top of page

Independence Day - Short Review (Spoiler Free)

To my American readers, I wish you a happy fourth of July. To celebrate this holiday I am reviewing today one of my favourite movies from the 90s: Independence Day!
Independence Day Banner

Genre: Action / Sci-Fi

Director: Roland Emmerich

Cast: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Mary McDonnell, Vivica A. Fox, Judd Hirsch, Margaret Colin, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia, James Rebhorn, Lisa Jakub, Ross Bagley, Mae Whitman, James Duval, Harvey Fierstein, Adam Baldwin & Brent Spiner.

Run Time: 145 min.

US Release: 03 July 1996

UK Release: 09 August 1996

German Release: 19 September 1996

Dedication: I want to use this occasion and dedicate this review to a good friend of mine, who is celebrating his birthday today. Happy birthday Petsi, I do wish you all the best!

This movie was the epitome of coolness back in my childhood! I mean where else do you get Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith walking side by side in a desert, dressed in fighter pilot uniforms, smoking cigars with an alien spaceship in the background? You don’t get that in any other film!

Independence Day borrows a lot of its aspects from Star Wars, which definitely helped selling it but it is more than just that. This is the film that started the whole entertaining summer blockbuster trend that includes: explosions, a near apocalyptic event and a lot of cheese. Compared to its successors though, it does understand what type of movie it is and never takes itself too serious. That is what makes this sci-fi action blockbuster so great!

Released on the 25th of June 1996 in the US, Independence Day is directed by Roland Emmerich, who produced Stargate before filming this. Starring in it are Jeff Goldblum, Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Randy Quaid, Vivica J. Fox, Mary McDonald and Brent Spiner as Dr. Brakish Okun. The plot revolves around an alien invasion that commences on the 2nd of July and follows the story of four different groups of people that are trying to survive. These four tales all come together by the last act of the film, as humankind is planning a counter attack to defeat the invaders from outer space.

Like I said before, this is one of my favourite popcorn blockbusters of the 90’s! That is due to the reason that this film doesn’t try to come over as a serious disaster movie, but instead goes for what it is, a cheesy and funny action flick. It also has it’s moments of jump scares and dramatic events, but that did not really detract from the main genre. The scenes with the fighter jets flying towards the flying saucers, reminds me so much of the last act from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, where the rebel X-Wing pilots fly towards the Death Star to blow it up. Of course it also has it’s fair share of over-the0top and unrealistic scenes, such as the dog escaping from a wave of flames in the nick of time but I am able to forgive the inclusion of scenes like that, due to the high entertainment factor.

Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith are amazing in this movie. Two characters that couldn’t be more different and yet they have such an amazing chemistry as their characters need to work together to defeat the alien mother ship. Smith plays US Air Force Captain Steven Hiller, a hard-boiled bad-ass who just wants to bomb the extraterrestrials out of existence. Goldblum on the other hand is the smart, cheek and tongue, computer hacker genius David Levinson. Now, I am a great fan of Jeff Goldblum and that is partially due to this film. The guy managed to make shabby hair and glasses look cool, and his typical mannerisms are simply fantastic and entertaining to watch; he was a brilliant casting choice! Bill Pullman portrays the President of the Unites States in this movie and he does it pretty good.

Effect-wise, Independence Day has been a revelation for it’s time but it does look a little bit dated by today’s standards. Still, what I really appreciate about this flick is the great blend between computer generated images and practical effects which makes the action scenes look much better. Especially the depiction of the destruction of major American cities looks amazing.


Verdict: Independence Day was, and still is, a great and very entertaining blockbuster. It is not a movie to take serious and it absolutely knows that, therefore making it such an appealing film. It does have it’s over the top and clichéd moments but it handles them really well. I give this movie a 9.0 out of 10.

So guys, what do you think of Independence Day? Is it one of your favourite action flicks of the 90’s? Also to let you know, I will be posting my review for Iron Man 2 tomorrow. So make sure to come back and read it.

bottom of page