The ways in which the generic codes the conventions of science fiction are used in ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ and ‘Independence Day’ are very different. The main factor is that both films were made in two different times. ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ was made in 1951, so it doesn’t have the massive amounts of special effects as in a film today and it is also in black and white. ‘Independence Day’ was made in 1995 and in that time were a lot of action films being made with very high quality special effects.
Both films have different ways of showing science fiction and both are based around the same narrative and that is that aliens attack the earth and try to take over it. The ways in which both films show how the alien comes in contact with the earth is very different. These are a few points that explain the differences. Firstly in every Sci-Fi film there is nearly always a space ship. In ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ the spaceship is shown as being made of an unknown material that is unpenetrable.Order now
Another thing is that when the spaceship opens and closes there are no hinges or anything to show the entrance, it is almost like it is one whole body. The spaceship is also quite small and unconvincing to today’s standards. ‘Independence Day’ shows the space ship as being very big, almost so big that it covers the sunlight. It however doesn’t have an unpenetrable outer material but instead has a shield. This maybe implicates that the aliens have also evolved their technology.
Another thing is that you don’t ever see the ship open up while in the Earth’s atmosphere, instead it has small defender spaceships that are very fast. To today’s standards this is more convincing. As many blockbuster films ‘Independence Day’ is based upon a B movie, that is a movie that was made a long time ago and has the same narrative. In this case ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ is the B movie that has low production values and depends upon the basics of a sci-fi film. However, ‘Independence Day’ is an A movie that has high production values and also uses lots of special effects.
In ‘Independence Day’ because the are a lot of special effects, the shoots are sometimes played longer to add effect and to also show the audience how the special effects were used. A good example of this is at the beginning of ‘Independence Day’ when the large mother ship is first introduced. The aliens in ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ were very plain, as the alien was first introduced he was wearing a very odd looking helmet, that looks very plain. He is named Klaatu. He also says nothing. A robot called Gort accompanies him; he has a special laser that blows up everything.
It seems to walk in a very odd fashion. Klaatu also has the powers to command Gort. The alien in ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ looks as a normal human but he is very tall, he is probably very tall to show that he has superior intelligence and so people look up to him. He also knows how to speak English. He says that where he comes from they have picked up the English language. In ‘Independence Day’ the aliens are based on the typical stereotype that is slimy, with tentacles and looks almost deformed.
These aliens however do not speak English but can talk through a human by wrapping their tentacles around a human and talking via them. This is another thing to show how advance the aliens are. The ideology of both films is that in ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ the ideas are that the alien is a hazard, they think this because as soon as it came out of the spaceship it had Gort it’s sidekick attack everyone that would be likely to attack him. Then Klaatu gets shot at; from then on he is almost put into quarantine and is locked in a room.
Klaatu demands to see the president of America. Instead he meets with the president’s secretary; they talk about what will happen if Earth carries on doing what it is doing. It is almost like the alien world is warning Earth that if we don’t stop what we are doing then we will end up killing ourselves. The film was made in 1951, that was 6 years after the war had ended that had an effect on the film as well. Klaatu was like a messenger from the alien world to tell Earth that if nuclear power would be used then the aliens would have to act upon Earth.
The message is basically that the alien world and Earth needs to co-operate so there is no conflict. The ideology in ‘Independence Day’ is based around America and almost says that the whole world has to follow America because it is the leader and it dominates Earth. It is also about American patriotism and that if we join with America then we will win against the alien threat. The date that is used is July 4th, that happens to be the American Independence Day. The communication between humans and the aliens is very different as well.
In ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ everything electrical stops including cars. In ‘Independence Day’ humans make the first move. Captain Steven ‘Eagle’ Hiller played by Will Smith makes first contact and he take the alien back to Area 51. There a scientist for no reason operates on the alien to find out how it’s body differs to ours. Then they find out that the alien isn’t dead then it kills people and communicates with president of America via the scientist. If you compare both films then you would find out that there isn’t much of a difference because they have the same narrative and very similar characters.
In ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ there isn’t a hero as such but there is a woman called Helen Benson Patricia Neal who was the first person to discover that Klaatu Michael Rennie is the alien and by the end of the film she sticks up for him. In ‘Independence Day’ there are two heroes, Captain Steven ‘Eagle’ Hiller Will Smith and David Levinson Jeff Goldblum. They both directly eliminate the alien attack and both get praised for it. In both films there also a scientist type person.
In ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ the scientist is called Professor Jacob Barnhardt Sam Jaffe he is stuck on large equation and Klaatu helps him. Then Professor Bardhardt calls for a meeting with Klaatu and with many other Scientists. In ‘Independence Day’ the scientist has outrageous hair; this is stereotyping scientists in both films. ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ is more serious about the alien attack and does not have action but ‘Independence Day’ has a lot of action, special effects and a little comedy and remains serious about the aliens.
The taglines of the films are that in ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ the aliens come as a warning, in ‘Independence Day’ the tagline is that the aliens will do anything to destroy Earth and that we only have ourselves to blame. One major difference between both films is that ‘Independence Day’ has a larger budget at the time it was made there were a lot of computer graphics in the film, these almost help the film to be more believable to the audience. Whereas ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ was made in 1951, that was 45 years before so of course the special effects wouldn’t be as good as a film made today.