all the hype, it's finally here! And the hype paid off well: it's been a while
since a movie came along that everybody has seen. Science fiction has been good
to 20th Century Fox. Remember the Star Wars movies and the Alien movies? I'm actually
surprised that Fox doesn't make more of them...
So did Independence Day live up to its hype? Well, that depends
on what you were expecting. If you were expecting the kind of film that is meant
to be enjoyed with a large popcorn in one hand and an even larger Coke in the
other while putting the brain in neutral, then you no doubt wouldn't be disappointed.
There's certainly enough fast-paced action, laughs, special effects, stereotype
characters, clichés and a loud enough soundtrack.
you were expecting something more... Then well, you're most likely to be disappointed.
Having seen Stargate (1994) recently for the second time (don't ask why!)
it's easy to see that it's made by the same director, namely Roland Emmerich.
Independence Day (like Stargate (1994)) is a pastiche of several
movies and ideas. Really, for such a high-tech special effects movie, this is
really an old-fashioned affair: it's V meets The War of the Worlds (1953).
It also borrows liberally from every disaster movie imaginable. It is, after all,
a sci-fi plot line that's almost as old as the genre itself - the earth getting
invaded by aliens. There's hardly an original bone in this movie's body - even
down to the Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)-like attack-on-the-Death Star finale. Still,
audiences flocked to see this one.
the attraction (as many commentators have never tired of pointing out) lies in
having adversaries that's truly evil (especially in the shortage of bad guys that
followed the end of the Cold War) and audiences like things in black and white,
but that's probably not it. Independence Day is fun. Like most summer
holiday hits pointing out plot holes (why doesn't the aliens simply nuke earth
from outer space? Surely if they have the technology to have traveled trillions
of light years to get here that would be no problem?) is pointless. Switch your
brain down and enjoy it. (And take along a barf bag for those excruciating American
leaving the theater I couldn't help wondering whether that big budget couldn't
have been plowed into a more worthy project and suddenly I felt like rereading
Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End - that sci-fi classic that gave
a totally different twist to giant UFOs hovering over the earth. And that was
written in the 1950s!
Review by James O'Ehley from The
Sci-Fi Movie Page.