Patriotic Picks: Independence Day (1996)
We like to dig into different blog series depending on the month, and with Independence Day having just passed us by, we thought that July would be the perfect time to revisit some of our favorite patriotic films. We are going to be choosing films across all different genres, and I would be remiss to start with anything other than the 90’s classic, Independence Day. The movie was directed by Roland Emmerich and written by Emmerich and Dean Devlin. It starred Bill Pullman as President Thomas Whitmore, Will Smith as Captain Steven Hiller, and Jeff Goldblum as David Levinson. The film released in July of 1996 and was the highest grossing movie of the year, making over $817 million worldwide.
So, why does this science fiction action film rank among our favorite patriotic films?
1) The Perfect Blend
After watching this again on Wednesday, I was reminded of how this movie epitomizes 90’s film. There is a ridiculous amount of explosions, one-liners, and mediocre special effects. It is a delightful watch because of all of these elements, and though there are cheesy moments throughout, you just have to embrace all of those moments. In addition to many exaggerated moments, though, the film manages to balance it all out with some scarily realistic moments. For instance, President Whitmore tells the public to be calm and patient in evacuating, then the next shot shows people running and screaming in panic. That is incredibly realistic, and it is the balance struck in all of these different instances that makes Independence Day such a fun watch and a truly guilty pleasure.
2) The Humor
Some moments in this film are meant to be funny; some are funny just because the moment is so ridiculous. Regardless, this movie’s various situations and dialogue keep you laughing in a movie that revolves around aliens trying to destroy Earth. Will Smith is fantastic, and his rant while dragging the alien through the desert in his parachute is unforgettable. Of course, any time you place Jeff Goldblum in a film, I feel like it is guaranteed that his dry humor in particular will appear. His moments with Will Smith are particularly entertaining, and their interactions about the fat lady, “oops,” and cigars are hilarious.
Plus, you have the awkwardness of Dr. Okun, which is unparalleled.
3) That Final Speech
We all know this moment. President Whitmore is giving one last bit of encouragement to the men before flying off to face the coming alien attack. In 2003 Empire magazine readers voted it the cheesiest movie moment of all time, and they might be right. It is highly patriotic. It is positioned to be excessively inspirational. It is completely over-the-top, and Pullman delivers it with a gravity that has not been replicated since. It is so terrible and so wonderful at the same time, which pretty much describes this whole movie.
“We will not go quietly into the night…”
No, we will not because these aliens are about to go down.
So, do you love Independence Day as much as we do? What are some of your favorite moments?
Be sure to share them in the comments below, and be on the lookout next Friday as we explore another patriotic favorite.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.