Top 365 Films – #184 – Independence Day (1996)

Top 365 Films - Independence DayDIRECTED BY: Roland Emmerich

STARRING: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Robert Loggia, Randy Quaid, Margaret Collin, Vivica A. Fox, James Rebhorn, Harvey Fierstein, Adam Baldwin, Brent Spiner, James Duval, Lisa Jakub, Giuseppe Andrews, Ross Bagley, Mae Whitman, Bill Smitrovich, Kiersten Warren, Harry Connick Jr and Frank Welker

BUDGET: $75m

EARNED (Worldwide): $817.4m

AWARDS: 1 Oscar (Best Visual Effects)

 

SYNOPSIS

The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind’s best weapon is the will to survive.

 

Independence Day is a summer blockbuster of the late 90’s, taking period over a few days leading up to the 4th July when scientists and military believe that meteors are causing interference in their systems via satellite but learn that there’s a large spacecraft near the Moon and smaller ones arrive on Earth, positioning themselves over major cities. Once a scientist discovers that the aliens are preparing for an invasion of Earth it’s up to a group of of individuals to be mankind’s best hope of survival.

 

9-year-old me would tell you that Independence Day is one of the best films ever (we didn’t do EVA back then). Now in a fully grown and as bitter I’ve become I may not hold Independence Day in the same regard I once did as a kid….but the film just holds a special place in a robotic heart as it has cheese that literally melts on screen and is just entertaining as hell. With the visual effects still holding up to this day, particularly with the blend of practical/special effects for the city landmark/landscape destruction sequences, I thought the film manages to blend the horror with the action and importantly human interaction well and thankfully have a bit of sense of humour about it (kinda need that in an alien invasion). After all other films after it have tried and failed in that regard because the formula just doesn’t work (Battle Los Angeles anyone?) and with the large ensemble present here it’s just a case of who will be alive by the films end to enjoy the ‘fireworks’ (bar the kid and dog…..can’t be having them die, this ain’t Game of Thrones!). Simple and easy to follow with great visuals and some good performances among the cast such as Will Smith as the All-American fighter pilot Steven Hiller, Jeff Goldblum as cable company brainiac worker David Levinson and Bill Pullman as Thomas J. Whitmore aka the best big screen President…..ever…there, I said it. It’s a fun blockbuster film with a lot of replay value for me personally.

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: Many (and I mean many) will say the President Whitmore’s ‘Today we celebrate our Independence Day’ speech but for me it’s the initial mass destruction of New York and Los Angles AND the White House as time runs out. Seeing that for the first time on the big screen was just jaw dropping.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘Welcome to earth!’ – Captain Steven Hiller

DID YOU KNOW?: According to producer/co-writer Dean Devlin, the US military had agreed to support the film by allowing the crew to film at military bases, consulting the actors who have military roles, etc. However, after learning of the Area 51 references in the script, they withdrew their support.

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