Remember when this movie came out? I was about 12 years old and really excited about this movie, back when I could get excited about a movie before they started blurring together. Tonight we take a look at Independence Day, whose sequel is due out in June.
The plot is straightforward, but a little better than most summer blockbusters we are used to these days. Alien ships arrive on our planet, each a ridiculous 15 miles wide, and they hover over major landmarks and cities. Some people are worried while many others are jubilant as we learn we are not alone. David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) discovers a hidden signal coming from the space ships which he determines is a countdown for an attack. He manages to warn President Thomas Whitmore (the always charming Bill Pullman) who orders evacuations, but the attacks still come and obliterate cities worldwide.
The special effects still hold up relatively well despite being 20 years ago, although we have lost the awe from seeing this onscreen the first time. Most people today would take these effects as normal or expected (if the trailer is any indication the effects look spot-on in the sequel). The massive fireball ripping through cities as cars get picked up like toys is still awesome, and the White House getting destroyed is still iconic today as it was then.
The rest of the movie has its leads defending the Earth, including Will Smith as a fighter pilot in his first major blockbuster role. We also have Randy Quaid saving the day as a conspiracy theorist who thinks these aliens abducted him, sadly his real life has been following this type of behaviour too, so I wouldn’t expect to see him in the sequel (and of course that happened to him). As no major spoiler, we win in the end. Yet with these movies it is all about how you get to the end and the spectacle in between. This film was the summer blockbuster we always expect every year, but it was actually still pretty good.
What do expect from this movie? A bit of story, great special effects and solid entertainment. You get all of this and it turns to be pretty good after 20 years. Sure, we are not as wowed as we were then but it still holds up well. The actors give it there all here, which makes it all the more believable, and all the more entertaining.