July 2nd a quiet day at S. E. T. I. (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) installation in New Mexico. A large Space obliterates the view of Earth (remember the opening of Star Wars?) and a red warning light flashes at S.E.T.I. Strange sounds are coming out of the monitor speaker, it's a radio signal coming from near the moon.
Unaware of any pending doom, several key characters in the unfolding drama are going through their normal daily routine.. the President (Bill Pulman) is reading in bed with his young daughter. Hero-to-be, technical 'whiz-kid' David (Jeff Goldblum) is playing chess in the park with his tetchy Father (cue male bonding, corny humour and hysterical boss at T.V station) and in a caravan trailer sited in Imperial Valley, California, where 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' is playing on the TV, an eccentric crop-dusting pilot is introduced (ring a bell? remember Capricorn One and the red plane?), and last , but not least fearless Captain Hiller (Will Smith - a gung-ho pilot who is soon to find himself seriously kicking Alien butt), and his live-in partner experience the ground moving in L.A. - 'just another quake' he quips - wrong!
Meanwhile back at the Alien Mother-Ship dozens of smaller craft are pouring out and heading to different parts of Earth. The visitors craft are soon showing up all over the planet targeted on Capital Cities and main towns around the World, especially the U.S.A. At the T.V. Station, David has discovered that the picture disturbances they are experiencing are caused by a strange signal implanted in all the satellites around the globe. These are synchronized to give a simultaneous countdown for destruction: cue key phrase "Don't panic ............
So, the latest and greatest blockbuster movie of 1996 is, at long last, available on Super 8 'Scope and with stereo sound. This one will certainly light up your home cinema as Alien Craft destroy all in their path and give us pause to think where did we go wrong? Of course, Los Angeles had it coming and maybe Washington - but the rest of us?
The fun thing about this film is spotting the various references and ideas used from previous Sci-Fi Films that exist in Independence Day. I have made a list, see if you can find more: War of the Worlds, Planet of the Apes, Close Encounters, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Alien, 2001, 2010, Dr. Strangelove, Star Wars, Flash Gordon, The Powers, Capricorn One, Judge Dread, Top Gun, Earth Vs the Flying Saucers, Fame, Some Like it Hot and Henry V.
Directed by Roland Emmerick and with great special effects, particularly the L. A. sequence where the Aliens show off their War of the Worlds fire power and the scenes of cars colliding everywhere as the drivers are distracted by the huge craft moving above them. The fireballs that erupt in all the major cities provide us with some spectacular, noisy CinemaScope thrills.
So, if you like your films with lots of fire power, flag-waving heroic USA Presidents and menacing looking Aliens, then this is the film for you. Not to be taken too seriously and with just a hint of dájà vu. Rush your order in now - before the Aliens really do arrive. Colin Clarke.
One day someone will write a saga about the Super 8 release of Independence Day and the various delays and technical problems involved. In the meantime I will confine my comments to the print quality which is excellent and similar in looks to another big-screen epic in which lots of Earthlings are terminated! The print is sharp, and the colour, though slightly cold is good too and probably reflects the original tints well. The stereo sound on the review print was excellent though the surround sound did not decode well on my GS1200 so I re-recorded the extracts for the BFCC and these fair blew off the roof of Ealing Town Hall! A real barnstormer of a release! Recommended.
Print A Sound A Keith Wilton