Your guide to the best Roland Emmerich movies before Independence Day: Resurgence!
For the last 20 plus years, director Roland Emmerich has been the man that Hollywood has turned to when it wants to destroy the world. Emmerich has shown a flair for filming scenes of destruction on an epic scale. In the late ‘90s, that made Emmerich one of the most successful directors in the world.
However, even blowing up America gets old over time and there have been diminishing returns on Emmerich’s disasterpiece blockbusters. Emmerich has attempted to breakout of his cinematic shell with projects like Anonymous and Stonewall, but he’s getting back to his roots next month with Independence Day: Resurgence, the sequel to one of his most successful films. Twenty years after humanity defeated the aliens in Independence Day, the invaders are coming back with a vengeance. The trailers for Independence Day: Resurgence suggest that Emmerich and his team have come up with new ways to literally rain destruction down upon the world. And that probably means that the film will be a huge success.
Ahead of Independence Day: Resurgence’s release on June 24, ComingSoon.net is looking back at ten of the most memorable films in Emmerich’s career. Share your favorite Roland Emmerich movies in the comment section below!
Roland Emmerich Movies Spotlight: Universal Soldier (1992)
Although Emmerich had been active as a director in his native Germany before this movie, Universal Soldier was his first major film in the United States. Universal Soldier starred Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren as a pair of dead soldiers from the Vietnam war who were frozen and reanimated as the perfect weapons for the army before their personalities started to reassert themselves.
Universal Soldier was a modest hit that unexpectedly spawned a franchise that included two TV movies, a theatrical sequel that ignored them, and two direct-to-video sequels with both Van Damme and Lundgren returning that ignored everything else after the first film!
Roland Emmerich Movies Spotlight: Stargate (1994)
Imagine if someone smashed Indiana Jones and Star Wars together into a single movie. That’s pretty much what Stargate turned out to be. Emmerich and his frequent creative partner, Dean Devlin, crafted the tale of an Egyptologist named Daniel Jackson (James Spader) who was sent through a Stargate alongside a U.S. special forces team led by Colonel Jack O’Neil (Kurt Russell). On the other side of the Stargate, they encountered an alien being calling himself Ra (Jaye Davidson), who was seemingly the inspiration for the Ra of Egyptian mythology.
Although Stargate has yet to receive a theatrically-released sequel, the franchise exploded on television with three live-action series. Emmerich and Devlin have reportedly begun working on a Stargate reboot that would ignore the TV spinoffs. But whether it will ever happen remains to be seen.
Roland Emmerich Movies Spotlight: Independence Day (1996)
Independence Day is the signature movie of Emmerich’s career. The plot was pretty simple: aliens come to Earth and began systematically destroying humanity before a few select survivors mounted a successful counterattack on the Fourth of July. It didn’t hurt that the film featured stunning shots of American iconography blowing up, including the White House and several major cities.
The film also featured a well-known cast that included Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, and Judd Hirsch, most of whom returned for the upcoming sequel. ID4 was also widely credited as the movie that made Will Smith into a box office draw.
Roland Emmerich Movies Spotlight: Godzilla (1998)
Using the clout they gained from ID4, Emmerich and Devlin dived into a big-screen remake of the Japanese monster movie, Godzilla. It was hyped up to an unbelievable level for the era, which only made it more stunning when the Godzilla movie was savaged by fans and critics. There’s no easy place to start with this one. The actors turned in terrible performances, the script was horrible, and the Godzilla in this movie wasn’t the Godzilla that fans wanted. All plans for the sequels were dropped after Godzilla didn’t come close to meeting its blockbuster expectations.
Roland Emmerich Movies Spotlight: The Patriot (2000)
The Patriot marked a departure for Emmerich, as he stepped away from the modern day spectacle movies to helm the fictional story of Benjamin Martin and his family during the American Revolution. Mel Gibson starred as Martin, with Heath Ledger as his oldest son, Gabriel.
This film didn’t win any awards for historical accuracy, but The Patriot did a lot to restore Emmerich’s reputation after Godzilla.
Roland Emmerich Movies Spotlight: The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
After destroying America via aliens and Godzilla, Emmerich used global warming and severe weather to unleash his signature brand of devastation in The Day After Tomorrow. Basically, a new Ice Age begins in a matter of days, leaving the United States in frozen ruins.
The Day After Tomorrow marked a return to form for Emmerich, who scored another global hit. But the film hasn’t left the cultural impact of his earlier movies.
Roland Emmerich Movies Spotlight: 10,000 BC (2008)
Four years later, Emmerich went about as far away from big screen disaster films as possible. As the title suggests, 10,000 BC took place in prehistoric times, although it’s more of a fantasy film than a historical epic.
10,000 BC was also savaged by critics, but that didn’t stop it from being a modest hit.
Roland Emmerich Movies Spotlight: 2012 (2009)
Prior to the upcoming Independence Day sequel, 2012 was the last time that Emmerich made a disaster film. Basically, the Mayan apocalypse comes true, and a limo driver played by John Cusack hilariously tries to save his family from the apocalypse… even though it’s not really meant to be a comedy.
The 2012 film was destined to be dated just a few years after its release, but it was also one of the biggest hits of Emmerich’s career.
Roland Emmerich Movies Spotlight: Anonymous (2011)
Anonymous was a very strange chapter in Emmerich’s filmography, and also the biggest flop that he ever directed. The story took place in the 17th century and suggested that Rhys Ifans’ Edward de Vere was the true author of William Shakespeare’s plays, and that de Vere was denied credit for his works after funding an insurrection.
It turns out that Anonymous wasn’t a story that moviegoers were particularly interested in, and it made only $15 million worldwide, which was roughly half of its budget.
Roland Emmerich Movies Spotlight: White House Down (2013)
With White House Down, Emmerich once again embraced the big action films that have defined his career. Channing Tatum starred as John Cale, a police officer who finds himself trying to protect the President of the United States (as played by Jamie Foxx) during a devastating terrorist attack on Washington D.C.’s iconic locations.
White House Down had the misfortune of sharing a premise with Olympus Has Fallen, which stole some of its thunder. Although White House Down made more money, Olympus Has Fallen was the one that got a sequel.
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