Usually when you’d have stars such as Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, and Vivica A. Fox in a movie, along with intense character actors like Bill Pullman, Margaret Colin, Judd Hirsch, and Brent Spiner; you’d think the movie would be an intense drama film. However, Independence Day is anything but that, as it was one of the very first truly blockbuster science-fiction films of the CGI era.
It was a movie that heavily advertised itself as a visual effects spectacle, with dogfights against alien spaceships, tons of computer screens, and a massive amount of explosions. Unfortunately though, while the Visual Effects Team was hard at work doing their job, the writing team was probably lazing around.
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The Movie Review
The film centers around the invasion of Washington, however, the threat is over the entire world. The giant flying saucer deploys 15 smaller space ships, which hover around the 15 capitals of the world. The film focuses on the United States as the spaceship looms over the city of Washington DC.
Four groups of disparate teams converge in the Nevada Desert within a facility where they plan a counter-attack on the 4th of July, Independence Day. The two main characters in the film are David Levinson and Steven Hiller, who must go above and beyond in order to ensure the survival of humanity against this extraterrestrial threat.
First things first, the film is directed quite well when it comes to the action sequences. The action is made even better due to the incredible CGI work (FOR THE TIME), which made this film a spectacle in theaters when it was first released. The best thing about the movie by far is the extensive use of powerful visual effects, the explosions feeling life-like. The production design for this film is also one of the most important aspects of it.
It has a plethora of powerful designs for the aliens, the alien space ships, and even just the computers and systems shown here that the human characters use. It’s a well-produced, well-designed film with some passionate teams working behind the scenes on the set design and the animation departments.
The story, however, is not really great. The extraterrestrials are your common “We are here to take over earth” type villains with literally no motivations. The main characters feel hollow at times, with little to no personality of their own aside from Will Smith’s Steven Hiller and Jeff Goldblum’s David Levinson.
These two characters carry the film, while the rest of the cast is just kind of there. It feels much uninspired in terms of the story too, random aliens are attacking without any motivations and the United States is ready to take them down. That’s essentially the gist of it, that’s actually entirely what it is.
Though to be fair, it’s super-funny. At times, it’s so canonically funny that you feel like it’s a parody film. The aliens are designed in a funny way, unlike in the new film Independence Day Resurgence, these aliens are honestly completely unaware of how to conquer a planet. They just blow things up and hope for the best, or they get their funny parts handed to them by two dudes who fly into their spaceship randomly. It’s an iconic film in terms of the sheer entertainment factor, but it just doesn’t make much sense.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Independence Day is a film that prides itself on its marketable personalities like Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith, while ultimately being a film that is all style and very little substance. It’s kind of like the new Ghost Busters films, where they are cashing in on popular actors but not making a great film overall. Independence Day has huge entertainment value, being an iconic film in the comedy genre along with its jaw-dropping visuals for the time. It’s ultimately an average-quality film that doesn’t do much to break through your expectations.