And now for something completely different…
Independence Day is a big, loud movie with absolutely no pretenses of being high art or intellectually provocative — but yes, it holds up as a movie. Honestly, I’m impressed that this unwieldy movie — a special effects-driven blockbuster with a huge cast and multiple simultaneous storylines — is still comprehensible and well-paced.
There are problems, of course: The tone is all over the place, some of the special effects have not held up, and one of the subplots (the one about Randy Quaid‘s family in New Mexico) is a snooze. Plus the eventually revealed motivation for the invaders is … a giant letdown? I’ve been spoiled by too many years of more interesting aliens on Doctor Who.
Independence Day also teeters on the precipice of too dumb to be fun at times, but Bill Pullman and Will Smith, both in top form, overpower the cheesiness with sheer charisma. Recommended. ★★★½
P.S. If you have access to the extended edition, which adds 8 minutes of extra footage, watch that one. It shows more of the global impact of the alien attacks, and includes an excellent bonus scene with Brent Spiner that should never have been cut out.