As the 4th of July dawned across the United States today, Americans came together for their solemn annual commemoration of the brave pioneers who laid down their lives watching the 1996 science-fiction blockbuster ‘Independence Day’.
‘I lost both my sons to that film,’ remembered 51-year-old Lola Dupree from Alabama. ‘They were strapping young boys starting out in life and just trying to do their bit for the nation’s film industry on a public holiday. They had no idea what they were getting into. No mother should have to see her children carried out of a movie theatre after 153 minutes of implausible screenplay and agonising exposure to Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum.’
Services were held across the nation as Americans remembered the fateful day when the film went on general release. ‘Thousands never made it out of the movie theatres alive,’ said historian Forrester Clark. ‘The fortunate ones slipped into comas, but others had to find lighting to hang themselves from or overdose on popcorn. It was a bloodbath. Even those that made it out into the daylight just turned their eyes to the heavens in the hope that it was all a bad dream and the aliens had actually come and were about to make a better fist of destroying the planet than they did in the film.’
And of the survivors, most are still trying to come to terms with what they witnessed. ‘All I can remember is that when the alcoholic flew his plane into the mother ship at the end of the film and sacrificed himself, I knew exactly how he felt,’ said Greg Fairbank who will never visit a cinema again. ‘But after 20 years it’s the unanswered questions that keep me awake at night. Questions like ‘why me’, ‘do all Presidents know how to fly a fighter jet’ and ‘how could the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air do that to me?’ How can we have ‘unalienable rights’ that fail to protect us from appalling alien movies?’
But despite the sorrowful reflection, some still see the 4th of July holiday as a chance to reinforce traditional American values. ‘When the founding fathers sat down to draft the Declaration of Independence in 1776, they would never have imagined that just 220 years later director Roland Emmerich would have paid tribute to their work by making a film reminding Americans of the torment and injustice that the colonies endured,’ continued Clark. It has even been suggested that Emmerich’s face should be added to those carved into Mount Rushmore, but critics argue that it would only turn out unrealistic and unwatchable.