Rated PG-13 for sci-fi destruction and violence.
Directed By: Roland Emmerich
Written By: Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich
Staring: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Harry Connick Jr., Judd Hirsch, Mary McDonnell, Robert Loggia, Randy Quaid, Harvey Fierstein and Adam Baldwin
THAT’S RIGHT! Thats what you get! Look at you, ship all banged up! WHO’S THE MAN? HUH? WHO’S THE MAN? Wait until I get another plane! I am going to lower your friends RIGHT BESIDE YOU! -Captain Hillar
On the fourth of July weekend a strange interference in the worlds communications system falters. The world suddenly becomes aware of mile wide ships hovering over their cities ominously. When attempts to communicate with the ships end in disaster, David Levinson,(Jeff Goldblum) a paranoid former scientist begins his own deductions about he aliens real intentions, and suddenly fears the worse. They intend of destroying our world and robbing it of all it’s resources. Within a day New York, Los Angeles, and Washington are destroyed. In panic and fear the survivors flee to area 51 where it’s rumored they have their own defense prepared. When a plan of attack is devised the President (Bill Pullman) declares the fourth no longer the Independence Day for America but for mankind in general, and then the final battle is waged.
Independence Day is what big Blockbuster special effects movies are all about. Roland Emmerich really took the worlds fear alien invasion to the next level. The idea of a not so friendly first contact experience with a species that’s technology was obviously above and beyond our comprehension was perhaps not entirely original but it had never been done on this scale before. Ships a mile in circumference, hovering over our most beloved major cities making no attempt to contact was nail biting, but offered the viewer time to take glimpses into our main character’s all coming from very different parts of the country and who “by coincidence” end up together in the end. While these character’s back rounds are more or less being explored rather than developed we get the idea of what they are about and are played by an all star cast that is talented enough to make up for the lack of depth in character development arena. But let’s be honest, was Independence Day a movie about the people in it and their personal journeys to the uber climatic finale? Absolutely not. They were merely pawns in this wild action adventure alien flick.
The actors including powerhouses like Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Mary McDonald, Vivica A. Fox, Harry Connick Jr., and Randy Quaid made for an even more perplexing movie, because there were enough big name actors to know that each was expendable, and some were. Sitting in a theatre on opening weekend and hearing and feeling the surrounding crowd react with laughter to the lines Goldblum or Smith would pull out, like “Welcome to Earth”, or gasping in disbelief or fear of what was transpiring before them, was a truly memorable and wonderful feeling. It’s exciting to be sitting in the middle of a crowd that’s really engaged in the movie your watching.
Make no mistake, while the White House being blown up is a terrifying site, especially watching it now post 9/11, the realism of it was absolutely terrifying and amazing all at the same time. The FX of this film were spectacular. It featured aliens that thank the stars weren’t bipeds and could speak the language by uploading the Internet into their brains, they were intelligent enough to learn, and had a biology different enough to be completely mysterious and frightening. From the destroyed cities to the all out final countdown battle, to the cable mans simple idea to “send a virus” (yes laughable in these days of technological awareness) made for something suspenseful, funny, and enjoyable all at once.
ID4 is a movie that will go down in history as one of the most ground breaking FX films of it’s time, not to mention a movie that really set the precedent for big summer blockbuster movies. Where the movie lacked in story it compensated with a brilliant explosion, great one liner, or a simple reminder of our simplicity in the scheme of things. You’ve gotta love Independence Day. It’s good movie stuff.
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