Creature Features is back and we’re forgoing the BBQ to celebrate the 90s’ classic that would not go quietly into the night- Today we celebrate INDEPENDENCE DAY.
Man, I’ll never forget the hype for this movie. I was fourteen years old and was basically the talk of the Summer. The “Fresh Prince” himself Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and aliens? WE’RE ALL IN ALREADY.
The film originally titled Doomsday, but was sealed with a chef’s kiss to what we now know as Independence Day thanks to Bill Pullman’s pumped up ‘MURICA speech in the film, was indeed a visual spectacular for audiences in 1996. And of course, a big round of applause for practical effects as it wins again- this time even an Oscar!
As we all understand, something like this takes a massive team to pull off. However, Volker Engel, Patrick Tatopoulos, Douglas Smith, Clay Pinney, Mike Joyce, and Joe Viskocil were some of the most notable faces of the special effects mastery. Unlike the films’ latter sequel, the movie relied heavily on old school tricks like miniature models for some of the more complicated scenes; like you know blowing up the White House which was actually measured at 15-feet wide and 5-feet high. In fact, 95 percent of the film was shot using miniatures with motion-control cameras.
As cool as that is, what really tickles my nostalgic tits is the movie magic aliens. Grant it this was supposed to be a family affair with it being a holiday Summer Blockbuster and all. But we all damn well know when President Whitmore went face to glass with one of these suckers’ at Area 51, you got the goddamn chills in that scene. Don’t you deny it.
Engal (seen below in the video) states he wanted to do something familiar yet new when it came to designing the creatures. The shots for the creatures were mostly dudes in fantastic costumes with effects coordinators controlling the limbs mechanically. So once again, puppeteering wins this round for monster magic.