moviecm2.jpg (6823 bytes)  Cutting the world down to size is a common theme in contemporary movies.


A highly popular form of wish projection in today’s movies involves "cutting the world down to size."   As an example of the popularity of this motif, consider the box office success of Independence Day.

Yes, as a chorus of reviewers noted, the aliens in ID4 did help unite us by giving us a common enemy to resist.   But they also did something that was more deeply significant, by reducing the enormity of scale in our own society.

With a few well-placed zaps of their destructo-rays, the aliens made Earth a place that was far less dwarfing and diminishing to humans—one in which an otherwise obscure fighter pilot can earn a nation’s gratitude for one good dogfight, while his girlfriend manages to save no less a personage than the First Lady.  And it doesn’t stop there.

By the final scene, all the hottest and most droolworthy military technology is at the disposal of anyone who can pilot a Piper Cub.  Ordinary citizens, including a washed-up alcoholic cropduster, get to fly side-by side, bonding as comrades-in-arms in an epic mission, with that most potent of all iconic figures, the President of the United States. 

Not a bad proposition for an audience that’s more accustomed to an environment in which they will never be—or meet—or even see, first-hand, anyone deemed societally significant enough to appear in the pages of People magazine.


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