That’s the film, not the American holiday, which I’m sure is equally wonderful. Though speaking as a Brit, it just doesn’t really have the same ring to it as when our own St George defeated a real life dragon, and got himself a day of celebration that absolutely no-one pays any attention to. A dragon, for God’s sake!
Anyway, since it is July 4th, we’re looking back in time to 1996 and Roland Emmerich’s ground-breaking sci-fi disaster movie, conveniently called Independence Day, and starring a young Will Smith, and a Golden Retriever will near super-human leaping skills, as well as a malignant invading alien force and Randy Quaid, in easily his best performance to date.
Rather cruelly called trash from certain quarters, Emmerich’s big, bold and silly blockbuster was what the summer of 1996 was all about, and regardless of what you think of the B-Movie on Steroids agenda, or the occasionally clunky script, Independence Day is one of the finest summer action movies of the pre-comic book take-over age, when everyone still loved flying saucers more than dudes in tights.
And here, in an easily digestible list of eight, are the reasons why Independence Day is still awesome. As if you needed convincing…
1. It Renewed Faith In Sci-Fi Blockbusters
It might not exactly seem like a point to shout about, given what films followed, but the success of Independence Day made Hollywood’s purse-string-pullers sit up and take notice. With a relatively high budget of $70m, the film could well have been an unmitigated disaster (ironically), but a massive return of $800m made the investment look like nothing, and the powers that be again began to realise the merit of spending a lot of money on sci-fi themed summer blockbusters.
As I say, the rewards for film fans weren’t exactly huge, with Armageddon, Contact, and Godzilla among the big budget films to follow ID4, but we were also treated to Starship Troopers and The Fifth Element, neither of which would have been considered at their eventual prices were it not for the success of Emmerich’s Independence Day.
Were it not for that success, whose to say we would ever have ended up with the big budget superhero blockbusters that currently dominate the box office?
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