Run-time: 2 hours, 25 minutes
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Randy Quaid, Judd Hirsch & Vivica A. Fox
When I first saw Independence Day back in 1996 as a seven-year-old child, I remember leaving the theater watching the skies for any signs of deep orange or red. Because I lived so close to Los Angeles, I was sure that an alien invasion was imminent, and my family would be caught in the ensuing firestorm that was sure to ravage the city. As you can imagine, that day never came (or maybe it has yet to come...), but it didn't stop the nightmares from occurring. I can't begin to count how many times I saw that alien in my darkest dreams as a child, and sometimes, I still don't like to think about it.
That being said, I can honestly say that Independence Day soon became one of my favorite movies. I used to watch it all the time back in the day, and seeing as today was the Fourth of July, I figured I'd give it another go. It's been a few years since I last sat through the film in its entirety, and I was able to view it in a different light this time around.
Because I'm a little more well-versed in the annals of cinematic history, I can see Independence Day for what it truly is: ridiculous, mindless fun. Years ago, I used to think that it was one of the greatest movies ever made, but after watching it tonight, I saw it in all its cheesy glory. The storyline itself is a little bit stiff, and the dialogue isn't all that great, to be honest. And the acting is so over-the-top that you'd think I should be condemning this left and right. However, because everyone performs so over-the-top, the film actually flows relatively well. In a sense, Emmerich went as big as he possibly could, and the final result is something truly entertaining if completely foolish and silly.
I do have to say that one of the film's highlights is its fantastic musical composition, brought to us by David Arnold. Although it's not reaching the levels of John Williams, it definitely fits this movie quite well. The special effects are also rather astonishing. Sure, they're not quite up to snuff with today's standards, but for a film from 1996, I'd have to say the special effects guys did a pretty good job.
Now while I can't quite place this film on a list of guilty pleasures, there's definitely enough ridiculousness to go around. That being said, there's a lot to love about this movie, from the prolonged action sequences to the constant set of twists and turns to the completely over-the-top acting from the entire ensemble cast. When you put it all together, you get a batch of potpourri that's going to keep you coming back for a whiff again and again. Even if you all just watch it to see Bill Pullman's ultra-patriotic speech (embedded below) towards the end of the film, the you're definitely making it worth your while. So with that, I hope you all had a fantastic Fourth of July. I know I did, having celebrated Independence Day with...well, Independence Day.