Independence Day was a 1996 blockbusters smash hit. The movie had lots of things that audiences love – explosions, nuclear blasts, aliens, dog fights,
Jews, amazing physical sets and huge special effects. It had an all-star cast too, being one of the two big breakout feature-length movie roles for Will Smith (the other being Men in Black). It even won an Academy Award (which means nothing! It was for visual effects anyway). So why is this movie horrible? Because everything.
The movie opens on July 2nd with an alien space ship 1/4th the size of the moon heading toward earth. It simultaneously released 15 mile-wide mini-ships which position themselves over every major population-center in the world. Conveniently, the space-ships center themselves directly over major buildings or monuments in the cities, too. Even though they aren’t the best points for a radial blast.
Because this is a movie, all of the world leaders are too stupid to realize that this is a plot or plan of attack and the President, played by Bill Pullman, orders everyone to stay in their homes. In fact, the ONLY person on the planet who realizes that the aliens are attacking is a cable repairman, Jeff Goldblum. Now, Goldblum manages to make it from New York City to Washington DC, in the worst traffic EVER, in just a few hours. We also endure two-annoying Jews talking to each other in one of the most annoying scenes of the movie. He and his father, Judd Hirsch, drive underneath the center of one of the space ships with about half an hour left until the countdown is over. What is his plan here? Does he somehow know that he will be able to hitch a ride on Air Force One? Logically, he would be driving into imminent doom. I would have driven to like Utah or Idaho.
Of course, cable-man Goldblum conveniently was married to the White House press-secretary and manages to get a one-on-one meeting with the President (whom he punched once) with 28 minutes to spare. The President evacuates the White House, for some reason takes Goldblum and his old dad on Marine 1, the only chopper to safely make it out. They get on Air Force One and literally with flames touching the tail of the airplane, out run a thermonuclear laser-alien weapon blast. Yes, airplanes that are taking off are faster than shockwaves from a nuclear blast (that are fast enough to blast apart buildings).
Now, every person in New York, Los Angeles, Moscow, Baghdad (I think), and around 10 other cities have been annihilated. This would be the largest simultaneous loss of human life in history. So within seconds, people are joking, making light-hearted comments and acting as though nothing has gone wrong. Harry Connick Jr.
Will Smith’s character, who dates a stripper that we get to see at work, is the only man out of a fighter squadron that survives an ill-fated attack on the Los Angeles space ship. The spaceship crashes and Will Smith, with one punch, knocks the alien out for about 4 hours. He hits him in his alien armor too! One punch. Smith then drags the alien through the desert, encounters Randy Quaid’s absolutely pointless character, and they converge on Area 51 where Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum are. Lt. Commander Data runs Area 51 and acts like a total idiot (but not far from the rest of the characters). He gets choked by one of the aliens penis-tentacles and Pullman decides he will nuke one of the ships, not concerning himself with the shields that have thwarted their efforts up until now. A guy that looks like Ray Liotta is piloting one of the stealth bombers. The attack fails.
Next, Will Smith’s stripper fiance, Vivica A. Fox, who has coincidentally rescued the first-lady/wife of Pullman, is rescued by Will Smith, who steals a helicopter and talks a guard out of shooting him with the persuasive line, “Do you really want to shoot me?” Smith rescues her and the first-lady, just in time for the first-lady to die in the arms of the President. Yeah.
We go a while without seeing Randy Quaid, which is preferable. But then the movie gets really stupid – fast. Here’s how:
During a drunken stupor, Judd Hirsch mentions to Jeff Goldblum’s character that he’s going to “catch cold.” This gives Goldblum the epiphany that will save the world – infect the aliens with a computer virus to disable their shields!! Now, imagine how far-fetched it would be for your iPhone to get a virus from your Window’s PC. Times that by 100 on the implausibility scale and you might get close to this stupid theory. Up until now, they haven’t even been able to READ the language or system of the alien computers. It just appears like garbled static. But they think a virus made on a Mac will A) even work on an alien computer and B) be able to perform the specific task of taking the shields down while C) making a skull and bones symbol appear.
Vivica A. Fox’s whore character and Will Smiff next get married in Area 51. It is decided that the best crew to fly the alien spaceship is Will Smith and…Jeff Goldblum. No one else.
Also, Bill Pullman needs something to do so he will now pilot a fighter jet in the assault on the alien craft that decides, for some random reason, to attack Area 51. Secret Service would NEVER let this occur but they’re actually not seen throughout this whole movie.
Will Smith is miraculously able to fly the alien ship which, by luck, has joy stick flight controls. Even though jet fighters have a billion buttons in them to press, all of which are foreign to someone who speaks the language, this isn’t the case here and the pilot is able to masterfully maneuver the alien craft.
So surprise, the plan works, the big alien mothership is destroyed and the smaller ships’ weakness is discovered just-in-time to stop Area 51 from being destroyed (shoot their green shiny laser weapon as it is charging). Randy Quaid makes his last appearance by showing up to save the day – only for his missile to jam conveniently. But he flies his jet into the green-shiny laser and that does the trick (coincidentally, Quaid’s son was in the war-room of Area 51 just in time to hear his father say “Tell my children…I love them very much”).
Question – with the space-ships shields disabled, wouldn’t this nuclear blast have destroyed their ship, and Area 51, together? If the laser weapon only works on the surface, then the underground bunker would have been safe…but if it works like a normal nuke, the shock wave is spherical. This makes no sense.
A few random things that make no sense or are just annoying:
- The nuclear blast from the alien attack ship slowly blows up the ship after Randy Quaid flies into it…but the nuclear blast in the mothership instantly “Death Stars” it. That was 1/4th the size of the moon! That would be about 4 million square miles. The largest nuclear bomb in history, the Tsara Bomb, had a blast radius of…40 miles. This would not have destroyed or made a dent in the mothership.
- The little girl and Pullman are happy at the end of the movie, despite the mother/wife dying and billions of other deaths. “Happy 4th of July Daddy” would probably not be something a girl said a few hours after her mom died.
- Harry Connick Jr.
- The threat wouldn’t logically be over at the conclusion of this movie, unless we believe that the entire race of aliens were in that mothership.
Now, on that last point, get ready – because another Independence Day movie is on the way. Independence Day Forever. And another (yeah, a two-parter, one of the worst trends in Hollywood). We know that the
exciting, energetic, Bill Pullman will be reprising his role as Thomas Whitmore. But little else is known as of the time of this writing. One thing is for sure – it will be bad.
The director of this pile, and of the new ID Forever duology, is Roland Emmerich. Responsible for this masterpiece:
That, in itself, is reason enough to worry.