Friday, August 30, 2013

907. Independence Day (1996)

Running Time: 145 minutes
Directed By: Roland Emmerich
Written By: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich
Main Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia
Click here to view the trailer


If you wanna talk about Hollywood and I mean HOLLYWOOD, then this may very well be the most modern Hollywood film on the entire 1001 list. This film oozes everything that gives every major Hollywood executive tighter fitting pants (*wink*). It's the 38th highest grossing film of all-time, revived the big budget, special effects way of making movies and made a star out of Will Smith.

Despite it's nearly two and a half hour running time, "Independence Day" only requires about a fourth grade level attention span and the story probably could've been told in half the time. Basically, it's your run of the mill aliens story. The film begins on July 2nd, when an enormous unidentified flying object orbits Earth's atmosphere, before entering it and sending out dozens of smaller, destroyer ships, which remain immobile over some of the World's largest cities, including Washington DC, NYC and L.A. David Levinson (Goldblum), a genius, satellite technician figures out that eventually the mothership will send out a signal, commanding all of the smaller ships to attack. It seems that the aliens are hostile and are positioned to blow up many of the world's major cities. David gets into President Thomas Whitmore's (Pullman) ear and finally convinces him to evacuate the cities. Meanwhile, any attempt to attack the mothership is halted, by way of a shield that completely encapsulates the alien craft. Captain Steven Hiller (Smith) manages to be the sole survivor of an attack mission and in the process, manages to capture one of the aliens. Later, it is revealed that the aliens want to absorb all of the resources of Earth that they can, before moving on, thus why they want everyone disposed of.

Yada, yada, yada and this & that and the other's a huge mess of a plot and honestly, I think if I think about it too much more I may self induce a migraine headache. However, with that being said, I wouldn't go so far as to call this film awful and actually if you're able to look past the god awful dialogue, the swiss cheese plot and the too long running time, it's actually a better than average, big budget picture; at least as far as big budget epics go. I've read other comments that criticize the acting, but honestly I think MOST everyone involved did the best with what they were given, which was a script filled with corny cliche lines; the types of lines that just beg the Wayans brothers to make fun of them. I'm a big Jeff Goldblum fan and thought he did the best he could here. I'd also go so far as to say thumbs up to Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch and Robert Loggia. In fact, the relationship and dialogue between Hirsch and Goldblum was probably my favorite thing about the whole film. I'd say that Will Smith was still terribly "green" here (another way of saying inexperienced) and honestly, later on in his career, he'd develop the skills needed to turn in a halfway decent performance. I'll end my cast notes by saying I despise Randy Quaid with a passion...that is all.

I really don't even think I need to elaborate on the bad, because the bad will be blatantly obvious to anyone that sees this film and has a semi knowledgeable movie palate. The dialogue IS god awful and it's obvious. The plot is full of holes and there's a handful of things that just flat out don't make sense. Lastly, the film is just too long. It wasn't a clock watching film, but I will tell you that by the end of the picture, my eyelids were getting mighty heavy and I was so ready to just check out. However, I didn't mind it THAT much. Perhaps it's the fact that I was eleven/twelve when this came out, thus the perfect age to be preyed upon by this kind of garbage (and, damn it, I LOVED it when I was a kid), but I didn't mind it as much as a film snob probably SHOULD mind it. I'll happily admit that it's garbage, while also admitting that it's the kind of garbage George Costanza would find lingering near the surface, pick up and take a bite out of.

RATING: 6/10  There's no chance of the TOP 20 list in this film's future, but at least TRY it and you MIGHT be surprised. Go in expecting nothing and you may get something.


August 30, 2013  10:34pm


  1. I've never been a big fan of Independence Day, but on the contrary to you, I've always felt like I should like it. Yes, most people agree that the plot and acting aren't great, but they still see a lot of good things in it... I just don't really do. Especially hate the patriotism in it.

    1. It's certainly not something for everyone. They're supposedly making a couple of sequels...yippee!! (sarcasm)

  2. So high a score after that write up?
    You must be trying VERY hard to be fair and reasonable.
    Because, after all, I guess it is good at what it wants to be. I just don't want to be part of of the crowd watching this shit.
    There is obviously a market for this type of thing.. and i fully see why this is part of the 'must see' canon. As we both have said many times.. this is NOT a 1001 best films, or enjoyable films, or worthwhile films. And you DO need to have seen a few examples of this type (otherwise how can you say it is rubbish).
    So full marks for fairness.. (you can now let it slip several points in a future re-cap)

    1. The bit about letting it slip points in the recap got a big laugh from me. Someone's been paying attention. Recap time is coming up this week, so we'll definitely see how it fairs after a couple days of thought.


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