Singapore getting destroyed by aliens? It's an honour
S'pore gets its big Hollywood break - getting destroyed by aliens
My fellow Singaporeans, the day we have been waiting for has finally arrived.
Our beloved city-state has been attacked by aliens.
But not real visitors from outer space, just the ones in the new Hollywood movie Independence Day: Resurgence.
The latest trailer for the movie, which was unveiled during commercials for US National Football League championship game the Super Bowl on Sunday, shows our Central Business District area, including the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort and the ArtScience Museum, being digitally blown to smithereens by alien forces through the magic of special effects.
Independence Day: Resurgence, which opens here on June 23, stars Liam Hemsworth, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum and local actor Chin Han, who plays Chinese Space Squadron leader Jiang Lao.
The sequel picks up 20 years after the first movie in 1996 and shows Earth facing an alien threat once again. Original star Will Smith will not be returning because filming clashed with his other movie, Suicide Squad.
Naturally, we should all be celebrating because Singapore is finally considered a city of importance, with landmarks recognisable and worthy enough to be crushed by monstrous entities - on a par with New York's Statue of Liberty in the original Independence Day, the Tokyo Tower in the Godzilla films and Washington, DC's White House in White House Down.
Naysayers might say it's very suay (unlucky in Hokkien) to see Marina Bay Sands and its surrounding buildings fall.
DESTRUCTION: Independence Day: Resurgence director Roland Emmerich with Singaporean actor Chin Han who has role in the movie. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM
Think of all the tai tais and tourists in the casino suffering that kind of devastation.
I think it's a great honour, though.
THE CHOSEN ONE
Of all the cities in the world that could have been pulverised using CGI, director Roland Emmerich, who helmed both the original and the follow-up, chose ours.
Incidentally, the 60-year-old German filmmaker told local media back in 2013, when he was in town to promote White House Down, that he had his eye on Marina Bay Sands as his next building to blow up on the big screen.
Emmerich was fascinated with the building's three-tower design and even imagined a scene where a man sits at the bar at the infinity pool and his drink starts to shake.
We're so glad he decided to make it a reality.
Maybe that man can promote a Singapore Sling before he meets his maker.
Having Hollywood sci-fi films set and shot in Singapore is not new. Last year's Hitman: Agent 47 and Equals started the ball rolling, but those were smaller projects and nothing about Independence Day: Resurgence is small.
Local director Eric Khoo, 50, who is a big fan of the original Independence Day, agrees that it is exciting for Singapore to be featured in a Hollywood blockbuster.
"It shows we've really reached Hollywood standards and they've embraced our architecture," he told The New Paper over the phone yesterday.
"Marina Bay Sands is so beautiful, so it's fantastic that we have a landmark that's so iconic that it can be featured in disaster films."
He joked: "Whether blowing up Marina Bay Sands is in good taste is debatable, but I thought the trailer looked amazing."
When contacted, Marina Bay Sands, the Singapore Tourism Board and the Media Development Authority confirmed that they were not directly involved or consulted for the movie.
But it doesn't matter.
We were deemed important enough by Hollywood - and its extra-terrestrial baddies - to be targeted for destruction.
If it means more international recognition and tourist interest in our little red dot, bring on the carnage.
Whether blowing up Marina Bay Sands is in good taste is debatable, but I thought the trailer looked amazing.
- Local director Eric Khoo on the Independence Day: Resurgence trailer
Besides in Hollywood movies, did you know that Singapore has also been showing up in several big-name video game series?
Here are five of them.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 3 (2015)
Most will remember the futuristic shooter's link to Singapore for all the wrong reasons, when its marketing team faked a terrorist attack here on Twitter and passed it off as news last year.
Part of the game from Activision takes place in a futuristic version of Singapore that has been crippled by a mysterious explosion and organised crime.
While the playable levels are set in several areas including one with devastated shophouses resembling the Katong district, the Marina Bay area appears in a cut scene explaining Singapore's descent into dystopia.
We also featured in BO3's 2012 predecessor Black Ops 2, as a side mission set in Keppel Terminal that had an unlockable achievement named Singapore Sling.
BATTLEFIELD 4 (2013)
Perhaps not wanting to be outdone by its rivals following BO2, Electronic Arts set part of the fourth instalment of its massively popular Battlefield series in Singapore's near future.
China has taken over the island and the player and his squad are deployed to destroy an airfield, supposedly Changi Airport.
However, the developers took several liberties when designing the level, which features insane typhoon-like weather - like how Marina Bay Sands seems crowbarred in there when, in real life, it's located nowhere near Changi.
MEDAL OF HONOR: RISING SUN (2003)
Before Call Of Duty and Battlefield, there was Medal Of Honor. It was the top dog for military shooters and was set primarily in the World War II era.
The console-only Rising Sun was the first game to take place in the Pacific theatre. Players take on the role of US marine Joe Griffin, who is sent to Singapore (which looks like old-timey Chinatown) in March 1943 to infiltrate a secret meeting of Axis officers.
NEED FOR SPEED: NITRO (2009)
Racing in Singapore might not feel like a foreign idea, thanks to the staging of F1 here. But then, this isn't quite the F1 - the series is all about the underground racing scene.
Nevertheless, the game features a rather decent take on our cityscape as the backdrop for a race circuit, as well as a Singaporean driver named Zarinah.
FORMULA 1 SERIES (2009-2015)
If you're looking for an authentic video game recreation of Singapore, look no further than the official F1 video game series by Codemasters.
The Marina Bay Circuit first appeared in the 2009 edition of the F1 racing simulation game and has been in every edition since.
The latest iteration, F1 2015, looks especially sharp after the series made the leap to next-generation consoles.