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Look at the size of that thing
ExpendableMan2 September 2007
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.
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A Great Blockbuster!
g-bodyl7 August 2008
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.
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Suspenseful Feel Good Fun!
BaronBl00d26 May 2001
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.
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Just a good bit of fun!!
stedmpy14 January 2010
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 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.
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Roland Emmerich makes Paul W.S. Anderson look like Andrei Tarkovsky.
Anton Murrell8 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
If Ed Wood ever had any money, Roland Emmerich would give him a run for it. This film is the ultimate summary of everything wrong with Hollywood. It's as if Roland Emmerich deliberately tries to place every single cliché he can find in his films. And as another reviewer said, he's one of the few directors in Hollywood (along with Michael Bay and Paul W.S. Anderson) who have everything they need to make a decent blockbuster. A great cast (JEFF GOLDBLUM!), decent effects, and enough money at their disposal to feed Africa for a month.

OK, now the film.... Horrible No redeeming qualities to speak of. If six-year-olds were capable of having wet dreams, this would be it. Here's the entire film: Aliens arrive, Aliens attack, Will Smith's girlfriend, child and dog escape a massive fire-blast that kills hundreds of people in a subway (but the dog made it, thank god!....seriously, that must be the most cringeworthy cliché ever committed to film) a wooden door protects them from the nuclear heat blast, Will Smith beats up an alien and drags it around the desert for a bit, (I'm not sure who was in more pain during that scene, me or the alien.) they go to Area 51 where they meet some hermit, chronic- masturbator mad scientist, some other stuff happens, then the President of the United States gets up in a jet with the all the rest of the boys to take out the alien ship threatening the American way of life. YEE HAH!

The people who have a hard-on for this movie will tell me that I took it too seriously, but it's actually impossible to take this film seriously. It's like a bad joke, so bad that it's funny how horrible it is and then you pause and think about it and all of a sudden you realise how troubling it is that something like this ever was green-lighted by a major studio. If you haven't seen it, don't. If you have seen it and were as troubled as I was, you're not alone. If you saw this film and enjoyed it you probably laugh your ass off whenever you fart in a bathtub.

I heard that Emmerich is directing an "Avatar style" adaptation of Asimov's Foundation. I was mortified.
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Fun summer blockbuster that some just took to seriously.
Aaron13757 May 2003
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.
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Rammstein-221 January 2000
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.
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The President Flies a Fighter Plane at Alien Spaceship
Walter Rodriguez23 April 2005
Warning: 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.
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The worst lump of bilge trash ever thrown at the cinema
Steeldealer28 December 2001
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS (as if I could spoil it any more...)

The brilliance of ID4? Well, I guess it is genius to a certain degree to progressively stack the crap higher and higher as the film goes on. It did take some kind of planning for a film to start off as an entertaining concept and get progressively stupider and more moronic as you go. Pathetic one-liners, terrible performances, actors clearly embarrassed to be there... When you've got Jeff Goldblum embarrassed, you've accomplished something with his career. Bill Pullman, non-actor, as President of the US, with his goofy, no eye contact, sheepish wimp performance donning a flight jacket. Randy Quaid, doing the worst "heroic" death in the history of cinema. Will Smith searching for and finding his wife, apparently the only survivor of her entire city. What a lucky coincidence! Just return that copter when you're done with it, Will. It's not like we'll need it in the midst of fighting an interstellar war.

To give you an idea what kind of slack-jawed Neanderthal moron preschool lobotomized chimps liked this movie in the theater I was in... there's a scene where a wave of fire is engulfing a tunnel filled with cars. People are dying by the thousands. There's a dog who somehow figures (ridiculously) in all of this. The dog makes it to this maintenance exit in the nick of time to be spared. The entire audience oohed and ahhed like they were watching "The Wonder Years". Who cares if throngs of people have been reduced to charcoal briquettes! Just so the cute wittle puppy dog made it!

This is one of the worst movies ever made and when you compare the stupidity proportionate to the amount of money spent, it's THE WORST movie ever...

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One of the better high-concept movies..
faraaj-111 November 2006
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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Still a great flick
Dario_Gino21 August 2008
This movie is TRULY one of the best and names itself the Science Fiction version of "Top Gun". The actors were great. Will Smith got "jiggy with it" as a hotshot F/A-18 pilot in the movie; Randy Quaid (the older brother of Dennis Quaid) proved to be the comic relief; Bill Pullman's character transformed from a President with the problem of a nation into a reborn veteran; and Jeff Goldblum became more brilliant than ever! The only difference between "Independence Day" and "Top Gun" is that the 2 adversaries were humans and aliens instead of Americans and Soviet pilots. Independence Day is really just patriotic drivel in means of plot and adventure. But the film comes into its best moments when the action sequences hit the screen. Buildings explode and men die in beautifully choreographed fashions that raise the bar for many modern action films today.
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Quite possibly the worst blockbuster since the dawn of human life
supercoool897 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is rubbish. Don't get me wrong - I am not underrating this film. It is absolute rubbish.

There is one little thing that make this worth watching (with the speakers on "mute", mind you) - the special effects. Those are good. But that's style. All major film companies can make that work. It's the content that is rubbish.

Me and my father had a good laugh watching some thirty minutes of the end and I got reminded of how horrible it was. Why would people want to watch this? Why? I seem to remember a time in the history of Hollywood when this film would have been laughed at and someone made an Apocalypse Now instead, putting things into a greater perspective.

And no. I do enjoy blockbusters just as much as the next fellow, but please... If you are to make a blockbuster - make something that does not seem like a Pentagon wish list. Do your own thinking.

And no. I do enjoy American movies. Most movies I watch are American - and most of my favourites are American (both Hollywood and Indie). I just don't like propaganda from any nation.
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Lobotomy Day
Keith-4727 October 1998
Here's the plot of this story: Aliens in (what else?) flying saucers come to earth to take no prisoners and to destroy our major cities in seconds. They succeed unhindered. Billions of people die in horrible deaths and life as we know it has ceased.

Meanwhile, in America, Will Smith cracks jokes, people get married and everybody is really happy. Even the dog didn't die!

Now, here comes three Americans to the rescue: a moronic wisecracker, a drunkard, a U.S. President who looks like a used-car salesman that just turned 30, and, of course, a brilliant scientist who nobody knows is brilliant!

In a few hours, the scientist has it all figured out: create a computer virus and put it into the mainframe in the mother ship! The Aliens use Microsoft too, after all! And we don't have to worry about security or passwords! Heck they won't even see us flying around! And even though they have psychic powers, we will be undetected! When we are done, we will just fly back to Earth. And the Aliens are so stupid that they don't use Norton's Antivirus software!

The wisecracker chips in by figuring out how to fly a 40-year old alien spacecraft that he never saw before (and which was conveniently found in - where else! - Roswell). Then the drunk and the President decide to fly around a little and destroy those big ships. The Americans have won again and tell the rest of the world how easy it really is. Just recruit the local neighborhood drunk and send him straight up into the weak spot (never mind that the ship is as long as Manhattan Island and has death rays that can obliterate an entire city in seconds). Heck, you can get rid of a few neighborhood drunks too while you're at it!

At one point in the movie I shuddered a scream! Hollywood has done it, they really have done it!! They have succeeded in lobotomizing America.

Where's Ed Wood when you need him?
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this movie started it all(unfortunately)
HansMoleman1528 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is the movie that became the template for all the incredibly stupid, formulaic summer blockbusters we've seen in the past 10 years. It's a very simple formula. Start with a big, supposedly awe inspiring special effect of some destructive force(giant radioactive lizard, resurrected Egyptian sorcerer, devastating climate change, long dormant volcano becoming active in a major metropolitan area, newly sentient combat jet wreaking havoc on home soil, etc, etc, etc) . Then show people fleeing in terror from this force. Enter some young, handsome/beautiful protagonist who, unlike the herd of fleeing people who are unceremoniously slaughtered, survives the onslaught by virtue of, I don't know, their box office drawing power. Finally we come to the inevitable "climactic" conclusion where our hero manages to overcome/defeat this force by way of a completely implausible plot contrivance(in the case of this movie, a computer virus created by an earthling on an earth computer being uploaded to and working on an alien computer system). In order to enjoy these movies you have to forget all the movies exactly like it that have come before it and disable your higher reasoning abilities. Every movie asks that you suspend your disbelief to one degree or another but they shouldn't ask that you shut down your brain as well.

I know I'm missing parts of the formula so if anybody thinks of any others feel free to share.
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Worst Movie of the Decade
writerasfilmcritic10 November 2006
Warning: 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!
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Independence Day - outstanding work of the cinematic art
tho-322 November 2006
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.
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Why is this movie so popular?
Mister132 July 2000
Warning: Spoilers
  • REVIEW CONTAINS A SPOILER - Although for years Hollywood has treated the movie going public as if they were idiots, Independence Day started the trend of believing that the movie going public goes to movies just to watch explosions.

This Movie was poorly thought out, and with such a talented cast its as shame that this movie turned out to be the gigantic pile of poop that it did.

Some of the few points that just irked me was the issue of the first lady, we find out she died in the initial alien attack. Sad huh? Well later we find out she's alive. Yipee, then later she dies. I didn't care at that point.

I consider myself a proud American but sometimes waving the banner is just tacky. During the final showdown the rest of the countries on the planet Earth were waiting for the Americans to start attacking the aliens before they moved? Even going so far to illustrate the point by having a Foriegn commander literally sitting on his rump and jumping up to scramble for an attack once the US says its a go. What kind of self serving patriotism crap is that?

Although there were some Highlights such as Brent Spiner's quirky scientist, Randy Quaid's Cousin Eddie in a plane (oops didnt mean to point that out),and the excellent work that the talented ensemble cast did (in vain) to save this movie.

I'm thoroughly surprised that this movie stuck to the film, and For my money, I would just as soon watch an apple brown.
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Incredible visuals, brilliant action - Independence Day delivers!
general-melchett22 October 2007
Independence Day is really just patriotic drivel in means of plot and adventure. But the film comes into its best moments when the action sequences hit the screen. Buildings explode and men die in beautifully choreographed fashions that raise the bar for many modern action films today.

The film is predictable, and none of the characters are particularly memorable - you aren't really bothered whether they live or die. The plot is so much like War of the Worlds, with more sky battles and aliens, that you may feel that it is just another remake under the same title.

But Roland Emmerich (the director) deserves to be called the undisputed king of action movies - he beautifully directs his films, and the special effects and sound in his films are truly stunning. This was his biggest success, and deservedly so - though The Day after Tomorrow was just as spiffing.

The script ain't strong and the plot ain't great, but this is an action-epic film, and on that scale, Independence Day delivers. It is an extremely memorable experience, and beats action flicks that are being made ten years on. A stunning job that deserves to be called a huge success (in the box office, of course). Great! 8/10
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You can love to hate it
rainbowkeeper24 March 2008
There comes a paradox with movies as bad as these. They're like a bad car accident, you wince at seeing the carnage and realize the tragedy of the situation, but you just have to take in the entirety of it. You are compelled to observe, it proves too difficult to look away. This movie is awful, there is no getting around it. At the same time, I sat through the entire movie, transfixed in horror at how terrible it was. Worse, years later, I was compelled to watch it again, knowing precisely how awful it was the first time around. It didn't get better with the second viewing. The only thing artful about this movie is how they managed to appeal to the primitive portion of our brains that revels in inane stupidity. The sad thing is, I somehow doubt this was their intent. Awful, awful, awful. How awful? You have to see it, really. Which is the paradox. I highly recommend this movie, because you have to see how awful it is. So awful, you'll want to watch it again.
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Great effects, awful plot, legendary unrealism.
kryp25 October 1998
Warning: Spoilers
One of the best movie beginnings I have seen, but the gloomy atmosphere is ignored by the script writers, the population of USA goes on with their daily lives minutes after the aliens landed, until the aliens start nuking. The unrealistic plot and technical faults will be remembered and seen as a joke for decades to come. A C++ Mac program uploaded to the alien mothership makes it self-destruct? The President and a drunk flying side by side to hit the Weak Spot (tm) of the giant saucer. Come on, why didn't they hire a 7 year old video game freak kid as a technical consultant instead, to get a better believability?
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What's not to like???
Chimera-520 February 2000
Remember the posters 6 months before the release? Remember the previews during the Super Bowl? Remember how long you waited in line and how packed the theater was opening day? Remember the audience "ooohing", "aaahing", screaming, and cheering? Remember the exhiliration and astoundment you felt as it ended? I sure do. And it was one of the best times I've ever had for a night out on the town. And it didn't cost 0 or involve getting drunk. That says alot. This came out the summer I had graduated high school. It was the second biggest highlight of 1996 for me. Oh, if this young heart could talk...

Rating: A monumental, romanticizing 10 out of 10.
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Good old-fashioned save the world movie!
ursjon26 May 1999
I loved this film, and I am tired of everyone else ragging on it. This film is what summer is all about, having fun. This picture was entertaining, enjoyable, and fun! It was also wonderful to see individuals of different races working together, a rarity in the film world, but one that Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin are fond of emphasizing in their various works. Perhaps other filmmakers should learn a thing or two from them.
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great fun if minus realism
Leonidos10 December 2000
Warning: Spoilers
This was one of my favorite movies of the year. It had lots of great effects and the action sequences are great. Will Smith was his usual self funny and entertaining. While the realism may be a little hard to take, (spoilers) laptops compatible with alien technology a virus drummed up in a couple days that can disable the ships etc. It wasn't really meant to be taken as an extremely scientifically accurate movie. Just a fun alien invasion movie where humanity has to come together and fight off the aggressors, a little over-used subject maybe but what isn't these days? At any rate this rehash was pulled off very well. One thing I would like to say though is to all those posting complaints about the Americans always find the answer. This is a movie about Americans made for Americans so why would they go all that way and then have say, to pull a country out of the hat, the British win it for them? (no slight to the British intended at all in that) That would be stupid! I'm not an expert on foreign films but I doubt there are a lot of British films that show German's winning it or French films that have Spaniards winning so I think these "America always seems to do it" arguments are rather unfair, especially for a film such as this one which is a work of total fiction.

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the war room!"
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Steaming pile of red, white, and blue crap
Halo70719 March 2001
Somehow, I was hoodwinked into watching this movie. It immediately became apparent that what I was watching was merely one of a host of other jingoistic "God Bless America!" films. I particularly enjoyed that bit where the British soldiers were sitting around, apparently twiddling their thumbs, until, lo and behold, here comes salvation draped in the Star Spangled Banner with a matching "Independence Day" cup from McDonald's. Apart from its thinly veiled pseudo-patriotism, this film had many other annoyances, not least of which was the miraculous compatibility between a Macintosh and an alien computer from 90 light-years away. Eye candy at best, though wholly nauseating if your cynicism level is above 5mg/l.
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