Independence Day Review

So I watched Independence Day…

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This is one of my favourite sci-fi movies of all time and definitely the best alien invasion movie I’ve ever seen. it’s got so many great elements and its quality has held up against the test of time.

Okay, basic plot: when aliens attack the Earth, set on worldwide annihilation of the human race, there’s only one force that can stop them? The power of all the humans in the world banding together, putting aside their petty differences and destroying the enemy threatening the world? No, of course not! It’s AMERICA!

I loved the size and scale director, Roland Emmerich, creates in this film. He’s directed numerous disaster movies and this film has the feel of not only a sci-fi action thriller but also a major disaster movie. The majority of the story is based in America but you get the sense of worldwide terror. Buildings are blown to pieces, thousands of people lose their lives – the consequences of this alien invasion are immense. But even with this colossal scale, Emmerich manages to keep the story personal by keeping the spotlight on our characters and allowing us a place to invest our emotions.

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Speaking of the characters, the cast in this movie does a really great job bringing them to life. Look, this isn’t Oscar-winning quality acting but it’s engaging ‘blockbuster’ acting. Will Smith is in the early part of his film career in this movie but his star power and charisma are undeniable. I think 90’s Will Smith was the best Will Smith. He’s brash, arrogant and has an irresistible swagger. Alongside Smith, we have Jeff Goldblum whose his usual idiosyncratic energy is slightly reigned in, in this movie to wondrous effect. He still has the manic fun and unpredictability that you’ve come to expect from a Goldblum performance but with an added degree of finesse which really helps his performance.

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I have to put in a special mention to Bill Pullman’s performance as President Thomas Whitmore in this movie. His overall performance isn’t anything worth writing home about but he delivers what, in my opinion, is the best movie speech of all time. It’s hours before the final attack on the aliens and he gets a bullhorn and addresses the makeshift group of troops he has in front of him. The whole speech is wonderful but my favourite part is: “And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night!” We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”. If that speech doesn’t manage to rouse some kind of emotion in you, I have to assume that you’re not from this planet or that you don’t have a heart.

The special effects and action in this movie are also amazing. It all feels very personal. The stakes are giant but it all feels very focused on our characters, which makes it more meaningful. I’ve seen this movie five or six times but I still get as excited and feel the same rush of anticipation with every action sequence as I did the first time I watched them.

Overall, this is an extremely entertaining movie with the most rousing speech in all movie history. It’s definitely worth a watch 8/10

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