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On this page: Local Documents | Articles | Reviews | ID4 Synopsis

Independence Day

A Curmudgeon's Guide to America's Most Overhyped Movie

"As I watched the alien invaders in Independence Day zap the White House and pretty much everything else on the face of the earth, I tried my best to suspend disbelief, and succeeded in the wrong way. In a summer of aggressively dumb big movies, I do believe this one is the dumbest.... Despite anything you may have heard or read in the past few days, this movie is an overlong, insultingly clumsy compendium of B-movie clichés, with accordingly cheesy special effects."

-- Wall Street Journal, July 5, 1996

The earth is nearly destroyed in this big budget remake of War of the Worlds. "Area 51" is the setting for about a third of the movie, but it in no way resembles the real thing. This page provides a synopsis and critical reviews.

Related Topics: War on the E.T. Highway | Area 51

Local Documents



ID4 Synopsis

  1. Plot: Uncredited remake of War of the Worlds.

    Note: This summary is a "spoiler," since it tells you how the movie comes out and might ruin the suspense. We publish it here because Fox has left the arena of pure entertainment and entered state politics, subjecting it to the normal rules of news reporting.

    From original script...

    FADE IN. After being detected by radiotelescopes on July 2, a huge alien ship approaches Earth and is at first thought to be benign. It splits into multiple ships which hover above Earth's major cities. Naive UFO buffs gather on rooftops with signs welcoming the aliens, but a cable TV technician sees danger in the signals emanating from the otherwise silent ships. He manages to alert the President, for whom his ex-wife happens to be press secretary. Based on this new information, the President immediately orders evacuation of all the cities. Just then, the ships unleash the WALL OF DESTRUCTION - the main character in the film. After many futile attempts to stop it, the WALL decimates most of the world's metropolises. Billions killed. The President and a few other survivors take refuge at Area 51. In a final all-or-nothing battle, the cable guy joins forces with a fighter jock to fly a captured alien scout craft back to its orbiting mothership. The President, piloting a fighter jet, provides air support. A computer virus, designed by the cable guy, is delivered to the mothership. Mothership destroyed. Earth saved. Heroines fall into arms of heroes, as pieces of the mothership rain down in "Fourth of July" fireworks. FADE OUT. ROLL CREDITS.

  2. Setting: Worldwide, but many scenes at Washington D.C. and Area 51.

  3. Time Period: Present day, culminating on the 4th of July, hence the name.

  4. Cities Destroyed: From original script
    1. New York
    2. Atlanta
    3. Washington
    4. Chicago
    5. Los Angeles
    6. Philadelphia
    7. Edwards Air Force Base
    8. NORAD
    9. London
    10. Delhi
    11. Toyko
    12. Bonn (or Berlin)
    13. ... and many, many more.

  5. The Script: Written in four weeks by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich

  6. Studio: Twentieth Century Fox.

  7. Selling points: Area 51, special effects, major cities being destroyed.

  8. Weak points: script, characters, plot, lack of big-name stars

  9. Director: Roland Emmerich

  10. Producers

  11. Actors

  12. Filming Locations

  13. ET HWY/ID4 Hotline: (310) 369-4217

  14. WWW

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 Reader Comments Regarding "Independence Day" - Latest First
Air Force jet? Where do people get this idea?

Even if I had not payed attention to people calling Will Smith's character, "Marine", that he wore a Marine uniform, and that he was stationed at MCAS El Toro, the fact that he was flying an F/A-18 Hornet was quite a large CLUE that he in fact was a Marine...not Air Force. The attacks were coordinated by the USAF. Besides the flight scenes themselves, what was laughable was that El Toro hosted a T-38, and F-16s, which ARE AF aircraft. The movie is fiction, just for entertainment. Enjoy it for that aspect.

-- muskrat ( ) 5/3/98 (#44)
Gimme a break...

I liked the movie. Sure it was unbelievable. I don't go to the movies for believable, I go to be entertained. The furor this movie has produced is what is really unbelievable. That you people would dedicate a website to denouncing this piece of entertaining fluff is remarkable, and probably says something about how starved for entertainment we all are.

-- Steve Winkler 3/8/98 (#43)

ID4 was a good movie!!!but we all know that Hollywood can be extremely inaccurate sometimes!!!!so how many of you out there know that a f-18 fighter plane is not an air force jet, but a U.S. NAVY JET??? I think that we all know that hollywood can do anything it wants to (just like the damn police)so you all get a life and quit complaining about things you know that are wrong!!!!

-- coolernerdly 9/18/97 (#42)
My Movie

Independence Day was a horrible movie. I regret ever agreeing to be in it. How could anyone believe we would be attacked by aliens? A movie about some old guy cloning dinosaurs would be fantastic. That might actually happen.

-- Jeff Goldblum ( ) 8/2/97 (#41)

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Original Text Copyrighted © 1994-99 Glenn Campbell
PO Box 30303, Las Vegas, NV 89173

Note: The above page has been frozen as of Jan. 1, 2000. It is retained only for archive purposes. Broken links will not be repaired and some information may be out of date.

The former webmaster, Glenn Campbell, is still active at or @BadDalaiLama on Twitter

Created: 7/3/96
Last Modified: 12/8/96 tm.e