TELEPRESENCE IN POPULAR CULTURE

A study of portrayals of presence

Independence Day

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ABOUT THE WORK

MEDIUM:

Film 

YEAR:

1996 

WRITER(S):

Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich 

OWN COPY?

No 
 

ABOUT THE STORY

SUMMARY:

¡°A radio signal is detected coming from as close as the moon, and it soon discovered that a large object is moving towards the earth. It is an extremely large alien mothership, which later launches smaller ships to earth. The ships are miles wide, and hover over all major cities around the world. Although at first no offensive move is made, cable repair man David Levinson (Goldblum), a near-genius at mathematics and computers, makes a discovery that the aliens are going to attack and desperately tries to warn US President Whitmore (Pullman) --- one of whose assistants just happens to be his ex wife. Just as he said, the aliens attack, and devastate cities around the world. Levinson (with his father in tow), Whitmore with White House staff, and a many more survivors, including air force pilot Steven Hiller (Smith) and others, take refuge at Area 51. These include the President's wife, who has become badly injured on the journey, and Hiller's single parent girlfriend wth her small son, who happens upon and bravely rescues the First Lady, plus a small army or refugees that includes trailer park folk who are now able to show their courage and patriotism despite their hitherto rather lowly circumstances. At Area 51, we and the President discover (to his astonishment) that there is a top secret underground laboratory which houses a small alien shuttle craft and three alien bodies which crashed near Roswell (in 1947). For years they have been studied to no avail by a team of scientists headed by the long-grey-haired and eccentric Dr Okun (Spiner). When a nuclear offensive by the USA against the aliens fails, all hope for our planet seems lost. But then two things happen. First, the small alien craft in the lab becomes functional. Second, Levinson, with some inspiration from his father, devises a daring plan to defeat the invaders, by flying that craft up into the alien mothership and uploading a computer virus to bring down not only the mothership but also all the other alien spaceships. The survivors band together with others around the world to put the plan into action to save what is left of humanity. The unlikely team of ace fighter pilot Hiller and boffin Levinson sit side by side in the little craft and set out on a trip that becomes a buddy movie in miniature leading to the conclusion we have all been waiting for.¡±(from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116629/synopsis) 

ERA/YEAR:

Present day when produced 

CHARACTERISTICS
OF WORLD:

Present day 1996 
 
ABOUT THE PRESENCE-EVOKING TECHNOLOGY
NAME:
¡®a huge alien mothership¡¯ ¡®a large alien ship¡¯ ¡®alien (destroyers)¡¯ 
DESCRIPTION:
A large alien ship has a shape of UFO and it is miles wide, and hovers over all major cities around the world. ¡®Aliens¡¯ in the movie, they do not seem like human beings which have a long tail and speak a language which cannot understand. 
NATURE OF TASK OR ACTIVITY:
They try to take over the Earth and destroy the major cities (world) with their weapons. Alternately, people shoot at and try to destroy the alien ship. 
PERFORMANCE OF THE TECHNOLOGY:
They do not stop to destroy the major cities (Once in a while they store ¡®energy¡¯ and ¡®power¡¯ to destroy some big buildings.) 
 
ABOUT THE CREATORS OF THE TECHNOLOGY
DESCRIPTION:
Unknown.  
MAJOR GOAL(S):
We do not know who have created these aliens and their ships however, they enter orbit around Earth and destroy the cities and kill people. 
 
ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCE PRESENCE
DESCRIPTION:
Most of people in Earth are experiencing with the alien ship (because it is visible). However, many American pilots fight with the alien ships to demolish them. Some of pilots get killed by the aliens. President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) and Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) fly the outside of Earth to demolish the alien mothership with a computer virus. They are caught by aliens while they are doing their mission, and try to escape from the mothership before it is too late. 
 
ABOUT THE PRESENCE EXPERIENCE
TYPE(S) OF PRESENCE:
Social presence 
DESCRIPTION:
The aliens are destroying the major cities and people feel fear and terrify with the alien ship. The President announces to evacuate immediately and gather pilots who could fight with the alien ship. They are not afraid to fight and try to save the Earth from the aliens. 
USER AWARENESS:
Yes. 
VALENCE:
Unpleasant. 
SPECIFIC RESPONSES:
They panic because the alien ships kill million people on Earth. But, people fight back for the Earth. And, once again, they fight for their ¡®Independence¡¯. 
 
ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF PRESENCE
LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES:
The story ends with pleasant even though million-people get killed because the alien could not take over the Earth. (The President and Captain Hiller destroy the alien mothership; The American pilots destroy the alien ship.) 
 
AND FINALLY...
OTHER INFORMATION:
 
CODER NAME:
Yongkyung Cho 
CODER E-MAIL:
yongyong@temple.edu 
CODER AFFILIATION:
Temple University 
DATE CODED:
3/24/2008 

 


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