Two days before the 220th anniversary of America's birth, Independence Day landed in the theater near my mall. My dad took my brother and me to the movies to see Roland Emmerich's expensive disaster picture. The feeling of watching two heroes, each with racially-specific catchphrases and tics, battle an invading force—I've gone looking for that feeling everywhere.
Seventeen years later, I've done a remarkably poor job of maturing, and am still looking for a movie to amaze and enthrall in the same way. Enter: White House Down, Roland Emmerich's latest attempt at blowing up these United States.
Cons: Olympus Has Fallen, a bad, bad movie, hits almost all of the same story beats, right down to the climactic race against a death clock of the MAD variety (hopefully that wasn't too specific to spoil an experience that, like the entirety of the Hostess product line, should be unspoilable). Also, no Bill Pullman. Also, it's almost two-and-a-half hours long
Pros: Channing Tatum, a daft unicorn of a man with muscles that have their own muscles, like an infinite chain of beefcake. And Jamie Foxx, all charm and Jordan 4s.
Like the invasion depicted, the film, for the most part, works. As a kind of '90s-flavored action comedy (the thermal-vision shot of a couple humping chastely in the missionary position near the movie's beginning is a shout out to one of the Under Siege movies, I think the sequel). But its the how of the matter—how they invade, how you laugh at Emmerich's spectact—that's more interesting to think about.
This is how you invade the White House. This is how you make a popcorn movie.
Written by Ross Scarano (@RossScarano)