Independence Day

"Excellent"

Independence Day Review


Independence Day marks the glorious realization of what, for me, has been a nearly 25 year wait. Countless prayers have gone unanswered, but on this day, I have finally witnessed on screen what I have only dreamt of all my life, for this film features the complete and total destruction of the city of Houston through the use of nuclear weapons, by the U.S. government's own hand!

But watching my home town be blown away is only one of the charms of ID4 (the film's hip moniker). First there's the War of the Worlds meets Star Wars meets The Right Stuff story, about a superior, marauding alien force threatening to annihilate the human race (and almost succeeding). And an all-star cast of freedom fighters (more on them later). Director Roland Emmerich, who redeems himself for the idiocy of Stargate, and who isn't afraid to kill off the good guys. Some dazzling visuals. Loud sound effects. Plus every Star Trek and X-Files fan in town in the audience. What more do you want?

Character-wise, we are peppered with a litany of names and faces, all of whom are surprisingly easy to keep straight, thanks to Emmerich's jumping around in the setting. Will Smith does his Bad Boys "2001" character. Bill Pullman recalls Michael Douglas's American President. Jeff Goldblum: see Jurassic Park. Randy Quaid, Harvey Fierstein, Robert Loggia... we pretty much know what to expect from these folks. And while they may seem a bit hackneyed at times, especially with their cliché-ridden dialogue, there's enough life left over to make everyone interesting. (But why does everyone seem to have a romance sub-plot going on?)

And yes, maybe the plot/theme about how a few Americans banding together can stop a vastly superior invading force, end racial discord, and ensure world peace and harmony is a bit much, but so what? If you can suspend disbelief enough to accept that an alien ship 1/4 the size of the moon is attacking earth, you can accept the Give Peace a Chance bit. Think: the director is a German!

Okay... some of the effects are a bit cheesy, too, which doesn't mix well with the really good ones. (The residue of people laughing at (not with) the final scene on July 2 really hurts the power of the opening scene on July 3 -- New York City in ruins, the Statue of Liberty laying half-submerged on its side.) Just let these crummy effects go. Understand that much better ones are on the way.

Nitpicking? Who, me? Yes, but this time I had a lot of fun on the ride. The whole film is tasty, even the unintentional cheese. Be warned, the movie is 2 hours & 20 minutes long, so pack a picnic basket. But I promise it'll be an excellent trip.

And remember: in space, no one can hear a frying Houstonian scream.

No sketches were available of the destruction of Houston. I had to settle for New York.



Independence Day

Facts and Figures

Run time: 145 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 3rd July 1996

Box Office Worldwide: $817M

Budget: $75M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Centropolis Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Fresh: 34 Rotten: 23

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Captain Steven Hiller, as President Thomas J. Whitmore, as David Levinson, as First Lady Marilyn Whitmore, as Julius Levinson, as General William Grey, as Russell Casse, as Constance Spano, Vivica A. Fox as Jasmine Dubrow, as Albert Nimzicki, as Marty Gilbert, as Major Mitchell, as Miguel Casse, Lisa Jakub as Alicia Casse, as Troy Casse, as Captain Jimmy Wilder, as Patricia Whitmore, as Tiffany, John Storey as Dr. Isaacs, Frank Novak as Teddy, as Philip, as Technician/ Medical Assistant 1, Mirron E. Willis as Aide, Ross Lacy as Aide, as Whitmore's Aide, as Commander / Tech, as Commanding Officer, as Commanding Officer, Steve Giannelli as Radar Technician, Eric Paskel as Radar Technician, Carlos Lacámara as Radar Operator, John Bennett Perry as Secret Service Agent, Troy Willis as Secret Service Agent, as Technician, Wayne Wilderson as Area 51 Technician, Jay Acovone as Area 51 Guard, as SETI Technician 1, Jana Marie Hupp as SETI Technician 3, as Chief of Staff, David Channell as Secret Service Agent, as Mario, Greg Collins as Military Aide, Derek Webster as Sky Crane Pilot, as Pilot, Levan Uchaneishvili as Russian Pilot (Levani), Kristof Konrad as Russian Pilot, Kevin Sifuentes as Tank Commander, Elston Ridgle as Soldier, Randy Oglesby as Mechanic, Jack Moore as Mechanic, Barry Del Sherman as Street Preacher, as Secret Service Agent, Anthony Crivello as Lincoln, Richard Speight Jr. as Ed, Joe Fowler as Reporter, Sharon Tay as Reporter, Peter J. Lucas as Russian Reporter, Yelena Danova as Russian Newscaster, Johnny Kim as Korean Newscaster, Vanessa J. Wells as Newscaster, Sayed Badreya as Arab Pilot, as Sailor, as Lucas, as Housewife, as Older Boy, as Reginald, Pat Skipper as Redneck, as SETI Chief, as Dr. Brackish Okun

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