Red, white and blue flags are flying, barbecued burgers are grilling and fireworks are being prepped. All of that means that today is the Fourth of July, aka Independence Day. Although the festivities are fun, it is an important holiday for America because it celebrates something serious, the birth of our country. Movie fans have multiple options to put them in the holiday mood; among them is “Independence Day,” from 1996.
“Independence Day” tells a story similar to H.G. Wells’ classic “War of the Worlds.” In this more contemporary science fiction disaster film, alien ships begin coming to earth with the intent of destroying the planet. By following the lives of several different characters, the movie makers tell the story of how humans cope with the frontal assault. One is the slightly nerdy David Levinson (played by Jeff Goldblum), an MIT graduate who works for a cable company. He spends his spare time playing chess with his father, Julius (played by Judd Hirsch). David also has an ex-wife who works for the president (played by Bill Pullman), himself a former fighter pilot. Another character is the cocky Steven Hiller (played by Will Smith), also a pilot in the military who is engaged to exotic dancer and single mother Jasmine (played by Vivica A. Fox). When the aliens first attack, these characters are among the few survivors. They combine their intellectual and military resources, eventually determining a way to combat the all powerful aliens.
“Independence Day” is not a perfect film. The screenplay is dependent upon far too many coincidences. Characters often just happen to be in the right place at the right time. And the characters have very little nuance, they are all stock “types.”
Despite this, the movie is still worth seeing as it has excellent action scenes, such as when the aliens first attack. In this scene, the White House is one of many buildings that get destroyed.
“Independence Day” is a solid action film for the Fourth of July.