Independence Day (1996)

independenceday1996a

Director: Roland Emmerich

Cast: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Maragert Colin, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia, James Rebhorn, Harvey Fierstein

Screenplay: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich

145 mins. Rated PG-13 for sci-fi destruction and violence.

  • Academy Award Winner: Best Effects, Visual Effects
  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Sound

In the annals of film history, it would be a tough time attempting to find a movie that depicts the destruction of all mankind better than Independence Day from director Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow, White House Down).

On July 2nd, the world discovers that we are not alone in the universe as massive spaceships make their way to every major city. Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith, Men in Black, Focus) has to cancel his 4th of July plans and head back to base. President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman, Lost Highway, The Equalizer) has to deal with the floods of looting and scared citizens while also trying to reunite with the First Lady (Mary McDonnell, TV’s Major Crimes, Donnie Darko). David (Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park, Mortdecai) has figured out a pattern in the signals of the alien ships, and thinks he is seeing a countdown to something big. As the world is cripple in fear of the alien menace, mankind is about to re-earn their independence.

independenceday1996b

Independence Day is one of those movies that seems perfect when at first glance, but after multiple viewings, the plot-holes become more apparent. There are severe issues with this plot, but the film is still a culty pleasure (see what I did there?).

The performances from our stars (Smith, Pullman, Goldblum) are all serviceable to keep the hype up throughout the action set pieces. The only issue with the characters portrayed is that they aren’t written to experience catharsis. Their “catharsis” is only due to the impending death of the human race. Goldblum’s David is my personal favorite as the man who has tremendous potential but chooses to waste it. His character represents an interesting dilemma: should a man use his full potential even if he likes things the way they are? Hmmm. James Rebhorn (Scent of a Woman, The Game) also turns in some fine work as Albert Nimzki, who has specific thoughts and secrets which make President Whitmore’s decisions all the more difficult.

The cinematography focuses a lot on spectacle. It is meant to show us just how screwed we are, and it works well enough.

The score is another important piece of this puzzle, something haunting and rhythmic while empowering the American ideals of freedom and military superiority.

There are some great uses of miniature work in Independence Day. Some of the explosions do seem extremely dated, but the grandiose visual effects were well worth the Oscar win.

independenceday1996c

Independence Day is returning to the big screens soon with a sequel (perhaps two). As far as the first film goes, Independence Day is a lot of fun. Not a particularly great film, but a classic nonetheless.

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

For my review of Roland Emmerich’s 2012, click here.

[Happy 30th Birthday!] Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

beverlyhillscop1984a

Director: Martin Brest

Cast: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton

Screenplay: Daniel Petrie, Jr.

105 mins. Rated R.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

 

Can you already hear the song? I know I can, because thirty years ago today, the world was introduced to Axel F, and alongside it, Beverly Hills Cop, a rollicking good time at the movies that doubles as a pretty taut thriller.

beverlyhillscop1984c

Beverly Hills Cop boasts one of the best soundtracks in motion picture history as it tells the story of Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy, Trading Places, A Thousand Words), a Detroit cop who just got forced into vacation after a close friend with a troubling past is killed right in his apartment. He decides to take his vacation in Beverly Hills and, along the way, try to solve the murder. Aiding him, whether they like it or not and whether or not they know it, are Beverly Hills’ Detective Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold, The Santa Clause, Dr. Dolittle: Million Dollar Mutts) and Sargent Taggart (John Ashton, Gone Baby Gone, Middle Men).

Beverly Hills Cop is an early work for major director Martin Brest (Scent of a Woman, Gigli) and boasts some of his craziest attempts at weaving thrilling set pieces with laugh-out-loud, and crazily enough, it works. Murphy is at the top of his game here, absolutely everything he throws at the screen lands perfectly, and he is equally matched by the bumbling (but not over-bumbling) Reinhold and Ashton, a perfect buddy-cop duo if there ever was one.

The screenplay from Daniel Petrie, Jr. (Turner & Hooch, In the Army Now) is a smart and simple one, but never tries too hard to convolute itself. Director Brest is able to work from so many angles here, it is incredible how well it all works together. We believe that Axel Foley is the kind of guy that can weasel his way into the enemy’s office, or into a luxury suite hotel room, or for that matter, evading the arrest and termination of his employment multiple times.

beverlyhillscop1984b

I have to say that the Beverly Hills Cop grew on me. The first viewing didn’t go as well as I thought it might, but it just sticks with you. The musical work by Harold Faltermeyer and the incredible supporting work from Paul Reiser, Ronny Cox, Steven Berkoff, and Jonathan Banks do not go unnoticed. If you haven’t seen Beverly Hills Cop in its first thirty years, don’t wait another thirty. See it now.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑