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Links between the Movie "Independence Day" and Pax Americana

Links between the Movie

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The science-fiction film Independence Day got a sensational fame in 1996 as a disaster picture directed by one of the most famous directors and script writers in America – Roland Emmerich. Nevertheless, the author has already earned the reputation in the area of that genre in the USA and other countries of the world. The picture is a description of the apocalyptical events that resulted in the war between humans and aliens who came to conquer the Earth. Independence Day is full of impressive effects and fantastic sights. However, the premiere of the film provoked not only enthusiastic celebrations but also the flaw of critique and openly negative opinions. The reason of that quite uncertain comprehension was caused by the mixture of contradicting elements. The film demonstrates open irony on the background of quite serious pictures of a threatening disaster. It develops the complex ideal of American superiority. Although Independence Day is an entertainment movie with ironic elements, it regards national issues with the Pax Americana idea.

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Independence Day illustrates some elements of post-nationalism. The biggest contradiction of the picture is that it combines different genres and expresses some elements, which cannot be connected. It shows patriotic heroes and national elements; the general idea of the movie, actually, demonstrates open love to the motherland. However, the film reflects some irony of post-nationalism on the background of global issues.[1] Of course, the contemporary process of globalization leads to the tendency of standardization and vanishing of national elements. Actually, this process is reflected in the film on the background of American superiority. This aspect of the picture is quite arguable as it can even provoke the negative international response and some intercultural conflicts. In addition, Emmerich illustrates the other quite contradictious element of the movie – a mixture of nationalism and post-nationalism. These terms re not precisely opposite. However, the fragments with architectural symbols of the USA: Capitol, the Empire State Building, and White House, give the feeling of national pride when the fallen Statue of Liberty illustrates post-nationalism.[2] It causes some miscomprehension of the movie. It is hard to determine a real goal of the film. It is possible to assume that the director made a terrible mistake or entangled himself taking into consideration the adventurous aspect of the picture. It even seems that the director lost the key idea till the end of the film. However, it is necessary to admit that the authors wanted to show the ironic plot with the hint on national superiority.

The director of Independence Day Roland Emmerlich has already created several science fiction movies. Generally, he is of German origin, and his real motherland is reflected in all his American blockbusters. It is hard to notice it, but the analyses of all his works can confirm this idea. The pictures can be divided into two groups: the films without national identities or openly expressing its elements and movies with too many American cultural aspects. Some his movies illustrate all the traditional Hollywood’s patriotic means that makes them too pathetic. It creates an impression that the German director does everything he can in order to assimilate his works to American. Nevertheless, his, actually positive intensions look rather ridiculous and ironic. For instance, the America president has the leading role in the war against aliens. The key heroes are also Americans. However, the following pictures of Emmerich did not bring him success. Thus, he creates Patriot as a worthy response to acute critics. It makes an impression of some game of nationalism. Henry Jenkins considers that the game can expand and deepen the movie, but it should be organic to what makes the work compelling.[3] Maybe, this aspect contributed to his nomination of the Golden Raspberry Awards. However, the director continues working in the sphere of apocalyptic disastrous films and applies elements of American national superiority or dominion in the world. In other words, it can be called Pax Americana tendency of the movie.   

Pax Americana is a term denoting a period of economic and political stability after the World War II. It was the time when America achieved the highest level of superiority and dominion in the world. The biggest reason was that the military conflicts did not touch the territory of the state. It is used to comprehend America as the main hero and winner in WWII. Thus, the USA became the most influential country in the world, like the Rome Empire or Britain. From that time, the term Pax Americana reflects the notions of the superpower position in the world, influence, and the biggest dominion. “The peace and prosperity of the current era rely too heavily on a single ingredient: American power”.[4] Basically, the idea of American dominion easily transformed in all the spheres of live and was also reflected in cinematography. Independence Day by Roland Emmerich is closely related to the idea of Pax Americana even though it reflects it with some elements of irony and humor.

Multiple fragments and events of the picture illustrate the issue of Pax Americana. For instance, the sense of the Day of Independence reflects not only the title of the movie and the day of mass celebrations, which transformed into the war, but also a global holiday. The director wants to show the dominion of America in the critical situation since America is a single ingredient of the prosperous future. Thus, the film indirectly proposes to make June 4th an international independence day. Moreover, the fragment when the president leads the plane expresses the highest level of pathos and Pax Americana issues.

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