There are some books that make your heart race while their onscreen versions fail to catch the magic(eg. The Da Vinci Code) while there are still others which are tedious for the normal reader in the written format but make for lively viewing as a movie(eg. Jurassic Park). But, there are a rare few that keep people at the edge of their seats both as a book and as a film. One such is the Independence Day. (Ok V___, I’ve nothing to say about the fourth group of films which are pathetic both as a book and as a movie.... why waste time?)
My earliest experience with this story was when I was a kid and was taken to the movie by my uncle(who is a movie buff) with the entire family. I remember sleeping through half the film(or, rather, three-quarters of the film) and then waking up groggily at the end when everyone is happy and then being dragged by my mom to the car from the theatre. I, for one, hate movies that make me sleep. Come on! If a movie cannot sustain my interest the first time round, then what was the guarantee that it will in the following times? (believe me, I’ve gone through lots of stupid tamil, telugu and malayalam movies and sat through them patiently without a blink of shut-eye! So, if a movie can make me sleep, then imagine how pathetic it should have been!).
After the first bad experience with ID(Independence Day :)), I avoided it as much as I could. I’ve escaped from seeing it in star movies, HBO, our local cable channel, etc dozens of times. Even when my brother was seized with an irrepressible urge to see all the English movies he could lay hands on, he couldn’t convince me to watch that movie with him. But, all of this changed when I saw the book! N___ brought along that book when we had gone on a family trip and I couldn’t help glancing through it. Even then, I wasn’t so interested (very atypical of me, if you remember the penchant I have for books of any kind) remembering the bad experience I had with it earlier. She started telling me about it assuming I had already seen the movie and slowly interested me into reading it.
I had already been accustomed to reading about extraterrestrials and the search for them(courtesy, Carl Sagan’s Contact) and thought that I can give ID a try(or rather a retry). Worst case, I would have one more bad experience with it :). But, once I started, I couldn’t stop. It kept me on the edge till the end and made me get a DVD of the film and watch it. Wow!! I still can’t believe how I slept through the movie the first time. Guess it was a combined case of exams(quarterly exams, if I remember right), playing all afternoon and evening and a sumptuous dinner just before the movie that induced me to sleep.
My favorite character in the movie was Steve Hiller. I like his cool-come-what-may attitude and his belief in cigars for victory dance. Especially, his plane drives and the final journey with David was great! And, Tom Whitmore is the type of a leader that each country should have during times of crisis, if not all the time. We need leaders like that in each country who put their country’s well being before theirs and their family’s. Both Jasmine and Connie symbolize the bravery of women during times of hardship. And, David’s character has been etched well. That reminds me! Julius(David’s dad) has a minor role to play in the movie but he seems to have brought the entire thing together. Kudos to him. Every character(right from the silent man whom Jas picks up on her way to El Toro to Russel) has been etched well and has been chosen with care in the movie.
Some of the scenes in the movie were spectacular. Especially, the scenes showing the aliens and their vehicles(the attackers, the city destroyers) were cool. And, the scene where Jasmine comes out of the tunnel with her son Dylan after surviving the wipeout only to see a devastated LA touched me like no other. Imagine coming out of dark tunnels towards light only to find that life is no longer the same and you wish you were better dead than living! The terror and later, hope in the eyes of normal citizens says it all throughout the film. The film is the basic good-wins-over-evil story but the portrayal is fantastic! It brings out the true spirit of mankind and shows us what can be achieved if we put away our differences and join hands together to save Mother Earth and ourselves. Let our children lead a life of peace and harmony. Let them have a world devoid of bloodshed, pollution, nuclear wars and most of all, fear. Let them be fearless! This is our responsibility towards the future generation(rather than having better technology, more money and more countries and governments).
In short, ID, by Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich and Stephen Molstad, is sure to enter the “Top100 English films to be seen” list. Long time since I knew a story in which both the book and movie were equally good. Though it is years late, it is still not too late to enjoy the movie or the book. Folks! If you’ve not seen it, I would surely recommend this movie for the weekend. If you’ve seen it, one more time is time well spent :)
P.S: And the book is better(the reader in me says :) )