90s Movie Challenge Week 26: Independence Day (1996)

Welcome back! It’s time for more 90s shenanigans! This time in #90sMC our humble, predominantly British website hands over to our Australian pal to look at a film named after (and set during) that most American of holidays!

Yep, from 1996, it’s Thanksgiving: The Movie. (Are you sure about that? Ed.)

Haha, only kidding! (Hilarious. Ed.) No, this week CJ Dee celebrates Independence Day!

Welcome to Earth…

I distinctly remember seeing Independence Day in the cinemas when I was 10 or 11. Now, this was the 90s so ratings were enforced a little bit differently — that is to say not at all. But I mainly remember two things: being a little scared when we finally see the alien in the lab and being super excited that Brent Spiner — who I only knew as Lieutenant Data at the time — appeared, despite looking quite different from how I was accustomed to seeing him.

In the cough25yearscough since then, Independence Day has become one of my absolute favourite films. 

Can we take a moment to talk about how this film is an outstanding ensemble cast where everyone has their moment to shine? Bill Pullman. Jeff Goldblum. Will Smith. Judd Hirsch. Vivica A. Fox who outran a mamaflipping alien explosion and saves her puppy dog?! Come on! What’s not to love?!

That’s not even including the smaller but still impressive contributions from Harvey Fierstein, Harry Connick Jr. and the aforementioned Brent Spiner. The cast is just amazing without being The Expendables level of macho upon macho or becoming a cameo stuffed ensemble film.

While I love short, punchy movie quotes and drop at least one per day, Independence Day has my absolute favourite movie monologue of all time and across all genres. I am referring, of course, to:

Testing, testing. One two, one two. Is this thing working? Tap tap. Hello?

Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. “Mankind.” That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!

Yeah! Heck yeah! Earth patriotism, woo! If Bill Pullman’s stirring speech that finishes in an all-American-but-adapted-for-the-whole-world crescendo doesn’t move you to wanting to kick malevolent alien booty, then we probably won’t have a lot in common.

Independence Day also features so many of the aforementioned short, punchy movie quotes adaptable to everyday life. It’s dripping in prime 90s action movie cheesy dialogue and I, for one, am here with my corn chips ready to dig right in. It adds a delicious amount of the humour that was prevalent in the 80s and 90s which, personally, I find to be lacking in many modern action films. Excuse me while I go fetch my cane, there appear to be whippersnappers on my lawn.

Even the character introductions in Independence Day do such a great job of showing us in quick snippets who each character is and how they relate to each other. Especially with some of the more convoluted relationships, this is impressive.

The effects are obviously not as good as what you would find in recent films but that’s neither here nor there because the visuals in Independence Day are still effective and enjoyable. The iconic White House scene could look like a cardboard shack next to a mansion and it would still be just as awesome.

It’s not a proper article about Independence Day without this picture

I must admit (granted, pretty late into the game here) to not being much of a sci-fi fan, despite loving Star Trek, but Independence Day is to me far more of an action film with aliens than a sci-fi film with explosions and quips. But perhaps ultimately it is a delightful combination of both that makes Independence Day the truly glorious experience movie lovers have enjoyed for the past 25 years.

Join us again next time as Lou-Michel Thelier goes back to 1994 to follow the path of the righteous, dust off their dancing shoes and maybe (just maybe) they’ll take a peek in the mysterious briefcase. It’s Pulp Fiction!


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