Independence Day (1996)

independence day poster 1996 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 9/10

Some nice visuals

Horrible plot and script, overacting on almost all parts

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Independence Day

Studio:   Centropolis Entertainment

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure/War

Release Date(s):  July 2, 1996

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


White House Down!!!

Something has come from deep space to Earth.  An alien race has surrounded the planet and now is threatening to turn the world into their own source of supplies.  Now, it is up to a team of survivors to come together and stop the alien invasion.  Led by President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman), a satellite technician named David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), his former wife the White House Communications Director Constance Spano (Margaret Colin), a fighter pilot named Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith), and a drunken cropduster named Russell Casse (Randy Quaid ), the fight for the world is just beginning and a new Independence Day could arise.


Fortunately, fire can’t enter doorways and the dog, the stripper, and the kid didn’t cook like a baked potato

Directed by Roland Emmerich, Independence Day was often called ID4 due to some copywriting fears leading up to the release.  The movie was a giant blockbuster and helped shoot Will Smith to a summer blockbuster star.  The film won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and was nominated for Best Sound Mixing (losing to The English Patient).  The film also was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Film Grossing Over $100 Million.

I have to say I’m not a huge fan of this movie.  The plus side of it, for a long movie (over two and a half hours), it does go rather fast.  The movie has a lot of action, but most of that action is overwritten by possibly one of the cheesiest scripts I’ve seen for a major mainstream movie.


I just wanna be friends…

The movie’s story is almost typical ’50s sci-fi.  A rag-tag group of characters including a stripper, a drunk, and a bad stereotypical old New York Jewish guy help to save the world.  The problem is that while a movie like Mars Attacks! plays this storyline for jokes, you are supposed to take it seriously when it plays out here.  I know in action films you must suspend some belief, but it is about ninety percent of the movie here.  Be it the heavy handed speech by the President (who actually flies into battle) or the conclusion where a single missile destroys a ship fifteen miles wide, this movie has problems.


No way a ship could destroy the World Trade Center! (1997 mentality)

Just ignore how everyone keeps running into each other in a country of millions and millions of people (I like that the First Lady played by Mary McDonnell is brought to Area 51 just in time to have a last moment and die), and consider some of the basic premises of this movie.  The aliens have the power to blow up areas around the world, but they don’t have Norton’s Anti-Virus or notice that a ship that has been missing for over fifty years has returned to them?  The people of Area 51 kept making a big deal about the one ship, why didn’t they get the ship that crashed with Will Smith and study it (it would have been more modern).  I’m also guessing the ships being brought down around the world (while the U.S. struggled with one, African nations did it with no problem), would pose some environmental problems and screw up the Earth anyway.  I think my favorite part is when Vivica A. Fox and her child just avoid the rolling, scorching fire by stepping into a closet with their dog.


I vow to enter the battle myself…because it makes complete sense…

Along with the poor script full of loopholes, there is some horrible over acting.  Everyone is a cliche from the brave president to even minor supporting characters like the war monger Albert Nimzicki (James Rebhorn) and the over-the-top gay cable boss Marty Gilbert (Harvey Fierstein).  Every time anyone speaks, sweeping music is cued, just to make it worse.

The effects are good and have held up well.  I don’t really like the alien design which just looks like an even more generic Aliens alien with some tubes popping out of it, but I do like the arrival of the ships and the destruction wave (even if you can avoid it pretty easily).  Some of the firefights are also pretty impressive.

Independence Day (or Independence Day 4 as ID4 implies) is one of those movies loved by a lot but hated by me.  The reason isn’t that it is the worst movie ever made, but it is so cliche, average, and mainstream drivel that is rewarded for is blase approach with huge box office returns.  ID4 isn’t a one star movie in my book, but I’d rather watch a one star movie than Independence DayIndependence Day was followed by Independence Day:  Resurgence in 2016.

Related Links:

Independence Day:  Resurgence (2016)


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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