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I am just shocked at all the negative reviews by pseudo-intellectuals saying the film was heavily flawed, incomprehensible, devoid of any merit, and "lame", to quote a few. What were they expecting? A remake of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Sure, I am not going to pretend the film does not has many glaring weaknesses. The plot is hardly original; its execution is even less inspiring. Roland Emmerich goes out of his way to use every cliche in the book, over-sentimentality, weak, flat characterizations, incredible jumps in logic and reasoning made on the viewer, and the use of special effects to overcome these shortcomings. But what some of the reviewers seemed to have missed, and its there as substantiated by the huge popularity of the film, is heart. The film has a lot of heart. It makes you feel good after watching it. And although that quality does not make it a great film, it certainly makes it a good film in my book. The film is vastly entertaining, very suspenseful, a delight for the eyes with dazzling special effects, and even has some dialogue that does just rise above its hackneyed origins. The acting is adequate all around with no one pulling off a great performance, but a few doing marvelous jobs with what they have to work with. Judd Hirsch easily out acts his fellow colleagues as a Jewish father with a gift for common sense and lack of tact. Jeff Goldblum also gives a pretty good performance as his son. Yeah, Will Smith is just Will Smith..lots of one liners and little meat so to speak. But he is bearable. Watch for Brent Spiner in an outrageous role as a hippie scientist. His performance is a real hoot! If you are looking for philosophical science fiction, this is not it. See Starship Troopers(a great film). This is just good old Americans against the universe stuff, lots of action but little substance. But whatever it may have as its faults, it is a fun, happy, sad, charming, engrossing film to watch...time and time again.
Independence Day is the sort of film that's best appreciated on a big
screen, preferably a massive great plasma television that is so huge
you had to cut the roof off your house and get airlifted in by
helicopters just to get it in the living room. You should also have the
most state of the art surround sound possible, with bass pickups so
deep they cause earthquakes on the Eastern seaboard. Not because Dean
Devlin and Roland Emmerich's alien invasion flick is a masterpiece of
cinematic art or anything, but because it's loud. Very loud. And if the
windows in your house don't shatter when the spaceship flies over New
York then well, you're just not experiencing it properly.
Taking the 1950's invasion narratives and pro-tooling them for 90's audiences, Independence Day is an absolute blast of visual flare and gung ho heroism. The plot is so straightforward as to be superfluous (aliens invade, fights ensue) but even so, it remains an invigorating watch purely because of the spectacle it provides. Back in 1996, the sight of that giant blue laser tearing apart lower Manhattan made jaws drop and while it's unlikely to do the same to today's overstimulated audiences, it's still an incredible visual feast. What's more, the ensemble cast makes it surprisingly unpredictable - we all know that the aliens will be defeated at the end, but what isn't so obvious is which characters are going to be alive to see it. Except for the kid and the dog. They're relatively safe bets.
Watching it now though, it does possess a cheerful naivety in the face of world politics. After all, this was 1996, the Cold War was over and 9/11 a long way off, so the entire world uniting against a common foe without being bogged down with petty arguments and personal agendas still seemed believable. Hell, even the gun-toting Arabs that briefly appear on screen are more than happy to rally behind Uncle Sam in the name of freedom. That's right folks, it's an Americans Save The World movie, complete with a snapshot of British officers drinking tea in the desert and waiting for those silly yanks to get a bally move on and show us what to do.
Needless to say, this is blockbuster entertainment through and through. The aliens are apparently here to strip mine the planet of all her natural resources, but they're quite happy to put that off for a bit in order to blow things up for the entire running time. Fans of in-depth characterisation, intelligent story telling and emotional engagement with the protagonists are wasting their time, but if you want to watch tourist attractions, jet planes and space craft exploding for three hours, you can't really go wrong. That business about a computer virus bringing down the mother-ship is a bit daft though, not once did they try switching everything on and off again.
Never mind the stereotypical characters. Never mind the non-existant logic.
Never mind that the dialogue is inane and bordering on idiotic. THIS IS
GREAT ACTION! And there's no point in denying it.
First of all: I love to watch destruction. Preferably in larger scales. You get fed an enormous amount of it here. Second: I love alien starships the size of New York. And you sure get that too. And third: I love dogfights. You get that too. Forth: I don't take it seriously.
This films is one of the best of the decade, not simply because it works so well in an all-over scheme, but it provides some kicks that no other film had up to then (1996). Aliens arrive in gigantic spaceships and blow up a bunch of major cities. That's all I need.
How to grapple with the fact that logic takes a backseat - please spare me. There are worse films than this one.
I enjoyed this movie, sure it isn't the most original movie ever made or the best, but it was what it set out to be...which is a combo alien attack movie of the 50's plus an all-star disaster movie of the 70's. A lot of critics don't like this one and a lot of people who think of themselves as critics don't care much for it either, but it still brought in over 300 million at the box office in the summer of 96. I thought it was an entertaining film with lots of action and a good dose of comedy as well. One complaint I have is that it runs a bit long and you feel the time pass not like other movies like "The Two Towers" where it doesn't feel like all that much time has passed. Another problem with this movie is that it is best seen in the theater. This movie has a score of only six at imdb, so a lot of people who saw it probably saw it on TV. Or if they did see it at the theaters, realized it just wasn't as good on the small screen when they saw it on TV. The movie also benefited from a great ad campaign that started with a super bowl spot that showed the White House being destroyed. The movie is basically an alien invasion movie and it is like a 50's science fiction movie. It also has a lot of stars, not the biggest names, just like a 70's disaster flick. If you don't care for either of these genres you probably won't like this movie, but if you like one or the other or both it is worth checking out. Just don't take it too seriously and have fun watching it.
What's the fuss about this movie? Why does everyone think so poorly of this? Well, in my opinion they compare this film to the Best Picture movies. This is not a Best Picture film, but a very entertaining popcorn film. This tells the tale of aliens attacking Earth and a group of survivors must unite together to destroy the invading aliens. The acting is decent. Will Smith, with a movie career underway, is excellent. Bill Pullman is great as the President. The effects were amazing especially when the buildings were blown up. David Arnold's music score is just fantastic. The theme is still stuck in my head. Overall, this is an excellent film. I rate this film a 10/10.
Personally I think this is the best movie of the 90's.
But then I think South Park is the best TV show of the 20th century. Followed by Twilight Zone and Star Trek tying for second and third place.
While there's no accounting for taste in art, I can make reasoned arguments for my choices.
The people here on IMDb who hate this movie and provide negative comments probably have their reasons too, but mostly they say stupid things. For example, the one vituperous reviewer who lambasted the film's "less-than-impressive CGI effects". Well, duh, they didn't use very much CGI as far as I know. They did special effects the old-fashioned way. This schmuck is complaining about reality not being very realistic?
And if box office is any indication of excellence, then the stats are on my side and prove the nay-sayers are tasteless boobs. Make that witless, tasteless boobs. Independence Day is one of the highest grossing movies in history, worldwide sales topping a billion.
Admittedly ID4 is one of those semi-rare movies that people either love or hate. And in this case hate with a passion. Why? I'm still trying to figure that one out, but so far I believe the whiniest critics are just your stereotypical jaded art critics: self-centered pseudo-intellectuals with attitude who pounce on any flaws in anything they personally don't like just to show off their own vapid superiority. What do they want? Yes, the movie has flaws, but it also has a lot of plot, a lot of heart, and a lot of action. Dialog? I make fun of the dialog myself... so what? The worst criticism I can lay against the writers is that a lot of the dialog is inane... just like real people talk! That just makes it more realistic. Have any of these critics on here ever listened to how real people talk? In some cases the dialog is sooo frigging inane in ID4 that I marvel at it's brilliance. Or chutzpah.
"What happened, mommy?"
"I don't know, baby"
As for the Apple-alien hook-up... my god, have we become so inured to the miracles of science that we calmly overlook or accept miracles like anti-gravity and kvetch instead about mundane technicalities? Yes, the Apple-alien computer hook-up is a plot hole... so what? I can easily explain that away a billion times easier than I can explain anti-gravity. I happen to know a bit about both.
Again. Are there stupid things that happen in ID4? Sure. Checked reality lately? Stupid things happen all the time. But so do heroic things. As well as evil. Typical fare for the ancient tragedies. I believe ID4 carries on that ancient and honorable tradition: entertainment. And viewing it as a work of art, I must say that I was impressed over and over again while watching this film: where most of the studios would have wussed out or flinched, these film makers didn't. They stepped up to the plate and tried to beat the ball to death over and over again with their bat.
And you know what? These film makers did it with a hint of humor. Not bad at all.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If this alternate title had been chosen, I would've avoided the loss of
two hours of my life and had an extra $9 in my pocket. If you set aside
the fact that the aliens in this movie use Macintosh-based computer
systems, the Prez hops into a fighter jet AS THE PILOT, and Will Smith
punches an alien unconscious in his downed spaceship...this movie is
still horrible. Aliens come to earth to sap it of it's resources,a nd
to accomplish this, of course, the aliens have to destroy earth's
inhabitants. The enormous spaceships gather above major cities around
the globe and WAIT THERE DOING NOTHING FOR DAYS. Then, they start to
blow up stuff we recognize (not military targets, just useless tourist
attractions that will make us sad). Does blowing up hte White House
really accomplish anything? Does it terrify Earth's inabitants? the
giant spaceships do that just fine. How about attacking military
installations capable of fighting back? They can't be stopped...or can
they? What's next?...Not Six Flags over Nebraska!?!?!?!
The solution to Earth's dilemma lies in the Apple Corporation's operating system for home-based computing. Simply walk into an Apple store, grab a Powerbook, fly into the enemy spaceship (how, you ask?....naturally by piloting one of their spacecraft 200 years ahead of earth technology on your first try), mess with their hard drives using an earth laptop computer (I'm not kidding), and wham-o!!!...Aliens start dropping like flies! Not an ounce of creativity, or originality, or brain-power was used in writing this drivel. I enjoyed all the stereo-typical characters brought together to fight...the drunken former pilot, the hotshot young stud pilot, the computer geek, the kid, and the most powerful man we gots...the PRESIDENT OF THE US... YEAH BABY!!!It plays like a 10 year-old's idea of "a really cool thing that happened once." Horrible. Don't see it.
I don't usually comment on this, I don't like to portray a movie as
being good or bad just on my opinion, as everyone has their own tastes
and needs when it comes to cinema. But god damn, why do so many people
hate this film.
Firstly, this is not a serious film, it has never happened nor will it ever. This film is just damn good fun to watch...the explosions, the suspense, the cheesy one-liners...its not trying to tell you that aliens are coming to blow the s**t of of us...its entertainment. To all the people here that have said this is the worst movie ever...you guys need need to watch more movies, because if this is the worst movie ever then im Santa clause! To put it simply, this is 2 and a half hours of fun filled, edge of the seat (occasionally have a laugh) action...and nothing else.
Why cant people just enjoy a independence day for what it is (as mentioned above)...not why its improbable etc etc etc we all know that duh! This film is entertaining, full stop!! and thats all its supposed to be.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sometimes you wonder just how bad a movie can be. Don't wonder any
longer. Just rent this colossal piece of manure and strap yourself in
for perhaps the worst movie viewing experience you have ever tolerated.
This overlong, overblown, ridiculous cartoon has one redeeming quality
and that is the buildings being blown up once the aliens FINALLY launch
their attack on the world. Prior to that, and trust me, it takes
awhile, you must tolerate scene after scene of reaction shots to the
approaching alien craft. The cast aren't really looking at anything
because the computer animation hasn't been added yet. Ho-hum. Between
these scenes and for a long time afterward, the people featured in this
story have a peculiar tendency to go on with their lives as if there is
no particular hurry trying to deal with everything suddenly turned
upside down. There's all the time in the world to say goodbye, eat a
bag of chips, drive to work, go on a short vacation, or do whatever
else you want. That's when you realize just how boring and absurd this
thing is going to be. We must admit those effects are pretty good, the
giant explosions and the flying cars and trucks squashing the running
crowds as they attempt escape. I'll give this horrendous pile a "1"
just for that. Soon enough, though, we're right back to the sappy,
dreary, meaningless dialog. You can almost imagine one of the actors on
the set acting confused and asking,
"Wait a minute. What's my motivation here?" The cast and crew crack up, knowing just how silly his remark is, but the actors actually must pretend this farce is poignant. For example, there's Will Smith trying to tell his girlfriend he loves her while choking back the emotion, or was it the other way around? I don't quite remember but who gives a rat's. Then Will's dragging an alien across the salt flat and hamming it up. It's painful to watch. Then there's Jeff Goldbum and his dad (Judd Hirsch), who play chess in the park as a regular thing. Jeff is well-educated but lacking in ambition, so he's a cable guy. His appraising gaze is often fraught with smouldering sensitivity, belying the supposed depth of his character.
Go grab a snack or take a pee and don't bother with the pause. You won't miss anything worth seeing, except perhaps a rather silly excursion into the character of the "president," who is seen at the helm in the midst of this crisis. Gee, he looks kind of young to be president. As the aliens wipe out most of the world, he seems paralyzed with indecision, but never fear. Finally, realizing the invaders are beyond redemption and the human race is about to be annihalated, he gives the order to "nuke 'em!"
Wait a sec, we almost forgot. it doesn't matter what you hit 'em with because nothing will penetrate their shields. Sounds familiar. The prez gives a stirring speech and hops into an Air Force fighter jet. He wants a piece of them, himself. Whaddya mean that doesn't quite add up? Pretend you're six years old.
Goldblum and Smith fly into space (never mind how) to rendevouz with the mother ship and download a virus into it's computer banks, using Jeff's trusty notebook computer. This, he thinks, will screw up the alien "signal," our only chance to save mankind. Once this brilliant maneuver is executed, it will take down the shields from all the giant craft and we will be able to shoot them down, at least for a few precious minutes. The armed forces of other countries have been contacted by Morse Code and are ready to act in concert.
The ridiculous virus strategy worked, of course, and Jeff and Will are heroes. So is the president, and so is the drunken crop duster pilot who makes the ultimate sacrifice. Too bad the First Lady took some shrapnel in the ass early in the flick and went down to defeat. Anyway, that's a wrap, people. Let's sling this piece of cheap dogfood into the can and go home. There's gonna be a cast party over at Will's house and attendance is mandatory. Do I make myself clear? Do you wanna get paid? Be there!
As a rule, I don't like high-concept movies. However, Independence Day
is one of the few with some merits. It is also the best film to-date by
German sci-fi/action director Roland Emmerich. The greatest flaw of
Indepence Day (aka ID4 due to initial copyright problems with the
Independence Day title) is the excessive jingoism. Completely America
centric, it seems that the rest of human civilization is helpless
without the Yanks. The American President is not just the only world
leader fighting for a free world, he even moonlights as a fighter pilot
attacking the aliens.
However, its still a damn entertaining film. There is a large ensemble cast of good actors, some in career best roles. Will Smith was really launched as a movie star by this film and he has some very funny lines. Jeff Goldblum actually looks nerdy-cool as a scientist who likes to play chess in the park. And Bill Pullman is the clean-cut American President who proclaims that July 4 will no longer be an American holiday, but a world holiday! The rest of the ensemble cast includes small but meaty roles for Judd Hirsch, Randy Quaid and Vivica Fox. Harry Connick Jr. has a small part but blows it completely.
The things that make ID4 watching is that something is always going on. There are plenty of one-liners and the one-dimensional character all have their peculiar personality traits and quirks. The action scenes are impressive and in fact this film has the largest number of miniatures ever built. That record will probably never be broken because digital technology is limiting the use of miniatures. If you can let your hair loose and just want to enjoy a light movie without letting the America is Great propaganda get to you, ID4 is for you.
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