Independence Day: the film that defined modern summer movies

Feature Ryan Lambie 4 Jul 2014 - 07:00

Independence Day was released in the US 18 years ago today. Ryan looks at its ongoing impact on how summer movies are made and marketed...

In 1990, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin were Hollywood outsiders. Devlin was a young New York-born actor who'd appeared in a few TV shows and movies, such as the 1985 comedy, Real Genius. Emmerich was a German filmmaker whose credits consisted of low-budget films such as The Noah's Ark Principle (1984), and Hollywood-Monster (1987). Emmerich's 1990 film, Moon 44, was about pilots defending mining colonies with space-faring helicopters, and featured a glum-looking Malcolm McDowell.

Dean Devlin was also among Moon 44's cast, and it was here that he forged a partnership with Emmerich: Devlin hated Moon 44's dialogue, so he went and wrote his own. Within two years, they'd made their first film together - Universal Soldier, written by Devlin, directed by Emmerich, and produced by Carolco. It was a larger-than-life, daft sci-fi action film about dead Vietnam soldiers revived as cyborg warriors, and starred Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren - the latter playing a psychotic villain who collected severed human ears. Critics moaned, but Universal Soldier became a modest success.

The next collaboration was more ambitious. Stargate, starring Kurt Russell and James Spader, was a pulp adventure in the mould of Edgar Rice Burroughs, in which a group of intrepid explorers headed into a portal through space and ended up on a desert planet where Egyptians were enslaved by aliens. Roger Ebert wrote of the film, "The movie Ed Wood, about the worst director of all time, was made to prepare us for Stargate."

Such grumpiness mattered little to audiences. Emmerich and Devlin's lavish confection made around $196m - almost four times its budget - and spawned a string of successful television spin-offs. The success of Stargate gave Emmerich and Devlin the latitude to make their next film - a 90s alien invasion blockbuster which would influence summer movies for years to come.

No warning. No negotiation. No L.A.

It was around the time Stargate came out that Emmerich came up with the idea for Independence Day. Devlin was initially unconvinced by it, but Emmerich eventually won him over with his concept: this film's alien invasion wouldn't take place on some dusty homestead, but in the middle of the biggest city in the world. The invaders wouldn't arrive in apologetic little silver saucers, but 15-mile-wide war machines that would cast huge shadows over the landscape.

There was, however, a problem with Emmerich's big idea. Although he and Devlin managed to get the go-ahead for their film (Fox bought the script after a furious bout of bidding in 1994), the budget was a relatively modest $75m - a healthy sum on paper, but hardly enough to cover the 3,000 visual effect shots the movie would require. To put that budget into perspective, consider the quotes Emmerich got back from such Hollywood effects companies as ILM and Digital Domain: they predicted that each one would cost about $150,000 to produce.

Emmerich, with his background in shoestring sci-fi, had a cunning plan. He made a call to an old film school colleague in Germany, Volker Engel, who in turn assembled a group of students who could produce the film's 50 minutes of effects shots on the cheap. Engel's seven-strong team was brought over to the US and housed in an old aircraft carrier in Los Angeles. Through a mixture of model effects (including a 15-foot-wide replica of the White House) and splashes of CGI, Emmerich managed to get the average cost of each VFX shot down to a relatively lean $40,000.

Independence Day's script called for a broad collection of oddball characters, ranging from an unusually young, idealistic president right down to an alcoholic crop duster who'd once been kidnapped by aliens. Realising that the invasion concept itself was the selling point, Emmerich and Devlin went for recognisable faces rather than costly household names: Will Smith was a star on TV and in music, but he hadn't yet broken through as a bankable star in movies.

Jeff Goldblum had been in hit genre films such as The Fly and Jurassic Park, and could be depended on to turn in a charismatic performance, but he wouldn't cost as much to hire as, say, Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, or other majors star from the 90s. The same could be said of seasoned actors Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Robert Loggia or the rest of the ensemble cast.

Despite all this canny cost-saving, 20th Century Fox was initially nervous about certain aspects of Independence Day. Did it really have to feature an exploding White House? Did it have to be set on Independence Day, which in 1996, fell dangerously close to the Olympics?

The film did, however, have a champion at Fox: its head of marketing, Tom Sherak. According to Tom Shone's 2004 book, Blockbuster, Sherak was convinced of its future success. He said of Independence Day, "I have the feeling this is going to be a phenomenon. Not a movie. A phenomenon."

How Independence Day changed movie marketing

Thanks in no small part to its title, inextricably tied as it was to the American public holiday, Independence Day was huge in the summer of 1996. Within three days, it had made approximately $63m at the US box office alone. Newspapers were reporting that queues were building outside cinemas all over America, as the public rushed to see this apparently unmissable film. Journalists, puzzled as to how a hackneyed alien invasion movie could have captured the public's imagination, turned to psychologists for help.

"This movie delves into some very archetypal needs and myths," a professor told the LA Times. "There is an idea that we, as people, have been fragmented since a primordial time. Anything that can provide us with the illusion of oneness and unity will have an appeal."

By the end of Independence Day's cinematic run, it had made more than $800m around the world, making it the biggest film of 1996 and one of the highest-grossing movies ever. That success was ignited by an extraordinarily comprehensive advertising campaign, which took the then-new approach of placing a trailer in the middle of the Super Bowl.

Like the rest of Independence Day's marketing, this trailer was led by the image which had initially made Fox executives nervous: the White House, disintegrating from an electric blue alien laser blast. Fox paid $1.3m for the Super Bowl trailer, and $24m on marketing in total - an unprecedented sum in 1996. Head of marketing Tom Sherak described Independence Day's media assault as "a campaign that P.T. Barnum would have been proud of."

The blanket approach, as we now know, worked extraordinarily well. A film that was originally predicted to come a distant second to rival summer movie Twister (produced by Steven Spielberg) suddenly became the year's must-see event. Independence Day's advertising, with its striking trailers, catchy slogans and tie-in merchandise, directly informed the way Hollywood's biggest movies would be packaged and sold in the years that followed. In 2014, no fewer than ten movies were advertised during the Super Bowl.

An ensemble cast

When it came to writing Independence Day, Devlin and Emmerich tapped into the blockbuster formula established by Steven Spielberg's Jaws in 1975: a high-concept which could be easily sold with a one-line description, or, better yet, a single image. In Independence Day's case, it was that unforgettable effects shot of aliens blowing up the White House. But the duo also went further into the past in their quest for inspiration.

The alien invasion premise was evidently the stuff of 50s B-movies, such as Earth Vs The Flying Saucers and the 1953 adaptation of HG Wells' The War Of The Worlds. But Devlin was also a self-confessed disciple of the 60s and 70s master of disaster, Irwin Allen. It was the fusion of B-movie trappings and the structure of the 70s disaster movie which made Independence Day truly stand out.

Before Independence Day, summer movies were generally told from the perspective of one central character, with a few supporting actors to provide colour. Taking its cue from 70s flicks like Irwin Allen's The Towering Inferno, or those of his rivals, like 1974's Earthquake!, Independence Day switched between several narrative threads, including Jeff Goldblum's computer expert, Will Smith's wise-cracking pilot, and Bill Pullman's plucky president.

This multi-strand, disaster-led structure could be seen in films that came out not long after Independence Day, such as the rival meteor-strike pictures Armageddon and Deep Impact, and Emmerich and Devlin's Godzilla, all released in 1998. Independence Day may have also paved the way for a range of ensemble blockbusters in the 21st century, such as the Pirates Of The Caribbean series, the Transformers franchise, or even Marvel's The Avengers.

Destruction as spectacle

By fusing the disaster movie with sci-fi, Emmerich and Devlin made the devastation of major American landmarks one of Independence Day's chief selling points. The film's appeal lay not merely in seeing the aliens defeated by America's tenacity and courage, but in seeing just how much mess the invaders could make before they finally got their comeuppance.

Independence Day not only launched Roland Emmerich's career as Hollywood's new king of disaster movies (see also Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012), but also anticipated modern cinema's obsession with laying waste to entire cities.  

Filmmakers are undeniably mining the traumatic, tragic events of 9/11 in such films as War Of The Worlds (2005), Star Trek Into Darkness, The Avengers or Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, but it's arguable that they're also tapping into the widescreen destruction which made Independence Day such a success.

It's worth noting that Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel (2013) becomes a kind of alien-led disaster movie in its second half, with General Zod's world engine bludgeoning Metropolis' skyscrapers into clouds of ash. A scene which sees Superman fly into the world engine's blinding energy beam also bears more than a passing resemblance to Randy Quaid's moment of self-sacrifice in Independence Day ("In the words of my generation, up yours!").

The age of the self-aware blockbuster

When Emmerich and Devlin began writing the script for Independence Day, they were aware of two things: first, that its relentless scenes of devastation and fear could become too downbeat for a PG-13 audience, and second, that their chosen premise was an inherently B-movie one. To this end, the pair went for a light, self-aware tone. "Because a film about the end of the world can be pretty depressing," Emmerich explained to the LA Times in 1996, "we made hokum, comedy and the human spirit a part of the mix."

To this end, Independence Day was full of quips and one-liners which constantly reminded movie-savvy viewers that they were in the middle of a cinematic thrill-ride: "Now that's what I call a close encounter," smirks Will Smith's pilot, referencing Steven Spielberg's blockbuster mere seconds after he's downed an alien's fighter craft.

Independence Day arrived at a time when meta references in movies were the height of fashion. Just as screenwriter Kevin Williamson would revive the slasher genre with Scream later in 1996, Independence Day, and other movies such as Twister and The Rock, positively revelled in their in-jokes and sheer trashiness.

It's a tone that can still be seen in blockbusters today - take a look, for example, at Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim, which again sees Earth pummelled by alien invaders. Its atmosphere is knowingly camp, right up to Idris Elba's troop-rallying speech, which is markedly similar to the one delivered by Bill Pullman in 1996.

"This is the way the world would end, in film after film," Tom Shone wrote of Independence Day; "not with a bang, nor a whimper, but a wisecrack. [Independence Day] ushered the blockbuster into its late, decadent, self-parodic camp phase..."

Several critics noticed this new trend in blockbuster screenwriting back in 1996. Writing for the Philadelphia Enquirer, Desmond Ryan said of the year's crop of screenplays: "Logic and coherence are at an all-time low."

"Judging from the summer's record-breaking box-office grosses," Ryan continued, "audiences no longer care - or, more depressing, are incapable of detecting - that the plots of movies don't track."

Ironically, even the president of effects studio Digital Domain appeared to concur.

"I just saw Independence Day, and the joke out here is they should have called it The Day the Script Stood Still," Ross said. "I hold screenwriters in the highest regard when it comes to the ultimate quality of the movie, but this summer is proving that special effects can drive movies to obscene profitability. You look at them as films and there's not much of a plot line, not much acting, and the direction is mediocre. But the effects are fantastic. Twister and Independence Day aren't about characters. They're big thrill rides."

Like it or not, these thrill rides were internationally successful. According to Box Office Mojo, more than 60 percent of Independence Day's gross came from overseas. Part of the reason for that success, despite the film's US-centric premise, was that its plot and dialogue were incidental to its imagery. You didn't have to be American to appreciate the sight of buildings exploding or alien ships smashing into the ground.

Having emerged from a screening of Independence Day in the summer of 96, Martin Cruz Smith - director of the thriller Gorky Park - made an accurate prediction:

"Special-effects movies are going to a much wider pool around the world," he said. "They have action and spectacle that can appeal to people who don't speak English. That's changing the nature of movies: There will be one kind for the international audience and there will be the smaller films with acting and plot. I suppose we'll feel guilty for liking both kinds."

Transformers and the current state of summer films

It's 18 years since Independence Day's release, and summer movies are pretty much as Martin Cruz Smith suggested they would be: effects-laden, heavily marketed, and made with an international audience specifically in mind.

For an example of Independence Day's lasting influence, simply look at the biggest film of 2014's summer season so far - Transformers: Age Of Extinction.

Although based on an existing franchise, Age Of Extinction is firmly in the mould established by Emmerich and Devlin. It's heavy on visual effects, blatant product placement, jokey humour ("Hand me my alien gun") and huge scenes of city-wide chaos and destruction.

Mark Wahlberg is the nominal lead, but Age Of Extinction's really an ensemble, with its roster of characters comprising shady CIA types, a 17-year-old farm girl, a 20-year-old racing car driver, a Steve Jobs-type consumer products guru, and sundry transforming robots - in other words, it's a mutation of the sci-fi disaster movie introduced in Independence Day, with a bloated duration to match.

Age Of Extinction's action set-pieces frequently take precedence over plot. Screenwriter Ehren Kruger even provided Slash Film with a sound bite that is sure to be repeated for some time to come: "When you’re talking about aliens, robotic machines which disguise themselves as vehicles and animals, you start to make your peace with the idea that logical sense doesn’t have to be the be-all, end-all."

So far, Age Of Extinction has made over $300m at the box-office - a sure sign that audiences are going to see the film for its spectacle, not the clarity of its plot. Again, like Independence Day, more than 60 percent of that gross has come from overseas. The formula Emmerich and Devlin stumbled on in 1996 may be getting old, but right now, it's still working.

But does this mean that films like Age Of Extinction, which echo both the structure of Independence Day and its box-office success, mean that city-levelling blockbusters are here to stay? Tom Shone wrote that Steven Spielberg's Jaws swept aside the larger-than-life, cheesy disaster movies of the first half of the 70s, and reintroduced audiences to a scaled-down yet no less thrilling threat: a lone man-eating shark.

Independence Day, on the other hand, took 90s cinemagoers straight back to the disaster flicks of the 70s. "If Jaws had lowered its heroism levels to the scruffy low-slung heroism of ordinary men," Shone wrote, "Independence Day upscaled to presidents, pilots and other national paragons."

Could this mean that, within the next year or two, we'll see the emergence of a new wave of blockbusters more akin to Jaws? Given the cyclical nature of tastes in genre and storytelling, it's certainly possible. But with a sequel to Independence Day currently scheduled for 2016 - 20 years after the original film emerged - it's equally possible that Emmerich and Devlin's crowd-pleasing brand of science fiction disaster could be with us for a long time to come.

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Disqus - noscript

By being over loud, over long and self destructing in its third act. Once the aliens had attacked and blown the hell out of the world it went rubbish. It totally squandered a tense first hour.

It's always important to keep art in context. Back in 1996, as a 12 year old, I was absolutely blown away by this film. However my (or our) enjoyment of it has changed over the years seems pretty irrelevant -- at the time, it was new, exciting, and completely transported me to another world for its 2+ hours.

It is a silly film but a lot more fun than so many of today's dark & gloomy blockbusters. Id take Independence Day over Man of Steel any day of the week

Great film, definitely an all time favourite of mine growing up. Although even I knew when I was 11 that Welcome Wagon was a terrible Plan A.

"Nuke 'em. Nuke the bastards."

I both love and loathe this movie. Love it for the spectacle and when it takes itself seriously. Loathe it for the utterly cheese ball ending that ruins everything about the movie. The utterly dreadful bit where Russell Case saves the friggin' world still makes me cringe badly. I cant watch it.

Independence Day: The film that ruined summer movies for over a decade.

It really is a terrible film, not funny or smart or exciting or suspenseful in any way, and i'm convinced that the only people that like it were 12 year old boys in 1992 or whenever it was that this pos came out.

Summer movies are just now starting to recover from the damage done by this film, with so called "popcorn movies" allowing themselves to be intelligently made and well acted.

Silly movie but enjoyable nonetheless. If its a choice between Independence Day or Jaws? I'd have to go with Jaws. I'd like to see a modern take on the Jaws scenario, strong script and less well known actors who can keep the story going without blowing up a building. Monsters was a good attempt, I haven't seen Godzilla(2014) yet but I hope he made it with a less is more approach.

Its a good escapism film, Citizen Kane it isn't. But they never try to fool anyone into thinking its a highbrow idea, its just good old fashioned fun.

Awful, awful movie with one of the biggest plot holes ever.

The aliens were coordinating their attacks across the earth, right? So unless every other airforce across the world knew they should fly a plane into the alien's energy beam moments before it discharged then the Area 51 saucer would have been the only one taken down.

It may be purely for nostalgia value that I prefer ID massively over the Transformers films, but I think there is a distinct difference in that the former has likeable, clearly established characters and special effects/action sequences that you can actually keep track of. In the Transformers series, you do get moments where it is virtually impossible to tell WTF is going on...

How? I quite like Independence Day. But I don't see how anything has changed. We still get lowbrow special effects laden summer movies that make lots of money. Let's not pretend the Transformers films or Crystal Skull or many other big films are "intelligently made and well acted".
Before Independence Day and after it any half decent blockbuster released in the summer tends to make money; people like their big explosions.

Yes but they did let them know via morse code via the command by Loggia: 'Tell 'em how to take the sons of bitches doooown."
.
Stupid, yes - plot hole, not so much

Oh come on, that last line of his was pretty good: 'Hello boys! I'm baaaaack'

Agreed and I still think that's why The Avengers was so successful (and the rest of the MCU for that matter) because it never entirely takes itself too seriously.

This is a cool story bro....
.
One of my fav movie memories was going to see this in one of the cinemas in New York in 1996 (the one with the themed auditoriums) whilst killing time for my flight home to the UK from working summer camps.
.
It was SUCH a chore as I had to share the time with a lovely Russian girl called Olga, and it was very weird to walk out onto a street that we had just seen being destroyed. I had to make sure she wasn't shaken up of course. But I think the location and company probably rose-tints my feelings about the film.

Nah. That bit was quite good.
It was the speech along with the whoops and hollas, the "alright Mr President", "thank god for the americans" and "didnt I promise you fireworks" dialogue, JG acting drunk attempting to make the place a mess, the sudden liking for cigars etc which got me cringing.
Terrible script, cheeseball acting but a great, fun blockbuster of a movie.

Agree...sort of. I love a blockbuster that doesn't take itself too seriously. But Avatar was huuuge and I'd say it takes itself very seriously; the 'mother nature good/man stripping away natural resources bad' message is so heavy handed.

Absolutely agree with you on this. Transformers had a fun 80s Amblin movie vibe that the sequels lost.

There was a review of Speed that something along the lines of "this is the kind of big dumb action movie that only very intelligent people can make." This applies to Independence Day too.

any human being with a modicum of good taste would choose jaws over idependence day

Indeed! but there are those who would disagree, on this website people have slated Jaws.

It also played a roll in establishing Internet fandom / obsession with Summer blockbuster. I recall the usenet sci-fi movie newsgroup going ballistic after the release of this film. There was one guy who signed himself ID4 Eagle1 who seemed so obsessed he wanted Clinton replaced by the President in this film to fight the expected invasion of Earth. From that point the habit of using the net to dissect the big movies became the norm.

*grumble*.....ruin my argument why dontcha .... *grumble**grumble*

I was just thinking that the only summer film I've seen in a long time which employs similar pacing/structure to films like Jaws and Jurassic Park is the latest Godzilla; it's like a breath of fresh air.

I am looking forward to seeing, I'm a huge fan of Monsters, I also love Godzilla so I'm hoping its a match made in heaven.

ID is a film I should hate, as it represents most of what I abhor about Braindead Cinema.
And yet.... if it's on TV I will inevitably watch and enjoy.
I have never understood why this is so.

I thought the latest Godzilla was pretty terrible. It has terrible pacing, and a single character thread unlike Independence Day, which works fine in a small scope movie like Jaws but not in a large-scale disaster like Godzilla. Also it's riddled with plot holes

"That glass bulletproof?"

"NO, SIR!"

OK well I don't mean to offend but I hope you're wrong. I'll wait for it's general release to judge for myself but I have heard similar views on it.

"Independence Day" was the last good film Roland Emmerich ever made. After he made his fortune, he suddenly turned far left and made a series of depressing. albeit expensive, films. Does anyone ever talk about "The Day After Tomorrow" or "2012" anymore?

I understand that Roland refused to make a sequel to "Independance Day" while George W. Bush was in office.

The truth is that Transformers continue to make pro-American films, and Micheal Bay will drink Roland's milkshake.

General release? It's been out awhile, winding down if anything

Brilliant article, as always. Gave me a real insight into the state of the blockbuster we can witness now. I don't wonder about Transformers and such fare anymore. Thank you.

On a sidenote: Gavin Edwards said he took major inspiration from Jaws when he did direct the new Godzilla! I don't think he fulfilled your prediction, but it's a good sign that he tried.

Edwards tried and failed in my opinion. He got the suspense and tone right, but the plot was awful. The lead character is bland as hell and he is always where the action is without any logic. The Godzilla parts are brilliant, mind you. But to be honest I liked the cheesiness on purpose in Pacific Rim more. Maybe Jurassic World will do the trick.

Godzilla is bloody awesome mate, I don't get people who complain about the characters, I agree they are pretty weak but I couldn't care less about the humans in a Godzilla movie even if they had made them interesting. You see a Godzilla movie for Godzilla, and they definitely got the right balance between tension and epic giant monster scenes.

I thought that until I saw White House Down, which I rather enjoyed

So, you were the one, huh? :)

If you want to believe that Obama is a two fisted action hero, than that is the film for you. Had it been released in 2009, it might have found an audience. Instead, it came out after Americans figured out the ObamaCon.

Martin Cruz Smith was, of course, the writer of Gorky Park, book and as it turned out, movie. The director was Michael Apted.

Cool story, bro!

You do realise that character wasn't Obama and it was just fiction right? I don't want to be the one to break it to you but that film was ludicrous on every level so I don't think you have to worry about the "political message". It's nonsense. just sit back and enjoy the action.

I was 12 when I saw it in theaters, and I absolutely loved it. It was one of my favorite movies. Now it's different, I'm 30 and I see the flaws in the movie, but I still love it as a fun epic blockbuster movie.

I saw it in the cinema and came out with mixed feelings. America win the day again...the rest of the world having to wait for them blah blah...then a few years later I bought it on DVD, Un-plugged the"grey matter" and ended up enjoying this popcorn flick. I actually look forward to the long awaited sequel, ID4ever or whatever they're going to call it just wish they'd get on with it now Will Smith turned it down. He probably wants to much money either that or trying to add his kid into the movie.

what on earth are you going on about?

ID4 – the film that dumbed down summer movies. So bad I wanted to walk out.

I thought that I was pretty clear. Emmerich allowed his far Left politics destroy an adventure movie.

>You do realise that character wasn't Obama and it was just fiction right?>

Jamie Foxx made no bones about his basing his character on Obama.

Aye, we can all see the similarities. Still, it's hardly a documentary. Hollywood for some reason has always loved painting the President of the good ol' USA as a go getting action hero. Sadly, this has been a load of bollocks for quite some time and long before Obama. Moaning about the politics in White House Down is similar to moaning about scientific accuracy in Transformers; utterly pointless.
Also I think you're overly simplifying the politics of the middle east. Without foreign intervention and occupation you would not have the rise of ISIS. Once you're gone in it's pretty much lose/lose.
But hey, what do I know. Maybe they should do what you want and never say anything negative about America.
Edit: never say anything negative about right wing America-because it's the left that's evil ain't it Ron ;)

Part preachy, part insane rambling on

>Bit preachy>

"White House Down" was more than a "bit preachy". Emmerich and Foxx allowed their hatred for Conservatives to destroy their movie.

Were a few nice fit birds in it though.

>Aye, we can all see the similarities.>

Not "similarities" - Jamie Foxx and Emmerich saw the film as an excuse to build up Obama's popularity. They failed miserably.

> Still, it's hardly a documentary.>

No, it's political propaganda.

> Hollywood for some reason has always loved painting the President of the good ol' USA as a go getting action hero.>

Other than "Independence Day's" Clinton stand in, President Thomas J. Whitmore, what other two-fisted Presidents have there been in film?

>Moaning about the politics in White House Down is similar to moaning about scientific accuracy in Transformers; utterly pointless>

Attacking about 60% of Americans turned out to be a surprisingly bad business model.

>Also I think you're overly simplifying the politics of the middle east. Without foreign intervention and occupation you would not have the rise of ISIS.>

"When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.” Osama bin Laden.

ISIS and the terrorists were contained during the Bush administration. Things exploded during the Obama administration. We're talking about people who kidnap teenage girls and sell them into sexual slavery.

How many more dead bodies in Londonstan will it take for you to figure out what's happening?

Nice breakdown of my points. I'm impressed; very thorough. But regardless you're still taking a very silly film, Die Hard in the White House, far too seriously. If it is propaganda, it failed as not many people saw it.

I'm well aware of what is happening with ISIS. I live in Britain. It's on the news a lot. I don't need to "figure it out". But there are no easy answers for the Middle East so getting angry at Obama achieves little. There were lot's of dead people on both sides before this crisis; there will be more after. Us British are far less partisan in our politics as we have realised that if you look close enough ALL politicians are corrupt and useless. So by all means continue praising Bush and being down on Obama; but I can assure you they've both made massive mistakes. And we can stay in the middle east or we can pull out; lot's of people will die regardless. But don't use the sexual slavery argument. Because that happens in many places and we turn a blind eye most of the time.

PS Airforce One is another example off the top of my head. By the way I have never heard the phrase two-fisted President. It's mental.

Two-fisted, sounds painful....!

I read this article, then went straight to Amazon and ordered the Blu-Ray. One of the best genre films of the 90s, and the first summer "event" movie. The plot is riddled with helpful coincidences to drive the plot, sometimes corny dialogue delivered with a knowing wink and tongue firmly planted in cheek, and likeable if caricatured characters, and that's all part of the fun. The vital difference with ID4 was that there was at least an attempt at a balance between these and the action and effects sequences, particularly in the Special Edition, which adds more character moments.

>Nice breakdown of my points. I'm impressed; very thorough. But regardless you're still taking a very silly film, Die Hard in the White House, far too seriously.>

For too long, Conservatives have not taken popular culture seriously enough. We have allowed ourselves to be caricatured as evil, hateful bigots who love to destroy. We have allowed ourselves to be turned into something not quite human.

This must stop.

>Two-fisted, sounds painful....!>

I bow to your first hand experience in this matter.

> But there are no easy answers for the Middle East ...>

Of course there's a simple answer. Radical Muslims want to destroy your civilization, and only respect force. This is not me saying so - THEY'RE the flat out stating so. They are at war with civilzation.

Today, Fatah, headed by Abbas, posted the following threat to Israelis:
“Sons of Zion, this is an oath to the Lord of the Heavens: Prepare all the bags you can for your body parts”
[Facebook, “Fatah - The Main Page,” July 7, 2014

Two days ago, Fatah posted a similar threat with a picture of burning houses:

“The sons of Fatah will turn your settlements into balls of fire and increase your horror”
[Facebook, “Fatah - The Main Page,”July 5, 2014]

Earlier this month, Fatah posted a poem including the line “We wish for the blood to become rivers”:
“The source of terrorism is the Zionist…
The Zionist, by Allah, is treacherous
O settler, O malicious one
Your time has ended..
O Arabs, enough betrayal:
We wish for the blood to become rivers…
This homeland wants [your] rage -
It does not want you to wait.”
[Facebook, “Fatah - The Main Page,” July 2, 2014

>So by all means continue praising Bush and being down on Obama; but I can assure you they've both made massive mistakes.>

Bush inherited a Mideast in which bin Laden planned 9/11 and terrorism prospered. He handed over an Iraq which had a Constitution and open elections. Obama has, if five years, destroyed all that, and opened the floodgates of terrorism again.

No, the two are not the same. Bush wasn't perfect - Obama gross incompetence threatens civilization itself.

Quite a few stitches were required but it was not an entirely unpleasant experience

Well top marks to you for taking pop culture seriously!

So by your opinion Iraq went well. OK. I don't believe we'll ever agree so farewell.

TMI

You can delete my messages, of course. ISIS, now flush with a billion dollars after looting several Iraqi banks to fund future terrorist operations, won't be as easy to ignore.

Ugh! Horrible movie. I especially hate 'the dog scene'... awful. Just awful.

"What is it you want us to do?"

"Diiiiieeee. DIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!"

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