You know it’s going to be a bad day when you wake up and an alien ship is hanging out over your planet. This is exactly how the day greets U.S. Air Force, Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith), his exotic dancer/live-in girlfriend Jasmine (Vivica A. Fox) and her son. Meanwhile, across town, “save the plant” guy, David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and his dad Julius (Judd Hirsch) are frantically racing to Washington D.C.. David has discovered the reason behind the sudden loss of television reception and the mysteriously embedded countdown. With the nation and world on sudden alert, Hiller’s leave is cancelled and he is called back to base. To ease Jasmine’s fears, he tells her to pack up their stuff and meet him at the base – after all aliens didn’t come all this way to cause trouble – or did they?
While the military is realizing there might be cause for alarm, there will be party-goers. A group of alien fanatics, believing the spaceships to be a sign of peace from beyond the earthly skies, are literally dancing on the rooftops. Their joyful greeting is cut tragically short when the aliens reveal that they are not here just to say hi. Large alien ships have settled over all the major cities. President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) and his trusty cabinet members, including Constance (Margaret Colin), who just happens to be David’s ex-wife, must scramble to evacuate the cities and reach safety.
The "escape from the White House" scene is probably one of the most spectacular movie scenes in a long time. Watching the presidential plane racing to escape just ahead of the flames will have you on the edge of your seat. The government escapes to top secret Area 51, where apparently the term “plausible deniability” was probably first invented.
With the help of the military and civilians, the mission is to humanity and the planet.
Great movie moments:
(Really too many to list, but to catch a couple of highlights)
All actors deliver brilliant performances, not only the actors listed above but also: Harry Connick Jr. gives an endearing, if short-lived, performance as Captain Jimmy Wilder, a close friend of Captain Hiller. Randy Quaid is hysterical as Russell Casse, an alcoholic, ex-fighter pilot, self-described as once having been kidnapped by aliens and looking for a little pay back. Movie vets Robert Loggia, James Rebhorn, Mary McDonnell, Mae Whitman, Brent Spiner and Adam Baldwin help to round out a pretty star-studded cast.
If you remember that it’s Sci-fi, the movie is pretty solid. There are very few loose ends, including the relationships between Hiller and Jasmine, David and Constance all the way down to Russell and his family.
While the T.V doesn’t do it justice, the special effects are spectacular. In fact, the movie won an Oscar for Best Effect, Visual Effects.
Not-so-great movie moments:
Once your eyes are no longer dazzled by the special effects, you begin to wonder about certain scenarios. For example, Jasmine and her son are in a tunnel when the first fire/bomb wave hits sparking a fiery trail. She jumps out of the car, grabs her son, yells for the dog and escapes into a small room to the side of the tunnel. How did the flame not enter the room?
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
PG-13 – Alien violence, references to exotic dances, things getting blown up.
2 hours 25 minutes
You can find Independence Day
I previously viewed this movie in the theaters when first released. The movie is now part of my own personal DVD arsenal.