July 24, 2011


You have no idea what a joy it is to have just written that title; that I was able to go to a see a cinema and see ID4 again. And on the 4th of July no less! Independence Day is one of the great big dumb event movies, an all-out destruction fest that was the first of director Roland Emmerich's many similar films. To top it all off, this was screening at the Roxy Cinema - Wellington's newest cinema, opened in the suburbs of Miramar with some powerful people behind it. The cinema was worth the trip alone - hands down the most beautiful cinema I've ever had the pleasure of being in. Stunning, stunning work with an impeccable attention to detail.

Uh, right, what? Oh, yeah. Independence Day. What a hoot. It was everything I remembered - Jeff Goldblum, explosions, 90's tech, an unrecognisable Brent "Data" Spiner, mass devastation and plucky heroism. As we have seen in recent years, these wham-bam fun but not stupid types of blockbusters can be hard to pull off. Emmerich managed to do so here. Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum are both bundles of wonderful charisma and charm that help carry the film through the mega-destruction.

Of course, everyone's seen Independence Day before, right? The world gets definitive proof that we are not alone in the universe when a bunch of ETs in big-ass spaceships show up. The landing craft burning their way through the atmosphere are suitably impressive in a biblical way: skies on fire, the Apocalypse coming and not a damned thing anyone can do about it. Oh-ho! But the alien Apocalypse didn't count on a nerdy Jewish computer genius and a hot-shot African-American fighter pilot teaming up (as well as the President and a drunk ex-fighter pilot from the Gulf War)! Emmerich manages to corral a large cast of characters and character types around all the explosions and end-of-the-world shenanigans. 

It's a gloriously cheesy, distinctly American blockbuster. Sure, it's not the smartest piece of cinema around, but it is actually decent amounts of fun. And, of course, it was helped by having a small(er than expected) but enthusiastic crowd, cheering and clapping along to the KA-BOOMs and "Welcome to Earth!" quotes. I love the times when I get to experience a film like this with a crowd that gets it.

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