Independence Day (1996)

PG-13   |    |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Independence Day (1996) Poster

The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind's best weapon is the will to survive.


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4 July 2020 | hendrylam
| They'll never let you fly the Space Shuttle if you marry a stripper
The 4th of July is almost upon and what movie is fitting for Independence Day? Of course, the movie "Independence Day" by Roland Emmerich. The premise is simple, aliens have come and attacked Earth on the 4th of July and the planet but mostly America has got to stop them. I've watched this movie years ago so rewatching it will be a very interesting experience.

One thing I've remembered while starting this movie is how amazing and tension-filled that intro is. The scene with mankind's footprint on the moon getting blown away by the alien ship and the people on earth panicking about the ship in the sky is good stuff.

My biggest praise for this movie has got to be the visual effects though which still look great even today. I think everyone remembers it since it was all in the marketing but the iconic white house getting blown up by the alien ship is just phenomenal honestly. Looking at how the movie was made and finding out that they built a miniature white house and blown it up which is cool. All the action scenes in this movie are just very thrilling and exciting to watch with its fast-paced air battles and spectacular explosions. The first act with the alien destruction and the final third act with the war is just so good! The movie contains a lot of comedic moments especially from Will Smith and they all gave me a slight chuckle and work in the movie's favour.

Speaking of Will Smith, this and Bad Boys are the movies that practically launched his career to action fame and watching this movie again I can see why. Will Smith is extremely charming, funny and awesome as "Captain Steven Hiller". He punched an alien in the face while giving a cheesy one-liner, what more could you ask for? Jeff Goldblum is also likeable as the tech expert "David Levinson" and Bill Pullman is charismatic as the American President "Thomas J. Whitmore" and gives one of the most memorable speeches in movie history. The supporting cast is also great in their variety of different performances from the weird to the serious and they all do a great job.

The negatives of this movie are very clear and it is that the plot is just very thin and bland. However, this is kind of expected since the movie is just an alien invasion but the movie runs for 145 minutes which is LONG. So the director does a lot of padding which ruins the pacing of this movie. This is especially noticeable in the second act where it feels like everything is slowing down and coming to a halt just so they can find a way to bring all the characters together and it just drags. Additionally, the movie has to find a way for humans to fight back and win but it is not very convincing. You are required to ignore questioning the logic of the plot and characters and dialling down the sense of believability for this movies plot to work.

While I did praise the actors for their performance, the characters themselves are very lacking in depth. I don't feel like I understand any of the characters motives or backstory and none of the main characters changes by the end of the movie either. I never really cared for any of the characters dying and there are moments I've feel where they want you the audience to feel something but it doesn't work because none of the characters is that interesting for us to care. Well except for the dog who is a character we all care for and has a great moment in the movie. Rewatching the movie I've noticed how stereotypical the characters were which is probably why this movie was a product of the 90s and wouldn't be allowed today necessarily.

Overall, the movie is still a fun movie to watch and even to rewatch. The true main star of this movie is the visual effects with its stunning action pyrotechnics giving us some of the best destruction in movie history. The production and set design are great and the amount of practical stuff is astounding as well. However, the movie is pretty cheesy and dumb with a very stupid conclusion which I've still find dumb even during my rewatch. One line still sticks to mind is "they'll never let you fly the Space Shuttle if you marry a stripper" and honestly I still think about that because it shouldn't affect ones flying ability but apparently that is important. Nevertheless, this movie is just pure spectacle filled fun and no doubt watching this movie was an enjoyable time which is all that matters in over the top, cliche movies like these.

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