The ’90s was a decade of iconic movies that left a mark on popular culture. One such movie that became a sensation was Independence Day. Rolled out in 1996, the movie was a unique blend of action, science fiction, and drama. The movie’s primary premise revolves around an alien invasion threatening the world’s existence, with humans banding together to save the planet. It was a runaway hit and grossed over $800 million worldwide. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Independence Day’s impact, success, and why it still stands the test of time.
Independence Day takes place on July 2nd, which also happens to be the anniversary of the United States of America’s independence. An alien spaceship appears near Earth’s moon, and a task force of scientists is deployed to investigate the ship. The aliens, however, mount a devastating attack on the cities of New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles, leaving millions dead.
The attack leaves humanity stunned, and in the battle to safeguard Earth, President Whitmore (played by Bill Pullman) works with his team to thwart the invading aliens. They devise a plan to infect the alien mothership with a virus, which would disable the hostile alien fleet deployed on Earth. With the help of Captain Steven Hiller (played by Will Smith), Dr. Brackish Okun (played by Brent Spiner), and David Levinson (played by Jeff Goldblum), humanity looks to win the battle against the evil alien forces and save the world from imminent doom.
Independence Day boasts an incredible array of well-developed characters, each playing a pivotal role in the movie’s progression. Will Smith’s box-office credibility played a significant role in the film’s commercial success. Smith played the role of Captain Steven Hiller, a fighter jet pilot, who brought his characteristic wit and charm to the proceedings. His chemistry with Jeff Goldblum’s David Levinson powerfully mirrored the film’s underlying message of racial harmony and cooperation.
Bill Pullman played the role of President Thomas J. Whitmore, who became a cult favorite with his now-famous pre-battle speech, rallying his troops and giving them the strength to fight until the very end. Meanwhile, Judd Hirsch’s portrayal of David Levinson’s father provided ample comic relief to an otherwise tense situation through his dry and sarcastic comments.
Independence Day marked a paradigm shift in special effects usage and paved the way for future movies. The alien invasion scenes were breathtaking, with massive buildings exploding and alien ships hovering above the various cities. The aerial dogfight scenes in the film’s climax were impressive, showcasing the perfect balance of CGI and practical effects. The movie was made in an era when VFX was still in its infancy; yet, Independence Day managed to provide an unforgettable visual experience.
Another underlying motif present in the movie is how humanity was brought together to fight a common enemy, showcasing a sense of unity and hope. The movie’s success lay in its simplicity — humanity united against an alien threat — a theme that still resonates today and continues to influence pop-culture.
Independence Day not only toppled box office numbers worldwide, but it also secured two Academy Award nominations. Moreover, the movie’s incredible success spawned an entire trend of alien invasion movies in Hollywood. Its impact on popular culture is undeniable—creating a universe of its own with comics, video games, and merchandise. The movie’s influence can still be felt today, with Independence Day: Resurgence released in 2016.
The Final Word:
Independence Day stands the test of time, representing the perfect balance between action, science fiction, and drama. Its memorable characters, a simple underlying premise, and stunning visual effects cemented the film as a masterpiece of the genre. The movie’s easily digestible and highly relatable themes continue to hold a special place in our hearts.
Its legacy is felt to this day, with a new generation of audiences rediscovering it. Independence Day represents everything that we love about film, often leaving us amazed by its sheer brilliance. If you haven’t watched Independence Day, 20 years after its initial release, do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s guaranteed to provide you with an unforgettable, entertaining experience, just as it did to millions in its time.
Call to Action:
Have you seen Independence Day yet? What’s your favorite moment from the movie? Let us know in the comments below. And if you’re looking for more fun-filled pop-culture content, make sure to check out RFGC!