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There are a few names that pop into one’s head, when one thinks of filmmakers who are successful at making Summer blockbuster films. Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, J.J. Abrams and of course, Roland Emmerich. Coming from Germany and going against the grain, by making films for broader audiences, Emmerich seemed destined to make these mega blockbuster products. From Universal Soldier to Stargate, it was evident that the more films Emmerich made, the more he showcased that he was a force to be reckoned with. Here we’ll be looking at a few movies that have guided him in this direction and what to expect in his latest offering, White House Down.
For all intents and purposes, Moon 44 is a cliche, stereotypical sci-fi movie that borrows from plenty of other great movies, but man am I a sucker for it. From Micheal Pare’s, cool as ice performance as Felix Stone, to the use of miniatures for the space helicopter sequences, Moon 44 makes for an entertaining affair, even if it does borrow heavily from things like Blade Runner and Aliens. Seeing an awesome actor like Leon Rippy play the asshole Sergeant Sykes or having the prisoner pilots work together make Moon 44 a familiar and digestible piece of entertainment, that always seems earnest and fun. While it wasn’t the first film to be made by Emmerich, its his first film that has him making something close to a spectacle, containing plenty of action and entertainment.
While Universal Solider and Stargate certainly helped the man’s career, it was ID4 that skyrocketed him into a whole new playing field. Using some pretty nice special effects, containing a rock solid ensemble cast and blowing up one of the most iconic places in America, Independence Day was a huge success and made Emmerich a household name. While I don’t think the film has aged well and the fact that it’s a two hour long America commercial, I still can’t deny how big the film was when it came out in 1996 and the impact that its had on the director’s career.
White House Down
While this isn’t out yet and I haven’t had the chance to see it, White House Down travels down the typical Hollywood trend of studios copying one another. There have been many a times where studios would compete with one another, by producing movies that are almost identical, with only a few minor differences to set them apart. Armageddon/Deep Impact, Antz/A Bug’s Life and The Prestige/The Illusionist are but a few examples come to mind. This time its Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen going up against Emmerich’s White House Down, which looks generally more appealing and action packed than Fuqua’s offering. I saw Olympus Has Fallen earlier this year and enjoyed it, for all the wrong reasons. It was entertaining American porn and utilized the Die Hard formula to at least make it passable. White House Down maintains a solid cast, with the likes of Channing Tatum and Jaime Foxx, who look to maintain a much better chemistry than Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart.
Only time will tell whether or not White House Down will be a great movie, but one thing’s for certain, Roland Emmerich sure knows how to make an nice piece of entertainment and he’s got a solid track record to prove it.