Independence Day - * * *

Independence Day is a slightly derivative, but thoroughly crowd-pleasing alien invasion film. When the aliens arrive in their giant flying saucers, Independence Day introduces its diverse cast in typical disaster flick fashion. They come from every walk of life, from nearly every statistical background. The major three are the President of the United States (Bill Pullman), an astronaut-wanna-be fighter pilot (Will Smith), and the cable repairman genius who cracks the aliens’ code and discovers their insidious plan to attack (Jeff Goldblum). Unfortunately, the world doesn’t get the message until too late, and in several spectacular demolition scenes, the world’s major cities are destroyed. But most of the major characters survive, and before long, it is time for Earth to strike back… Independence Day’s major flaw is in its heavy borrowing from other films (Alien, Star Wars, and Jurassic Park being three of the most obvious). A little homage is okay, but Independence Day seems to go to the well a bit too often. That complaint aside, this film is a blast to watch. From the ominous shadows to the awe-inspiring explosions and the tremendous battle scenes, the viewer is treated to one great piece of eye candy after another. The film is manipulative as all heck (they even resurrect a supposedly dead secondary character just to be killed off again in a touching deathbead scene), but it works. By the time the finale rolls around, you won’t even mind the couple necessary leaps of logic. Independence Day is a spectacular fireworks display begging to be viewed on the big screen.

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