Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Nominee #13 - Independence Day (1996)
Millions of people have signed up for a light-hearted, what we hope is a joke event called ‘Storm Area 51, they can’t stop all of us’ planned for 3 AM on Sep 20th. Area 51 has long been rumoured to be the place where the US Government has hidden away alien spacecraft, alien artefacts and some say even aliens themselves. It’s a real US military airbase with some very unreal alleged occupants. But Area 51 in the movie Independence Day (1996), became the hub of the ‘fight them back’ resistance.
Independence Day took a much feared event- alien invasion - and gave it a rollicking, roller-coaster, epic scale feel. July 4th would no longer be America’s Independence Day it would be humanity’s Independence Day.
On July 2nd, an alien mother ship enters Earth's atmosphere and deploys dozens of destroyer spacecraft, each measuring over 24 kms across.Even though our hero scientist David Levinson played delightfully by Jeff Goldblum warns the President, the attacks go ahead and major cities are destroyed. The counter attacks by the US Air Force are almost David going up against Goliath, except for when one David in the form of Captain Steven Hiller played with swagger by Will Smith brings down an alien spacecraft and gives the alien the right proper “Welcome to Earth” knockout blow. Levinson and Hiller team up for the final assault that uses brain more than brawn and all ends well for Planet Earth.
July 4th would no longer be America’s Independence Day it would be humanity’s Independence Day.
Independence Day did away with the serious, contemplative, deep philosophising of alien movies like Space Odyssey and others of its ilk and gave us jaw dropping visuals, Trumpian HUGE scale, cheesy but witty one liners and kick ass action. Director Roland Emmerich gave us Top Gun action against aliens, some America-saves-the-world chest thumping and a something-happening-every-minute plot. At 145 minutes long that’s saying something. David Arnold’s match-the-scale music score added to the mega-feel of the movie.
The virus that was planted in the alien spaceship to destroy it was very prescient (Mad Magazine did a parody suggesting that the virus was Windows 95, notorious at the time for frequent bugs and crashes )
It was only the second film ever to cross the 500 million dollar mark at the international box office.