Film: Independence Day

Cover image
Film:

Independence Day

Director: Roland Emmerich
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

In Independence Day, a scientist played by Jeff Goldblum once actually had a fistfight with a man (Bill Pullman) who is now president of the United States. That same president, late in the film, personally flies a jet fighter to deliver a payload of missiles against an attack by extraterrestrials. Independence Day is the kind of movie so giddy with its own outrageousness that one doesn’t even blink at such howlers in the plot. Directed by Roland Emmerich, Independence Day is a pastiche of conventions from flying-saucer movies from the 1940s…

Reviews

Amazon.com

In Independence Day, a scientist played by Jeff Goldblum once actually had a fistfight with a man (Bill Pullman) who is now president of the United States. That same president, late in the film, personally flies a jet fighter to deliver a payload of missiles against an attack by extraterrestrials. Independence Day is the kind of movie so giddy with its own outrageousness that one doesn’t even blink at such howlers in the plot. Directed by Roland Emmerich, Independence Day is a pastiche of conventions from flying-saucer movies from the 1940s and 1950s, replete with icky monsters and bizarre coincidences that create convenient shortcuts in the story. (Such as the way the girlfriend of one of the film’s heroes—played by Will Smith—just happens to run across the president’s injured wife, who are then both rescued by Smith’s character who somehow runs across them in alien-ravaged Los Angeles County.) The movie is just sheer fun, aided by a cast that knows how to balance the retro requirements of the genre with a more contemporary feel. —Tom Keogh

Barnes and Noble

Independence Day’s grand-scale invasion of theaters marked it one of the biggest summer blockbusters of the 1990s. The story is simple enough: Aliens show up over the Fourth of July weekend and without reason blow up most of the world. It’s up to the heroic survivors—stern-faced president Bill Pullman, amiable Army pilot Will Smith, and plucky software programmer Jeff Goldblum among them—to save the planet. Independence Day is a lot of things: patriotic battle cry; special effects extravaganza; really, really scary and loud. Though the film is not particularly dramatic or thought provoking, director Roland Emmerich (The Patriot) makes an entertaining ride out of fabulous effects, particularly the horrifyingly fiery obliteration of cities worldwide. Smith is fresh once again with a terrific alien-whuppin’ swagger, and though Pullman’s rousing Fourth of July speech before the climactic battle is not on the literary level of Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day speech, it is equally motivational. A loud throwback to alien paranoia of the H. G. Wells classic War of the Worlds, ID4 more than found itself a place in sci-fi/action history, it attacked and took over. Pete Segall

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