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Emmerich, Roland

Entry updated 28 November 2022. Tagged: Film, People.

(1955-    ) German filmmaker. His first three features were made in Germany: the cold-war Space Station thriller Das Arche Noah Prinzip (1984; vt The Noah's Ark Principle US), supernatural fantasy Joey (1985; vt Making Contact), and mining-planet action piece Moon 44 (1989). The last featured US actor Dean Devlin, who would go on to write and produce on Emmerich's early Hollywood films: the Cyborg action hit Universal Soldier (1992), which spawned five sporadic sequels; the cryptoarchaeologically premised Stargate (1994), which spawned a long-lived television franchise (see Stargate SG-1); the colossally successful Invasion epic Independence Day (1996); an expensive but poorly received remake of Godzilla (1998); and the non-sf historical epic The Patriot (2000). The pair also produced the mildly postmodern Monster Movie Eight Legged Freaks (2002). During this time Emmerich solo produced two notable German-made sf adaptations: The High Crusade (1994), from Poul Anderson's The High Crusade (July-September 1960 Astounding/Analog; 1960), and The Thirteenth Floor (1999), from Daniel F Galouye's Counterfeit World (1964 UK; vt Simulacron-3 1964 US). Following an amicable parting of ways as Devlin became increasingly involved in producing, Emmerich cemented his notoriety as an engineer of global apocalypse with the lavish Disaster movies The Day After Tomorrow (2005) and 2012 (2009), which respectively visited the planet with an instant ice age and with solar-induced geophysical catastrophe; these alternated with the preposterous but impressively staged Prehistoric SF adventure 10,000 BC (2008) and the Shakespearean conspiracy drama Anonymous (2011). He also, somewhat unexpectedly, produced the German-made sex trade melodrama Trade (2007). Emmerich's reputation as master of disaster is one he has tried in vain to resist (he was initially reluctant to play to type by taking on 2012), and he is a more interesting and versatile figure than his spectacular virtuosity with epic destructive effects suggests, not least in his sustained networking of German and Hollywood sf traditions and talent. [NL]

Roland Emmerich

born Stuttgart, Germany: 10 November 1955


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