25- “Independence Day” #52PickUp

For this week’s #52PickUp (and release tie-in), I’m talking about one of the biggest box office blockbusters ever:


Independence Day (sometimes referred to as ID4). ID4 was the second film in a row by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, the first of which was Stargate, and was proceeded by many of Emmerich’s films like The Patriot, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012.

ID4 was revolutionary at the time for its flawless mix of special effects techniques such as Computer-Generated Imagery or CGI, Miniatures, and practical effects, which also helped keep the overall budget at a minimum.

Actually, the film only had a budget of $75 million dollars. That is unheard of in today’s film landscape, especially for a film of this scope. The film went onto make $817 million worldwide for its efforts.

In light of that fact, some noticeable cutbacks can be seen throughout the film. The time spent in other countries is so limited, that the film definitely feels like an American event. I imagine the second one, Independence Day: Resurgence will address the world scale, but only time will tell.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 12.16.17 PM
Yup, guess so.

Where/ when did I first see it?

It was 1996, and the home video edition of Independence Day arrived at the Video Market, and our lives were forever changed… When it was in stock; it was quite the popular release. We must have rented it a half a dozen times.

How does it hold up?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Practical effects are where it’s at. The clever use of miniatures allowed the freedom to avoid a lot of those dated special effects they would have normally used in the building destruction scenes.

The script is mostly well-done, but it has some cheesy one-liners, and weird beats that make it far from perfect– but that’s definitely not what Emmerich and Devlin were going for.

While it isn’t a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination (and definitely won’t win Best Screenplay), ID4 has become a staple of what to expect from Emmerich’s films- action, multiple character threads, and massive destruction. And to that effect, it still has those beats down tight.

What did I like about it and why?

I really hadn’t seen a film with that many “main” characters. It was a technique that fed into my love of crossovers as I anticipated these characters’ their eventual meeting and the resulting interactions.

“You cocky, arrogant–“

Independence Day was also the first film for me to feature massive destruction and alien attacks, and I was hooked. Sci-fi quickly became my number one favorite genre, and I would go out of my way to search for some hidden treasures within.

Lessons Learned?

  1. We would absolutely lose against aliens IRL.
  2. Bill Pullman should have shaved his beard.
  3. Sometimes they come back…



Where can you see it?

Check out Independence Day on CanIStream.It?

-Jamie (@GuyOnAWire)


2 thoughts on “25- “Independence Day” #52PickUp

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