Independence Day (1996) – Film

“Independence Day”

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One day the world wakes up  to find UFOs on the horizon.  As the alien ships start to destroy major cities around the world, the story follows  groups of survivors, including the President of the US, some of his staff, a cable repair man and his father, a soldier and his family, and an alcoholic crop dusting, veteran combat pilot, and his children.  These and other survivors join forces to fight the alien invasion.

From Jeff Goldblum’s perfectly executed improve, to the use of miniatures, tear jerking moments to spectacular special effects, this movie really gives the viewer an extravaganza.

This modern classic features an exceptionally talented cast whose charisma and chemistry keeps the viewer engaged throughout the film.  Jeff Goldblum really carries the film, as David, the computer genius/cable repair guy, who discovers what the aliens are doing and how they are communicating.  His interactions with the rest of the characters are convincing and personal, including Judd Hirsch as Julius, his father; Margaret Colin, as Connie, his estranged wife who works as the President’s aide; and Bill Pullman, as Tom, the former combat pilot now POTUS, with whom David has a history of misunderstandings.  Will Smith gives an entertaining performance as Capt. Steve Hiller, a soldier who is pulled away from his family (girlfriend Jasmine, played by Vivica A. Fox, and her son) during the invasion, captures a live alien, and with David’s help (and no small amount of luck) saves the world.   Randy Quaid, as Russell, the alcoholic crop duster, Vietnam veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and victim of a previous alien abduction looking for some pay back, who only wants to keep his family safe, steals every scene his is in.  There are many other talented actors in this film that are noteworthy, Robert Loggia, Brent Spiner, and Adam Baldwin, just to name a few, whose singular talents bring the characters, therefore the film to life.

The story is interesting enough, the invasion’s effects on people and how they respond.  Who considers the larger picture to save the people of the world, who looks to destroy the enemy without regard, and who steps forward as hero, however unlikely they may be.  (If I cared about such things, I might address the socio-political implications of the time.  Frankly, if this is truly a timeless film, in my opinion, it should touch any audience, not just the time at which it was made.)  The effects are well done, the use of miniatures, special and practical effects keep this a stunning film to watch.

This is one of those movies that, over the years,  has become a comfortable companion.   Something I watch when I’m in the mood for sci fi action with a healthy dose of drama.  It is not necessarily a great film and may, arguably, be starting to date, but despite that, it is still manages to remain a favorite.  I gave this 4 1/2  fru fru drinks.

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