With the armed forces out of the way and dealt with, the Uranians can finally proceed to complete their conquest of Earth symbolically, which is traditionally done by destroying landmarks. Apparently, aliens are capable of understanding human psychology so perfectly that they can correctly judge the impact of seeing an important landmark destroyed…even if they don’t understand it perfectly enough to understand that humans don’t normally correspond in crop circles.
Budget cosiderations forced Nolan to restrict this sequence to a single landmark only, and he decided on the White House. It’s not much of a classic in that regard, since in classic sci-fi movies aliens always seemed to hold a particular hatred for tall, modern buildings – but there is one scene from a more recent alien invasion pic that really stuck in Nolan’s head, so that’s what he went for.
Unfortunately, budget considerations also caused the scene to end up slighly less spectacular than its inspiration. George Geekish is well aware, however, that a spectacular visual effect you can’t afford can be replaced with exposition, if you stage it juuuuust right. Like here not. Good thing that his parents were in town for a visit, so they got another screen credit (not their first, of course), and Nolan got a very affordable exposition scene in place of an unfinancable effect.
You might think that the acting is a bit wooden, but George thinks it’s completely true-to-life. He knows his parents, and he’s convinced they wouldn’t react any different if they really saw the White House destroyed by Aliens.
More on Thursday.