Independence Day

Released: July 3, 1996
Budget: $77 million
US Box Office: $306 million
Global Box Office: $817 million

Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Randy Quaid, Vivica A. Fox

Synopsis: Humanity fights for survival when aliens pick a fight.
Best Quote: "LAPD is asking Los Angelinos not to fire their guns at the visitor's spacecraft. You may inadvertently trigger an interstellar war"

Review: 4 stars

Wow, I really, really love this movie. With big effects, an awesome ensemble cast, and the perfect mix of action, drama, and comedy, disaster movies don't get much better than Independence Day.

In terms of special effects, this movie really represents the birth of a new era for Hollywood. Provided they can get the budget to handle the CG work, directors no longer have to shy away from the big shots and can really put things on the screen as the are written. Few things in this genre are as iconic as the aliens blowing the White House into smithereens. While some of the explosions show their age, the visuals are grand throughout and perfectly match the epic feel of the movie.

While the top notch effects are nice, it is the cast that really carries this movie and makes it a classic. As the movie's scene-stealer, Will Smith has an absolute blast as a Air Force pilots with plenty of swagger. However, it's not just the stars who shine, the whole cast delivers. I'm not saying Independence Day deserved to sweep the acting Oscars, just that the performances match the feel of the movie perfectly. Every actor seems to find the perfect disaster movie mix of drama, humor, and outright cheesiness. The movie doesn't take itself too seriously (Area 51 is real), but knows when it's time to be dramatic: the President's final inspirational speech is the kind of thing that gives you goose bumps and makes you proud to be human. It's so refreshing to see a movie climax that is truly satisfying, but this one pulls it off. To sum things up, if you are looking for pure, feel-good entertainment, it doesn't get any better than Independence Day.