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Independence Day

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Independence Day

Starring: Will Smith, Bill Pullman
Director: Roland Emmerich
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 142 Minutes
Release Date: July 1996
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Margaret Colin, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia, Harvey Fierstein, Adam Baldwin, Brent Spiner

Review by Brian Koller
1½ stars out of 4

ID4 was an huge escapist summer hit. The audience came to see the White House blown up, and to see writhing aliens get theirs. If special effects are all you care about, by all means check out this otherwise dumb-dumb movie.

Aliens place enormous spaceships over Earth's biggest cities, and just leave them there, apparently for sustaining dramatic tension.

Bill Pullman is the U.S. President. Will Smith is a jetfighter pilot. Randy Quaid is a confused cropduster who claims to have once been kidnapped by aliens. His kids are amazingly good looking. Jeff Goldblum is a goofy nerd, Judd Hirsch his goofy dad.

Goldblum, who just happens to be the only techno-wizard smart enough to figure out when the Aliens will launch their attack, just happens to have an ex-wife who is the President's Chief of Staff, who just happens to be a young and gorgeous woman.

One of Goldblum's co-workers is fluttery and cowardly and has a raspy voice. He wins the 1996 non-Academy Award for most annoying supporting actor.

Finally, the long-promoted event arrives. Aliens blow up the White House, the Capital, make thousands of cars fly in the air, killing the raspy voiced guy (no loss). However, Will Smith's perfect "10" stripper girlfriend is about the city's only survivor, the only one smart enough to flee her car and hide in an office located in a subway tunnel. Afterwards, she leads a relief effort and finds and comforts the injured first lady, whom the President apparently couldn't find room for in Air Force 1.

Will Smith and his squadron attack an enemy spaceship. All the jets are destroyed except Smith's. We get to see lots of planes blow up. Smith's plane runs out of gas (wouldn't he have refueled before he left?) but he parachutes to safety. After some trash talk, he takes an alien hostage. He soon encounters Randy Quaid, who gives Smith and alien a ride.

Pullman learns that aliens did crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1949. He visits the top secret laboratory there, meeting goofy mad scientist Brent Spiner. Smith and alien also show up, and meet the President. Spiner operates on the alien, which springs back to life (the operation is a success) and attacks Spiner. Pullman has a conversation with the alien. When the icky alien isn't polite, it is shot.

Smith commandeers a helicopter (apparently he can fly anything) and thru ESP finds his girlfriend and the first lady, who lives just long enough for a tender bedside moment with Pullman.

Clever Goldblum somehow creates a computer virus that can take down the alien shields, allowing counterstrikes. Ever-handy Smith learns to fly the alien spacecraft from the Roswell crash, and docks with the mothership to allow passenger Goldblum to execute the virus. Alien vessels attack the base and the jets, destroying all but the supporting cast. Drunken oaf Quaid volunteers for a strike force and blows up the mothership. Pullman also flies a jet to fight the aliens. Even more amazing, Smith and Goldblum escape the aliens alive.

Copyright 1996 Brian Koller

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