Re-watch: Independence Day (1996)

Back in the summer of 1996, I was working full-time at the grocery store that I would go on to work at for a decade. I had just graduated high school and was fortunate to be in the position of having friends from school and friends from work to hang out and do stuff with.

When the ads for Independence Day started dropping, several of those friends and I were getting excited to see this latest summer blockbuster. The little two-screen theater in the town where I worked was a weekly stop for us as we took in at least one movie every week. When Independence Day weekend rolled around, there was no question as to what movie we were going to be watching.

Independence Day is the story of an alien race coming to Earth to take it over for its resources. After a first strike that wipes a lot of major world cities off the map, the US stages a counter attack that is ineffective. Fortunately, the world has an ace up it’s leave in genius Jeff Goldblum. He figures out a way to weaken the aliens, and a rag-tag group of former combat pilots led by the President show the way to bring down the hostile invaders, and the world lives to see another day. One of the hooks of the movie is that the events take place across July 2, 3, and 4 in the movie, leading to the United States declaring it’s freedom on the 4th of July once again.

Independence Day was the major summer blockbuster of 1996, and all of the hyp leading up to it had me very excited to see it. Watching it in the theater there was an electric mood as the packed house loved every minute of the spectacle.

It was also a breakout performance for Will Smith. Up until this point, he had starred in the movie Bad Boys and was still a sensation on the hit TV show Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but this was his coming out party as a major leading man in Hollywood.

With it’s massive scope, incredible effects, and all-star cast, Independence Day became one of the biggest movies of the ’90s, and one I still go back and watch every Independence Day weekend.

4.0 out of 5.0 stars 

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