“Independence Day” was one of the biggest blockbusters of the ’90s. It was also a thoroughly patriotic film, shining a positive light on the military and America. It even provided the moviegoing world with an unforgettable and rousing Independence Day speech.
What is surprising is the level to which his politics have begun to infect his films — and how obvious it has been.
It seemed an obvious film to sequelize. However, we’ve had to wait an astounding 20 years for the new film. What took so long for the “Independence Day: Resurgence” — out Friday — to start moving its way into development?
According to its director, everyone can blame former President George W. Bush.
“In ‘Independence Day,’ it was about a king who leads his country into a fight against an outside invader. I didn’t want to make that movie during the Bush years. It was not thought that George W. Bush would have made a great king. Now with Obama, it’s another story,” director Roland Emmerich said at a roundtable interview six years ago supporting his then-blockbuster “2012.”
It should come as no surprise that Emmerich does not lean right — he’s a longtime Hillary Clinton supporter. What is surprising is the level to which his politics have begun to infect his films — and how obvious it has been.
While Emmerich’’ early credits include flag-waving patriotic thank-yous to America such as “Independence Day” and Revolutionary War hit “The Patriot,” his later films have been thinly veiled liberal drum-beating popcorn features.
“The Day After Tomorrow,” another disaster feature from the destruction master, was an extreme warning about climate change, wearing its opinion strongly on its sleeve. However, the hit film is minor in comparison to one of Emmerich’s few flops, and one of his latest features, 2013’s “White House Down.”
The movie not only took the cliché and safe route of casting crazy, war-hungry right-wingers as its villains, but Jamie Foxx’s role as the president was little more than a positive nod to sitting President Obama. The similarities were obvious — so obvious that not even supporters of the flick could deny it.
“Any resemblance to the current resident of the White House is intentional,” wrote Marsha McCreadie in her positive review at Rogerebert.com.
Foxx’s president was shown as a left-wing, incorruptible politician shaking up Washington. He even managed to be a quipping action hero when he needed to be. Both Emmerich and Foxx stated in interviews they had based many aspects of the character on the sitting president. The character on screen, however, ends up being a cooler outsider with a more exaggerated anti-war record than Obama. Foxx’s president acted as the fiction that exists in most liberal’s minds when they think of Obama.
While it’s inconceivable that a studio would deny its profits in the name of politics, it is entirely possible, especially when it comes straight from his mouth, that Emmerich himself refused to develop his much-anticipated sequel until it could possibly help celebrate a president he more favored.
Who’s the new president in “Independence Day: Resurgence”?
Sela Ward plays the latest commander-in-chief in the upcoming blockbuster, and it’s not hard to guess where she found inspiration for her character, especially in this heated election.
Let’s just say Emmerich’s growing habit of making his films overtly liberal is not stopping anytime soon. In fact, many of his decisions about the “Independence Day” sequel seem to have been birthed, not out of organic artful thought, but rather the opportunity to propagandize a blockbuster with whatever political tunes he feels like pushing.
When asked by Parade if her female president was based on Hillary Clinton, Ward replied, “Yes — she’s the only presidential candidate that comes close to a female president to emulate.” It’s no surprise, considering Emmerich’s recent track record and his history of donating to the Clintons.
While the original “Independence Day” is often listed as one of the most patriotic films ever made (“The Patriot” usually makes these lists as well), Emmerich now seems to have dropped the patriotism angle in favor of left-wing politics. While the original Will Smith-starring blockbuster showed a strongly led American coalition warding off an alien invasion, the new film has become more global and dropped the previous flag-waving.
“Independence Day: Resurgence” will no doubt be a massive success. After all, people have been waiting for a sequel for a long time.
What should surprise people, though, is Emmerich’s growing divisiveness and his film’s political natures and motivations. He denied work on a much warranted and wanted sequel for years because he didn’t like the Republican president, and now he seems adamant to pepper his blockbusters with every liberal talking point he can — including what is sure to be another fantasy portrayal of a politician Emmerich adores.