Reporter Ed Vogel, writing in the Las Vegas Review Journal on March 22, 1996, said that Nevada governor Bob Miller, sensing a chance for a publicity bonanza, has decided to dedicate the state's Extraterrestrial Highway on April 18 as part of a promotion for the upcoming film "Independence Day," about an alien attack on the Earth. Stars of the film will make the trip with Miller to Rachel, 140 miles north of Las Vegas, to dedicate Highway 375 as Nevada's Extraterrestrial Highway.
Large signs proclaiming the 98-mile highway north of the Nevada Test Site as a haven for aliens will be unveiled during special ceremonies. UFO experts also will be on hand to lead discussions.
The state Transportation Board, chaired by Miller, proclaimed the road as the Extraterrestrial Highway on Feb. 1. The highway is just north of the secret Area 51 base where the Air Force is believed to have tested the stealth, U-2 and other aircraft. Some claim aliens and their downed aircraft have been taken to Area 51 for study.
Besides unveiling the signs April 18, "Independence Day" producers will dedicate a monument for the movie. The monument is supposed to serve as a beacon for outer-space visitors.
The movie will not be released nationally until July 3, but producers plan a celebration on April 17 in Las Vegas during which selected scenes will be shown. "Independence Day" is being tabbed as one of the summer's top movies.
At the recently-held annual National Association of Theater Owners/ShoWest convention in Las Vegas, a vivid assemblage of some 10,000 folks from 45 countries, including a who's-who of Hollywood stars, heard Bill Mechanic, the president of Fox Film Entertainment, describe "Independence Day" as "a movie that will take its place in history alongside 'Star Wars.' It will create 'Star Wars'-like moments -- where were you when you saw it first? It'll create lines like 'Jurassic Park.' "
The film, which stars Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Will Smith, depicts the invasion of Earth by a huge extraterrestrial force and has $70 million in special effects. An eight-minute clip of the film, shown at the Las Vegas convention, brought a roaring ovation from theatre owners giddy with visions of another theatrical gold-mine rivaling "Jurassic Park."
Glenn Campbell of the Area 51 Research Center offered his own candid spin on the anticipated summer blockbuster.
"The film is a big-budget remake of 'War of the Worlds,'" he says. "Judging from the original script, the characters seem one-dimensional and the plot predictable. Part of the movie is supposed to take place at 'Area 51,' but this fictional site bears little resemblance to the real facility." Campbell ought to know -- his Area 51 Research Center is the foremost civilian watchdog organization focussed on the super-secret "base that doesn't exist."
"Genuine UFO enthusiasts have reason to be upset about this film," Campbell continues. "The invading aliens are blandly evil and have nothing deeper to say than 'Destroy, annihilate... we'll kill you all.' Billions of earthlings are killed in the course of this movie and most of the world's major cities are wiped out -- but viewers can rest assured there is still time for romance among the leading characters. According to the script, the President of the United States takes to the air as the pilot of a jet fighter in the final climactic battle against the alien mothership. In the end -- you guessed it -- planet earth, or what little is left of it, is saved in the nick of time, and the hero and heroine fall into each others arms.
"It is unfair to judge the movie before its release, however," Campbell cautions, somewhat tongue in cheek, "since the producers have spared no expense in special effects..."
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