Independence Day (1996) -

The Conspirators

Capt. Steven Hiller: Will Smith
President Whitmore:Bill Pullman
David:Jeff Goldblum
Marilyn:Mary McDonnell
Julius:Judd Hirsch
General William Grey:Robert Loggia
Russell Casse:Randy Quaid

The Mastermind

Directed By: Roland Emmerich.
Produced By: Dean Devlin.
Written By: Emmerich and Devlin.

Running Time: 145 Minutes.
Rated PG-13 (destruction, violence, & brief strong language)

See the movie trailer


"And should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice:

"We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on!
We're going to survive! Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!"

-Pre-battle speech by President Whitmore (Pullman) to fighter pilots.

Editor's Note: Described as the "the most jaw-droppingly pompous soliloquy ever delivered in a mainstream Hollywood movie" - a BBC review. Rating: 2 UFOs

Matt DeReno Staff Writer

I have to admit that there are so many clichés stuffed into this movie I was inclined to pan it. However, it got to the point that I became impressed. It is hard to do bad this good. Still, there is no getting around it is that bad.

It is sort of like saying a six clowns stuffed in a Volkswagen Beetle is unremarkable, but 30 of them is something to behold. That is about how I can sum up my fascination with "Independence Day." It is the most well-made bad movie you 'll ever see.

What exactly do I mean by that?

Well, it's one thing to be bad, but to be spectacularly bad is a true art. This movie then is true art in the sense it is a wonder they are able to pack so much corn-ball Sci-Fi stock footage between the opening credits and the end. It is even more astounding that the actors ever seem to buy into this fare.

Here we have an alien invasion movie about a huge mother ship that rumbles past the moon and hovers somewhere outside of our atmosphere sucking in all the Direct TV satellites, thus forcing us to march like automatons to the cable companies and watch ID4 as a download.

The beginning scene is somewhat well regarded, since the spaceship cruising by the Moon is so large that it shakes away the footprints of Neil Armstrong. Clever concept. Not that I am paying attention, I didn't think sound traveled in space since it is a vacuum but alas this is a movie where the best policy is to check your reason at the front door of the saucer. After all, once they blast your mind telepathically, you won't need it anyhow.

The biggest fault of ID4 is that there really is nothing original about the story at all, save for the cool plot twist of the government admitting that Area 51 is real and that they did get their hands on an alien flying saucer in the famous 1947 Roswell, New Mexico, incident. Beyond that, ID4 is hackneyed almost to a new level.

This story was originally told by H.G. Wells in War of the Worlds. In ID4 it was given a fresh coat of paint with newer technology and more modern times. Still, Earth is invaded by aliens and the set up is hard to argue with. After all, pretty much the whole world could agree we should fight back.

These aliens want nothing more than to deplete our resources and kill us all. In fact, the only communication one has with an alien is when President Whitmore (Pullman) asks a captured alien what it is that they want us to do and the alien answers, through the voice of a strangulated scientist: "Die." In that sense, the aliens are not unlike a cosmic Al Qaeda but they didn't crash any saucers on purpose.

Luckily, our President's brain bandwidth is saved when his staff drops the alien with some lead slugs to his big Bertha oversized alien head. It was during this episode; President Whitmore glimpses their real plan, which as I said involves us all dying.

From here, President Whitmore hops into a fighter jet and joins the band for a Star Wars style X-Wing fighter raid on the Death Star.

Cut to Will Smith as a wise-cracking and effusively positive fighter pilot. Then cut to Randy Quaid as a crop-dusting drunkard. Cut to Jeff Goldblum as a brilliant scientist who lost his girl to the President's staff. Then of our national landmarks are destroyed with the alien's primary weapon, which I am here on record calling the laser crapper. The President's staff debates what "Defcon" we should be elevated to. Los Angles, New York and every great city in the world gets blown to smithereens and you have arguably the best B-movie of the B-movie genre. Heck, if it were up to me, I would suggest the academy create a category as such.

It gets better.

I didn't know whether to cheer or laugh when Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith defeated the aliens with the following plan: take the old flying saucer into the mother ship, connect to the mother ship's computer and simply upload a "computer virus" that wiped out the entire mother ship, which was a quarter the size of the moon.

Oh, and beyond the mother ship being wiped out with a lap top and an Alien LAN connection, the computer screen had a progress bar that read, no joking: "Uploading Virus." I wish my lap top had something similar about downloads. I bet the aliens wished they renewed their McAffee Anti-Virus subscription.

Should I even mention how we had to fall back to "Morse Code" to communicate to the rest of the world our plan for a counter attack? It is hard to fathom the aliens, who traveled seemingly light years to reach us, could not decipher Morse code.

The best bad part may even be a quick shot of Arabs helping Israelis refuel their planes. I nearly wept (with laughter). This could be the best worst coming together of divergent peoples since Rocky Balboa taught us we can get along with the Russians after he KO'd their man.

I can only envisage that if the alien's moon-sized mother ship was rendered useless by one "uploaded virus" then the UFOs weakness was glaringly obvious: they must have been running windows Millennium Edition.

ID4 is otherworldly dumb fun, but not much on ideas and originality. If you don't care about those things, or appreciate a good bad movie, than ID4 is for you.





















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