Richard’s Year of Movies — Independence Day and Jaws

With nothing much to do on the Fourth of July and no really good marathons going on on cable (the one I recorded on Saturday got screwed up by my DVR so I only got half of it), I decided to throw in some spirited holiday fare.  Turner Classic Movies had some decent stuff going on, but I really wanted to watch Independence Day and Jaws, the first one because, duh, the title, and the second because Hannah was home and I knew it would torment her.

Okay, just kidding about the tormenting part, but she’s never seen Jaws and didn’t want to because it was too scary.  I’ve tried to convince her it’s 1970s scary, not 2000s gore and splatter scary, but to no avail.  So I figured I’d just put it on while she was home and she’d either have to suck it up and watch it or run into another room.

Well, neither happened.  She stuck around, but kept herself busy baking and playing online so that she wouldn’t accidentally see anything too traumatic.  She did catch the guy’s leg floating to the bottom of the ocean though, and I had the good sense to warn her before Ben Gardener’s head popped out of the boat.  So she escaped relatively unscathed.  And she had to leave for work before it was over, so she still has yet to see Jaws.  Which is too bad, because the film is a marvel and quite possibly perfect.  If you think it’s just sharks and jump scares, you’re really missing out on some great character work, without which you’d have Orca.

As for ID4, it’s nowhere near Jaws in terms of craftsmanship and has holes big enough to fly an invading alien fleet through, but if you listen to the music cues early on, which seem to echo John Williams’ scores for The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure, you realize they’re not going for believability, they’re going for maximum disaster.  It’s Irwin Allen with a better budget, and as that it works wonderfully.  It builds the alien threat nicely, gives you one hell of a payoff to that, blows up half the world, offers up a rousing patriotic speech, then sends us off triumphantly as alien wreckage rains down and destroys what’s left of the planet.  Well, that would happen if the story made any sense.

I was going to watch Mel Gibson’s The Patriot as well, but I wasn’t in the mood for exacting realism by that point.


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