Posted on 7/12/13 05:25 PM
DISCLAIMER: This review is biased, as I have watched this movie since I was six.
Saying that this is Roland Emmerich's best film isn't saying much, but don't be fooled-- I FUCKING LOVE INDEPENDENCE DAY. It's a great film, and an utter classic. The alien invasion genre has been done to the death, but when you think alien attack nowadays, you think of this movie.
Say what you will about Emmerich, he knows how to create good visuals. And some of the most spectacular shots in sci-fi today are in Independence Day. I admit that I am somewhat biased on this film, as I have watched it every Fourth of July since I was a kid, but it's really terrific entertainment. Jeff Goldblum stars as a cable guy-turned-national security adviser, Bill Pullman plays the best screen President to date, and it features Will Smith as... well... Will Smith.
It's an incredibly corny film, though. Nobody in the world says shit like they do in this movie. "Put the word out to every squadron around the world... let's bring these sons of bitches down." Ugh. It sends chills up my spine, and not in a good way. Still, the writers have to be given credit for the quotability of the film-- it usually falls on one of two spectrums: Horrible dialogue and the best one-liners money can buy. Here we go:
1) "Oh no, you did NOT shoot that green shit at me?"
2) "I gave it a cold."
3) "I coulda been at a barbecue!"
4) "Welcome to Earth."
5) "Now that's what I call a close encounter."
6) "We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today, we celebrate our INDEPENDENCE DAY!"
God, I love those quotes. The President's speech at the end is fantastic. And in that way, Independence Day succeeds-- nobody talks the way they do in the movie, but maybe they SHOULD. Straightforward, inspiring, and occasionally really, really corny.
The special effects are really what made this movie popular, but I think it's more about the people and how they interact. Goldblum and Smith's dialogue always crackles with energy and wit, and they bring a considerable heft to the film that it would most certainly not have otherwise. As for the aliens, they may already be looking a little dated (I know the computers they were using do), but it doesn't take away from the film's entertainment value at all. This movie hearkens back to a simpler time. A time when destroying American monuments was cinematic genius, not terrorism. A time when summer blockbusters were fun and uplifting. A time when Will Smith still had a career (After Earth, anyone?).
Final Score for Independence Day: 7/10 stars. And again, I'm biased, as I grew up on this shit... but it's a fun, fun fucking film that only people with no hearts don't enjoy.