3 1/2 Stars
The mother of all Alien invasion movies and a star making vehicle for Will Smith, Independence Day is still the best movie from German director Roland Emmerich and his producing partner/co-writer Dean Devlin. Riding in on a wave of ingenious marketing, ID-4 would become a cultural phenomenon. It was the biggest hit of 1996, and the highest grossing science-fiction film since Return of the Jedi.
Aliens have finally decided to invade Earth. Giant spaceships have breeched the atmosphere and descended upon major cities across the globe. U.S. President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) tells citizens to remain calm while the Heads of State devise a plan of action. Meanwhile, an M.I.T. schooled cable guy (Jeff Goldblum) has deciphered a countdown timer hidden within our own satellites. An Alcoholic crop duster (Randy Quaid) who fears the creatures heads to Area 51 in his RV, on the way encountering a jet pilot (Will Smith) who has captured one of the invading enemies.
A trip to the secluded base in the heart of the desert takes up the majority of the second act. Here, Goldblum’s character discovers a way to hack the Alien coding and deliver a virus to the central system of the mothership. For the plan to work Smith must pilot the discovered Roswell space craft into the docking port of the alien vessel hovering in space. Not before President Whitmore delivers a rousing speech as various Nations coordinate a surprise attack on the remaining occupying force.
Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum