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Independence Day and War of the Worlds

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For my English coursework I have watched two science fiction films. Independence Day and War of the Worlds. War of the Worlds was made in the 1950’s and Independence Day in 1993. Both of which were huge hits of their time. A science fiction film is most likely to be a film about aliens or robots, which often include the main character being a child who becomes friends with the alien or robot or a man who is very brave and is at war with the robots or aliens. Both the films I watched were about humans at war with aliens.

A brief outline of Independence Day would be that aliens attack earth creating a huge panic across the city. The humans try to attack the aliens using military weapons, like fighter planes, but this doesn’t work. Eventually the alien’s week point is found and the aliens are killed. This is a very similar outline to War of the Worlds except the alien’s attack the whole world and the aliens die from a disease, not being killed by the humans like in Independence Day. In science fiction film the audience would usually expect a film that would include aliens, robots and strange spacecraft’s.

The settings you would expect would be in places like space, famous buildings i. e. the White House, also you would expect to see one of the settings to be in a science lab. Another setting would be in the streets of the attacked city. There are many hi-tech objects that you would often find in a sci-fi film, such as lasers, military weaponry i. e. machine guns, hand guns etc. , and civilian and military vehicles. The main character is either a very brave man who calms everyone down whilst at war with robots or aliens or a child who becomes friends with an alien or robot.

Many big events occur in sci-fi films like explosions, battles, encounters with strange objects or creatures, missions and there are often disasters in a sci-fi film. Finally there are many characters an audience would expect see like aliens, robots, civilians, hero’s, scientist and very often a victim or victims. Independence Day and War of the Worlds are both typical science fiction films because they are about humans being attacked by aliens. They use military weapons, like an atom bomb, to try to destroy the aliens. Unfortunately this doesn’t work so the humans end up panicking.

But there is a part in Independence Day that you wouldn’t find in a lot of typical sci-fi films. This when the main character causes a space craft to crash and punches the alien making him turn uncontous. Other than this small part of Independence Day they are both typical sci-fi films. Both the two films have some major settings that are similar and others that are different to each other. There are a few main setting that both the films have. These are in the streets of the city, in an army base, in the countryside and in space, all of which are very commonly used settings in a sci-fi film.

There are also a few settings that are different. In Independence Day there is a scene where the characters are in a laboratory, which you would expect to see but it is not in War of the Worlds. Another example of this is where there is a scene when the characters go into the alien space craft but is not included in War of the Worlds yet it is typical of a sci-fi film. Finally there is a scene in War of the Worlds when the characters go into a church. This scene is not found in Independence Day and is not very typical of a science fiction film. Certain sound affects are very typical of a sci-fi film because they set the mood of the scene.

Independence Day and War of the Worlds both have a variety of sound affects. Independence Day has much better sound affects because it is a newer film and is more developed. It has many different sounds like explosions, aircraft sounds, car and lorry sounds and eerie alien spacecraft sounds. This is a very typical sci-fi sound affect because it is strange and reminds you of aliens or that something strange is going on. The sound affects in this film are much sharper, clearer and louder where as in War of the Worlds the sound affects are much less sharp which is due to the lower amount of technology back then.

War of the Worlds also has eerie sound affects, which are very typical of sci-fi films. It also has other sounds like explosions, lasers, gunfire . etc which are present in both the films. The main characters are quite different in the way they talk and act. In War of the Worlds the main character is very well spoken where as in Independence Day the main character very informally and is a very laid back person. They both act very differently as well because Will Smith, the main character in Independence Day, acts very tough and said in one of the scenes that all he wanted to do was “kick some alien arse”.

He said this when he was being pursued by an alien and causes him to crash. He then gets out the plane and lifts the alien out of his spacecraft and starts punching the alien making him uncontious. But Dr Forrester, the main character in War of the Worlds, is very cautious and a bit worried about the situation, but is dominant over the women who are very panicky. But the two women who are dominant over the men at times are the David’s (second main character who is a scientist) x-wife and Will Smiths wife.

The way they are dominant over them is that they tell what to do and what not to do, like stop panicking David and get a grip of your self! This is something David’s x-wife says to him after he starts to panic. Also Will Smith’s wife dominates him by slapping him an asking him where he had been. The special effects do play quite a big role in what you think of the film because you may lose the plot of the film because your too busy saying things like “Oh that’s so unrealistic” plus it makes the film seem more worked on.

The special effects in Independence are very good and are far better than those of War of the Worlds because it’s a much newer and developed film. Even though the special effects in War of the Worlds are quite poor compared to newer films they were good for their time. The lasers were the worst piece of special effect in War of the Worlds because they looked like they were something a child drew on a computer program called paintbrush.

Even though the special effects were quite poor there wasn’t many of them so it didn’t alter my thoughts of the film. So I still thought that it was a good film with good story line and a clever ending. Overall the quality of special isn’t really that important but it all depends on the amount of special effects there are because it could alter someone’s thoughts towards the film by making then veer off the actual film and just think about how bad the special effects were. The two films ended the same in the fact that the aliens were destroyed.

In War of the Worlds it ended with the aliens catching the common cold and dying from it, where as in Independence Day the humans found the aliens weak point which helped to destroy them. What they did is give the aliens a computer virus to destroy the alien force field protecting the mother ship. By doing this they could now take it out using fighter planes to gun it down. In a way the endings are a little similar in the fact that in both the films the aliens received a virus but in one film the virus is intentionally given where as in the other it is received by no intention.

So the aliens where destroyed in Independence Day by brains and gun power where as the aliens died in War of the Worlds by sheer luck. I think both the endings are realistic because either of these things could happen it just depends on how you act when a problem like this occurs. Finally the ending in Independence Day is more of a sci-fi alien encounter ending because everyone would think that the aliens would die by the power of humans and there weaponry. Sci-fi films are so popular because many people like watching strange films with strange creatures that take over the world.

Out of the two sci-fi films I saw I preferred Independence Day to War of the Worlds, not because the special effects were better but because it was a lot more tense and had a lot more action making you want to keep watching the film. I have seen Independence Day many times before and every time I watched it I enjoyed it a lot and I was still impressed by it even though I’ve seen it so many times, but it doesn’t really compete with the films today. Never the less I still think it’s a fantastic film.

But War of the Worlds did have a story line that altered a bit from Independence Day making it more original. I thought it was more realistic because the characters in the film acted like I think we would act if it happened to us. We wouldn’t know what to do and would panic a bit. But then again, really you never know how you would act until you’ve experienced a situation like this for your self. So overall I think both the films are just as realistic and the characters are just as realistic, there isn’t really a more life like character until you know how YOU would act.

To conclude my essay the similarities with the films were obviously that they have the same genre but other than that both the films start in a similar way and the reaction of the people when they first meet the creatures from outer space is quite similar. Differences on the other hand are the main characters act in a different way as the film progresses and the endings to the films are pretty different. Finally these two films are typical of a science fiction genre because they are about aliens invading earth; killing lots of people but eventually being killed in some way at the end.

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