus
How do you know?? Have you tried??


When interfacing with strange alien computer systems always wear a space condom.

And yes, I'm going to say you can't, not unless the alien computer runs DOS. And yet, as the movie takes pains to show us as one of the first exemplars of Apple Computer's insane drive to have EVERY laptop seen in movies have their logo plastered on its lid, it was written on a Mac! The alien mothership is more compatible with Earthican computer viruses than the computer the virus was written on.

And the story point mentioned above, about how a scene was deleted that claimed that all Earth computer tech was derived from a crashed alien spaceship? That makes things WORSE, not better.

But the REALLY offensive thing I find about the movie isn't, strictly speaking, the moviemaker's fault, except maybe in showing their lack of imagination. It is this: we had a big national disaster five short years after it came out that showed us conclusively that, if our country ever did get attacked by a alien mothership, the first thing our government would do is pour trillions of dollars into the defense industry in a dire effort to INVADE SPACE.
posted by JHarris at 12:06 PM on July 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm beginning to think that JHarris is 1/16th space alien and still pissed about the space trail of tears.
posted by Artw at 12:18 PM on July 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm with JHarris. Certainly was no Mars Attacks!.
posted by Schmucko at 12:21 PM on July 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


As a kid with more than a passing interest in the intersections of big cities and BIGSPLOSIONS, I absolutely loved this movie when it came out, to the point that I'm a little sad I didn't think to do a big post on this, it's 15th anniversary.

I don't have time at the moment, but stay tuned later tonight for a memory dump of cool ID4 ephemera. (And there's a lot more of it than you'd think)
posted by Rhaomi at 12:27 PM on July 4, 2012


As an alien, I really dislike "kill all aliens" movies. I know the word "alien" can mean different things, but I can't expect everyone else to.
posted by Nomyte at 12:32 PM on July 4, 2012


I was silenced while chatting with my sister last night so she could have a quiet, respectful moment to hear Will Smith declare that he could have been be at a barbeque.
posted by maryr at 12:42 PM on July 4, 2012


Welcome to Earth....ooops!

....they ain't commies--that's too fifties....They must be some other foreign alien invader and destroyer of the American Way.

my rea-gan don't work on these guys...

Try this:
clipaato barak oba nicotine...um...
klatter barakobamabama nitone....ah...
oh crap....
klatarama ding dong...
Klaatu barada nikto...
..neo, neo, neo....

Okay?
Okay?

...Um, aaallll together now...I'd like to teach the world to sing....
posted by mule98J at 12:47 PM on July 4, 2012


INVADE SPACE.

This is the sequel, where an enraged, vengeful humanity takes to the stars in order to be the faceless genocidal planet busters to another species. We become the aliens.
posted by The Whelk at 1:05 PM on July 4, 2012


How do you know?? Have you tried??

Ask Hub on Idir whether it's possible.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:18 PM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


And the story point mentioned above, about how a scene was deleted that claimed that all Earth computer tech was derived from a crashed alien spaceship? That makes things WORSE, not better.

Dude, it was a work of fiction. At least the deleted scene allowed us to suspend belief in things that we did not directly experience, as opposed to the final version which required us to suspend belief in things we use every day.

And having continually seen references to how good it was up to a point, I recently made the horrible mistake of watching Sunshine, which makes ID4 look like an episode of COSMOS by comparison.
posted by localroger at 1:30 PM on July 4, 2012


And having continually seen references to how good it was up to a point, I recently made the horrible mistake of watching Sunshine, which makes ID4 look like an episode of COSMOS by comparison.

...now I'm wondering if something exists that makes COSMOS look like Independence Day.
posted by mikurski at 1:35 PM on July 4, 2012


Dude, it was a work of fiction. At least the deleted scene allowed us to suspend belief in things that we did not directly experience, as opposed to the final version which required us to suspend belief in things we use every day.

Invoking suspension of disbelief is not an all-access pass to our interest. The script is supposed to meet us halfway, not call us on a cell phone and have us meet him at the pub.

I do come across up above as being kind of harsh on the movie, especially considering it's not really a tear-apart kind of thread. I'm just really tired of special effects blockbusters. Star Wars ruined movies, there I said it.
posted by JHarris at 1:46 PM on July 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


The script is supposed to meet us halfway, not call us on a cell phone and have us meet him at the pub.

I dunno, I kind of saw the ID4 script as calling on the cell phone and inviting me to the pub so we could have a hot sweaty encounter in the car park where there would be a chance of getting caught.

Whereas the script for Sunshine was Patrick Bateman.

Star Wars ruined movies, there I said it.

This is a point. But I don't really see ID4 as a primarily FX-driven movie like $generic_space_moviie. I see it more as an echo of the Irwin Allen 70's disaster movies like The Towering Inferno, with their multpile threads becoming gradually entwined as the world ends. Of course, given the existence of the technology, nowadays films are gonna throw FX at that format (*cough* 2012 *cough*) but it's not quite the same kind of film.
posted by localroger at 2:00 PM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rhaomi, when you collect all that ephemera, could you look for the text on the back of the lenticular card that came with the VHS release? It's kind of bothering me that I can't find it through Google except in a couple of unreadable low-res images on auction sites.
posted by JHarris at 2:03 PM on July 4, 2012


localroger, that is a point. It still doesn't excuse the film in my eyes (it thinks it's sooooo inspiring and humane how it throws a dozen stereotypes into a pressure cooker and comes out with thin warm gruel), but it does work better as an Irwin Allen homage than a 50s disaster movie homage.
posted by JHarris at 2:14 PM on July 4, 2012


now I'm wondering if something exists that makes COSMOS look like Independence Day.

Real Genius, which was based very deliberately on the campus culture of CalTech, features a rather vicious parody of Carl Sagan and the production of COSMOS.
posted by localroger at 2:23 PM on July 4, 2012


JHarris, I recall reading something, possibly the very VHS insert card you mention, wherein the creators of ID4 expressed astonishment and gratitude at the response the movie received. I had the impression they felt humbled to have hit their mark so perfectly.

I also have to say that I am glad they didn't follow Lucas in the other way by making five sequels three and a quarter of which sucked, and retcon editing the hell out of their own original in the process while making the original 1996 version unavailable in any form for any price.

Also, they gave Brent Spiner his best shot at breaking typecast. Too bad it didn't work.
posted by localroger at 2:29 PM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


When interfacing with strange alien computer systems always wear a space condom.

And yes, I'm going to say you can't, not unless the alien computer runs DOS.


Silly man. You do this every day. I'm on a Mac right now. I'm talking to the MeFi servers that run, what, Linux, Windows? How would I know? Why would I care? It's just bits flying down a wire.

There's nothing magical about heterogeneous systems interfacing. You establish a protocol. You talk.

Point 1: Area 51 had the scout craft for decades. Why would they not, in all that time, learned a bit about how to talk to it?

Point 2: The aliens are sort-of telepaths, a hive-ish mind. Would they even understand the concept of "security?"

They would likely avoid any civilization more advanced than ours, and immediately subjugate any culture less advanced. We happened to be on the cusp of planets just, barely, smart enough to beat them.
posted by SPrintF at 2:36 PM on July 4, 2012


*cough* 2012 *cough*

Same effects dude.
posted by Artw at 2:40 PM on July 4, 2012


2012 Same effects dude.

It showed. The script, however, did not seem interested in my safe word.
posted by localroger at 2:42 PM on July 4, 2012


In the UK BBC Radio One did a spin-off... Independence Day UK, which was also released on tape. The first half was War of the Worlds style fake broadcast which then switched to straight drama for the rest that included a scene where astronomer Patrick Moore has a punch-up with one of the aliens and so is therefore flat out awesome.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:58 PM on July 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


These are the same guys that did The Day After Tomorrow, right?
That movie, which I've never seen, occasioned a bit of confusion between me and my therapist. He is lovely but quite old and deaf. I was telling him about how at age 14 I was traumatized by the movie The Day After, in which Jason Robards and fuck-all die thanks to global thermonuclear war. I think for five minutes I was telling him that throughout my teens I was convinced that I was gonna die from climate change.
posted by angrycat at 3:07 PM on July 4, 2012


I actually got bored watching 2012 and wandered off... The magic of The Day After Tomorrow was not there.
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on July 4, 2012


I can't watch the Empire State Building blowed-up part without hearing, "Action! And ... background!"
posted by raysmj at 3:11 PM on July 4, 2012


I also have to say that I am glad they didn't follow Lucas in the other way by making five sequels three and a quarter of which sucked

Instead of making sucky sequels, Devlin and Emmerich concentrated on making sucky originals: The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, 10000 BC, and *drumroll* Godzilla '98 are all very much their fault. ID4 has justifiably aged into a mid-'90s camp classic, but the rest of their output is hard to defend.
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:12 PM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Godzilla was, apparently, all set up to be a trilogy. Reading the treatment for Godzilla 2 you can see wee were denied at least one truly terrible movie... also Tab Murphy appears to have some issues.
posted by Artw at 3:16 PM on July 4, 2012


concentrated on making sucky originals

The point is that they at least didn't mess up the one they did right in the process.

Also, re: TDAT, while it was rougher play than ID4 I had the impression it was at least willing to respect my safe word.

While the Freeze Monster fundamentally misunderstood why high altitude air is cold and what happens when it gets compressed, at least it was consistent in its wrongness; in 2012 we are asked to believe not only that the continents move around blah blah blah but that the insufficiently fueled aircraft managed to crash within walking distance of the one spot on Earth where arks were being prepared.
posted by localroger at 3:18 PM on July 4, 2012


TDAT has real world science hilariously mangled, 2012 has "mutated neutrinos" - WTF are you going to do with crap like that?
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on July 4, 2012


There's nothing magical about heterogeneous systems interfacing. You establish a protocol. You talk.

Interfacing was never the problem. Sure, two systems that evolved literally light years apart, it's silly to think they could talk to each other. But to go that far, I can invoke suspension of disbelief.

To write a virus for a system requires intricate knowledge of that system. How to write executable code for it, how to hook into the running of the system, how to evade detection, and so on. That's the part that's utterly laughable, and that's assuming that an alien computer system would work in a way analogous to our computers. We're barely able to speak the alien's language, yet we're apparently able to write deep system-level code for their hardware, probably in alien assembly.

Yeah, 90% of viewers would listen to all that and think BLAH BLAH TECHNOBABBLE. But think -- it wouldn't really have cost them that much, relative to their budget for central casting stereotypes and BIG ROLLING FIREBALLS, to do a little damn research to make their babble at least baldly plausible. The purpose of that stuff in the plot heaven help me I'm talking about the story construction of Independence Day is largely to explain why they can hook a Mac up to the mothership and blow it up, there's dozens of stupid ways you can explain that:
"My gizmo sets up a standing wave in their circuits that causes their machines to rupture!"
"I have a USB-powered EMP bomb that disables alien computers!"
"I have this gerbil named Sally who eats their marizipan-based computer technology, she'll burrow directly in and eat their CPU!"
"The aliens hate Apple products, the sight of Jobs' leafed logo will cause such loathing their machines will fall apart into wires and bolts!"

(Yeah, this was mostly an excuse to come up with silly ways to destroy alien spaceships. Try it, it's fun!)
posted by JHarris at 3:27 PM on July 4, 2012


TBH I'd give the computery stuff a pass compared to a fire ball that a dog can outrun and goes past an open door (I seem to remember)

Then again ID is a lot better than the rubbish blockbusters than come out nowadays
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:35 PM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the original scene had been included I could actually kind of believe the computer virus thing. I could see a history where the Big Iron of the late 60's and early 70's was a fusion of early human and alien derived tech, with the alien tech being driven by something like a PDP-10 core running at terahertz speeds but with no security. Of course, our poor copies of this alien tech being expensive we would graft in security tech for them, which the aliens never had a reason to pursue being a hive mind. So by 1996 we have multifarious operating systems and attack vectors being tried all the time and nimble responses, while the aliens have DEC PDP-10's or IBM 360's running at 1 terahertz, all nicely compatible with one another in harmonious unity. And yeah, a human driven by our competitive culture to penetrate such systems could totally PWN the aliens in such a situation.
posted by localroger at 3:37 PM on July 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


TBH I sometimes find it hard to believe that the writers of even the most grounded-in-reality Movies and TV shows have ever actually used a computer, they basically run on magic half the time, so in Big Stupid Disaster Movie it is not a Hurdle in the slightest.
posted by Artw at 3:41 PM on July 4, 2012


I believe Hollywood runs on Clarke's Law in reverse:

Any sufficiently advanced magic can be explained as technology.
posted by localroger at 3:46 PM on July 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


JHarris, while I can't speak to the actual blowing up, your "virus" could be as simple as this:

"Hey there, big fella. You look like a serial processor without any authentication functions or resource limits on user tasks because you were built by an obligate collectivist species who have no concept of acting against the interests of the group. You wouldn't mind running through this loop that doesn't have an end condition, would you? And could you have all the other processors you talk to do the same thing? Thanks."

Bam. Crippled alien network.

Assuming a few decades of basic familiarity with similar hardware and comm protocols from the crashed scoutship, that's not a hard function to write and upload. I'll bet more than a few programmers have done something similar by mistake once or twice (hopefully without the capacity to spread) and then wondered why their machine was suddenly locking up.
posted by figurant at 7:36 PM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


JIMMYNOOOO
posted by steef at 8:24 PM on July 4, 2012


Assuming a few decades of basic familiarity with similar hardware and comm protocols from the crashed scoutship, that's not a hard function to write and upload.

It's a hard universe out there. Many is the fledgeling civilisation wiped out by not having quite enough collection neurons to withstand a 400 error.
posted by Sparx at 8:25 PM on July 4, 2012


EPHEMERA TIEM

First, for JHarris, here is the gushing copy from the back of that lenticular card that I somehow miraculously discovered in the furthest recesses of my "old stuff" drawer:
The success of INDEPENDENCE DAY has gone beyond anything we could have ever imagined. We knew that we were creating a very special film and are pleased that it has struck a chord with such a vast audience.

Now, and in the years to come, we hope you and those close to you will have the opportunity to enjoy this film over and over again.
On the reverse of this dignified thanksgiving is an animated print of the White House going boom. Special!

And just to get it out of the way:

SHADOW OVER THE LAND
WALL OF DESTRUCTION
WELCOME TO EARF
INSPIRATIONAL SPEECHIFYING (test yourself first!)
UP YOURS

And TVTropes.

Anyway, as I said, this was my favorite movie of all time EVER!1 circa ten years old, mainly because of the global focus and the spectacular SFX. As a kid, I was interested in big cities, landmarks, the presidency, aliens, and Godzilla-scale destruction, so having a blockbluster tentpole about large spaceships that blow up major cities, which are in turn ass-kicked by The President, was pretty great. It was maybe second only to Power Rangers on my personal coolness scale.

And perhaps because ID4 swag was cheaper than Power Rangers swag, I ended up with a heck of a lot of ID4 trinkets for birthday/Christmas that year. Possibly More Than I Required. But it's still fun to look back on, even if the movie doesn't quite hold the shine it used to.

Off the top of my head:

The Making of Independence Day: A genuinely cool 127-page book all about the special FX work that went into the movie. It's actually pretty mind-boggling how intricate it all was -- an astonishing amount of the film's set pieces were shot around painstakingly detailed models (most of which were blown up). The White House, Empire State Building, Los Angeles city streets, etc., were all handbuilt replicas of the real thing, on the order of several feet wide/high. The alien ship City Destroyer was, too -- a huge disc ~15 feet across, studded with innumerable tiny fixtures and lights.

You can look at some of the SFX stuff in this (Spanish overdubbed) making-of documentary. Some more resources:

Behind-the-scenes pictures and video by one of the modelmakers
Hi-res photos of the original spaceship model
Props: Capitol dome, hatch doors, troop transport

Also fun: an ID4 "mockumentary" off one of the DVD releases -- basically a fake newscast conforming to what you see in the movie, supplemented with extra material. It all ends with the studio being consumed in the destruction, naturally. I'm surprised there's nothing on YouTube, but you can torrent it from the DVD special features here.

There were also a series of novels based off the movie. The main novelization by Stephen Molstad was decent enough, and a number of lines from it still stick in my head despite it being more than a decade since I've read it -- a lunar sensor, detecting the approaching mothership but incapable of signaling Earth, like "a night watchman with his tongue cut out"; staring down an oncoming destroyer ship like "a mosquito facing the bumper of a Cadillac"; an attack shattering a skyscraper into fragments "no larger than a playing card." There are a lot of snippets in this forum thread, like this bleak view of New York:
Manhattan was gone. The island was transformed into a barren shelf of land, swept clean of builidings all the way up to Yonkers. Amid the choking swirl of dust and smoke, natural gas lines shot towers of flame into the sky. Twisted brick and concrete foundations showed where the bulidings had been torn away.
Or this pessimistic take on the aftermath of the invasion, which amusingly doesn't figure into the movie:
Humanity had survived, but only at a staggering cost. Millions were dead and millions more were injured. Many would never recover from the wounds, both physical and emotional, they had sustained during the invasion. Even as the survivors began digging themselves out from under the debris, thankful to be alive, they felt the dread of the months and years of rebuilding which lay ahead. The howls coming from the victory celebrations echoed over a collapsed and blighted world. In most places, the destruction was so severe that the living envied the dead.

More than a hundred of the world's largest cities had been obliterated, among them ancient, irreplaceable treasures such as Paris, Baghdad, New York and Kyoto. Gone too were the world's finest museums and libraries, its major airports and factories, food processing plants, markets, office buildings, and one out of every three human homes.

Refugees, hundreds of millions of them, without shelter or means of feeding themselves, wondered how they would survive. The situation was most dire in the southern hemisphere, where it was the middle of winter. Mass migrations to the temperate zones of the Earth began immediately, further taxing already strained ecological resources. The Earth's water, land and air were all heavily polluted in the aftermath of the short but cataclysmic war.
This reminds me of the other book I read, also by Molstad: War in the Desert. It expounds on the story of the British officer mentioned upthread -- after the eradication of Jerusalem, he flees with his comrades into the Empty Quarter, joining with Saudi, Israeli, and Palestinian refugees. Interestingly, after the successful counterattack shown in the movie, the story continues, depicting a raid into the crashed ruins of the alien ship and discovery of a plan by the surviving aliens to engage in biological warfare. Until the rumored sequel happens, it's probably the closest you'll get to "expanded universe" territory.

There were also a number of games created or planned. My brother and I played the heck out of the Playstation/Saturn adaptation, where you have to pilot planes through 3D recreations of various cities to halt attacks in progress. The gameplay was pretty lackluster, but I loved exploring the levels they took place in, especially with the pan-cam cheat code. There weren't a lot of games out there at the time that let you fly through reasonably realistic versions of New York, Washington, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo, etc., including models of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Pentagon, Notre Dame, the Kremlin, etc.

My favorite level was Las Vegas, if only for the parodies of real-life casinos they had to use -- Circuit Circuit, Caesar's Pizza, Luzor, etc.)

Some video of it in action: Saturn vs. PSX (don't miss the final gamewinning screen), scathing Angry Video Game Nerd review

More obscure were a series of "Mission Disks" (on floppies!) that came packaged with some of the toy figurines you could get in stores. Each one was a strange little mini-game loosely related to the movie, like one where you had to, as President, answer trivia questions to save major world cities from destruction, or, as an alien science officer, investigate genetic codes to better understand the human species. The puzzles were pretty weird, the design of them even more so. Amazingly, you can download all 11 of these quirky disk images from this website.

(I also heard they were at one point working on an ID4 MMO, apparently centered on air/space combat in a joint procedural online universe. (Screenshots, press release.) I don't know if it ever got off the ground or was just a concept, but it's still interesting to consider, given how early it was for online gaming then.)

Most important for kids those days: TOYS. And lots of them, mostly by a company called Trendmasters. I was hardly a collector (hello), but I cherished what I did get: an alien figurine (scared the shit out of my mom when she saw part of it and thought it was a giant spider), a toy attacker ship (with springloaded missiles!), a miniature destructible New York, and an EPIC playset of Los Angeles, including a kickass cardboard backdrop and plastic models of the Capitol Records building, the Bonaventure Hotel, and the Hollywood Bowl that would spring apart when touched. It absolutely made my Christmas 1997.

Oh, and there were trading cards. Yes. Topps trading cards. Not even ten-year-old-me felt moved to need those.

Lastly, music: for a score of its caliber, there was no complete score released for quite awhile apart from various bootlegs. But in 2010 a two-CD set of the original soundtrack by David Arnold was finally released; you can buy it here or listen to the whole thing here.

Sooo should have done an ID4 FPP, shame on me. And if you think this is too much beanplating for a mediocre movie, ten-year-old me tells me to tell you you're being a jerkface.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:51 PM on July 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


Rhaomi, if you ever decide to repost that comment as a FPP, well, I know I wouldn't hold it against you.
posted by JHarris at 1:00 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of my friends delivered Bill Pullman's speech (from memory) at her wedding rehearsal dinner. I knew it was coming and it still made me laugh.
posted by Turkey Glue at 7:43 AM on July 5, 2012


Well, the virus thing is at least not as bad as what they did in Impact, which was nuke the Moon. Twice. I'm serious.
posted by Iosephus at 9:17 AM on July 5, 2012


(And don't make me recall how some people were trying to outrun increased lunar gravity somewhere in the US by flooring it in on an old car. The pain. Augh.)
posted by Iosephus at 9:19 AM on July 5, 2012


localroger: Also, they gave Brent Spiner his best shot at breaking typecast. Too bad it didn't work.
He played something other than an out-of-touch egghead, lacking in empathy, with a weird appearance that points out his oddity upon first seeing him?
posted by IAmBroom at 10:59 AM on July 5, 2012


SPrintF: Silly man. You do this every day. I'm on a Mac right now. I'm talking to the MeFi servers that run, what, Linux, Windows? How would I know? Why would I care? It's just bits flying down a wire.

There's nothing magical about heterogeneous systems interfacing. You establish a protocol. You talk.
But do you hack into them? Can you? I'll give you a year. Write a virus for any operating system you aren't familiar with, without studying its internal workings.
Point 1: Area 51 had the scout craft for decades. Why would they not, in all that time, learned a bit about how to talk to it?
Not how it happened in the movie. "Genius IT guy shows up, and with virtually no tutoring on the system, writes a virus the next day" is how it was done.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:02 AM on July 5, 2012


"In defence of the Apple Powerbook thing in 'Independence Day'"
"You want movies with stupid computers? Have you seen the trailer for Untraceable yet? 'Oh no, this mysterious website is killing people!'"
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:51 PM on July 5, 2012


IAmBroom had they left the explanatory scene in, it could be assumed that the alien computers were of an architecture similar enough to some widely used human computer that Goldblum's character was familiar with it.
posted by localroger at 1:22 PM on July 5, 2012


"1. It cemented Will Smith as a bonified movie star"

I busted up laughing at this, closed the article and posted it here. Could mean so many things. Well, two come to mind.
posted by Xoebe at 2:31 PM on July 5, 2012


localroger: IAmBroom had they left the explanatory scene in, it could be assumed that the alien computers were of an architecture similar enough to some widely used human computer that Goldblum's character was familiar with it.
Yes, if. But they didn't. And so the sucky trope was used: computer genius can hack any system he touches in mere (seconds/minutes/hours). Sometimes while ... heavily distracted.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:00 AM on July 6, 2012


Nevermind the coincidence that the US President meets a fighter pilot and the first lady meets the pilot's fiancée at roughly the same time in completely separate locations. If I'm remembering right anyway. it's been awhile since I've seen the movie.
posted by ODiV at 9:13 AM on July 6, 2012


Pfft, ODiV... The fiancée escapes immolation from a traveling, tunnel-sized fireball by ducking into a shallow wall covey.

THAT required suspension of disbelief!
posted by IAmBroom at 12:07 PM on July 6, 2012


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