' Cinema Romantico: ID4 Speech As Delivered By Other Living Presidents

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

ID4 Speech As Delivered By Other Living Presidents

This past weekend was 4th of July. That meant a lot of things here in America, of course, but in movie fanatic land it meant a heap of social media references to President Thomas J. Whitmore’s (Bill Pullman) pre-battle speech in Roland Emmerich’s grandiloquent “ID4.” In one way, it’s sort of astounded me that there isn’t more blowback against a speech that declares that “the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday.” But then, it probably gets a pass just because America took the lead on repelling the alien invasion. If, say, France had taken the lead……oh boy. Those Freedom Fries devotees on Fox News would’ve been metaphorically nailing poor Whitmore to the stake. But I digress.

Re-hearing the speech over the weekend (see the speech here) made me wonder how a real President would have handled it. Well wouldn’t ya know, someone went and assembled a plethora of Barack Obama soundbites from various speeches, piecing them together on the Youtube to re-create Whitmore’s speech as given by our current Commander and Chief. And yet, it doesn’t really do Mr. Obama justice. By necessity, it doesn’t sound like a real speech would sound. And in wondering what Obama’s real “ID4” speech would sound like, I found myself wondering about what the other living presidents’ “ID4” speeches might sound like.

Jimmy Carter

All due respect to the well-intentioned, kind-hearted Georgian, but Carter is simply not the one to rally the ragtag troops before “the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind.” I imagine his speech would have meandered into post-invasion policy, like how he would address the dangerous fallout via the ill-fated attempt to nuke the aliens and how his administration would go about re-building America’s infrastructure.

George H.W. Bush

Writing for Slate, Jacob Rubin described H.W. this way: “Bookended by the looming, world-historical charisma of Reagan and Clinton, Bush so often seemed flustered, irritated, a man who felt himself losing a popularity contest.” And so imagine that President giving the “ID4” speech. Not the galvanizing rally cry of Whitmore but the rattled scolding of a POTUS who doesn’t simply see the current situation so much as The End Of The World As We Know It as I’m Not Gonna Stand Up Here And Let You Blame This Whole Thing On Me. “It’s a shame Cheney never advised me of the original alien craft. Might have made a difference. We’ll never know. But I know this, we will never lose to these aliens again. Never, ever, ever, ever.. never, ever again! And I mean never, ever, ever, ever, never ever.”

Bill Clinton

Let’s be honest, William Jefferson’s version of the “ID4” speech would have gone on a lot longer than Whitmore’s, likely to the point that Emmerich would have had to leave a healthy chunk of it on the cutting room floor. But still, it’s my personal opinion that a Clintonian anti-alien screed would have been the best. It wouldn’t have merely been rousing; it would have been deft, cutting and funny. He wouldn’t have just talked up the humans, he would’ve talked down the aliens, exposing loopholes in their battle plans and fundamental flaws in their extermination philosophy. But it wouldn’t have been boring. No, it would’ve been entertainingly verbose and left you wanting to both kick ass and shout “four more years!”

George W. Bush

There’s that moment at the beginning of Whitmore’s speech when he first says “Good morning” into the PA, realizes it’s not on, turns it on, and then says “Good morning” again. Well, you can imagine this immediately rendering the undoing of Dubya, can’t you? It would take him, like, two minutes to figure 1.) The PA wasn’t on and 2.) How to turn the PA on. Then he’d grin, trying to offset the inanity of what just happened, crack some jokes that totally wouldn’t fit the edge-of-apocalypse occasion and then blunder his way through the speech, getting totally tongue-twisted on “tyranny, oppression, or persecution.” “These un-earthly evil-doers have crossed our space borders in attempt to incapacitate our American freedoms.” It wouldn’t do much for anybody, but then he’d pull on the fighter pilot suit and go up into battle with them and give all the other pilots nicknames (like the guy in the Harley Davidson ball cap that he’d call “The Marlboro Man” because he’d mix up his references) and they would win and then he would get re-elected.

Barack Obama

Dude would go to town on the anaphoras. “These aliens picked the wrong planet to pick on. These aliens picked the wrong weekend to pick on it. These aliens only have hate in their telepathic tentacles. These aliens are interested only in extermination. But these aliens didn’t count on our immovable resolve for earthly independence.”

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