Independence Day

 
Nonstop over-the-top fun for teens and up.
  • Review Date: August 9, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1996
  • Running Time: 153 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

It's clearly stated that the people of earth, divided into nations, religions, etc., have the ability to put away their differences and unite for their common interests. In this case, all the leaders of the world come together to fight for the right of the planet to exist.  Also promotes self-sacrifice for the greater good.

Positive role models

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes -- lots of ethnic and cultural diversity. The government, the military, and individuals put their lives on the line to save the Earth. With one exception (a brave mother saving her child and her dog), the female characters serve basically as emotional support for the male leads. Two very stereotypical Jewish men hover around the plot, mostly for comic relief.

Violence

Buildings, major landmarks, and citizens are destroyed by fireballs; cars careen through the air; airplanes explode; spacecraft, both large and small, wreak jet-ray havoc on the hapless Earth. Then, the aliens appear: tentacled, huge, slimy, and powerful. Scientists perform an autopsy on one that morphs into an even more grotesque creature. There are multiple aerial firefights, one-on-one serpent attacks, and an alien-speaking-through-a-human moment that's truly spooky.

Sex

A stripper passes some dancers onstage then finds some strippers backstage in very little clothing. A man who claims to have been abducted by aliens is teased with comments like "Did they do any sexual things?" Unmarried couple in bed; teens talk about virginity.

Language

Some mild expletives and insults throughout: "hell," "butt," "s--t and bulls--t," "ass," "son-of-a-bitch," "bastards," "goddamn, "schmuck," "Jesus," "Holy God," "booty."

 

Consumerism

Coors, Arrowhead water, Minute Maid, Wells Fargo bank, IMB, Reebok, HBO, and heavy on the Coca-Cola.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One character, a father of young kids, is a slurring, self-pitying drunk through most of the film, constantly swigging from a bottle. Cigars are passed out and smoked as a means of celebrating victory over the attackers, though one character does say, "Smoking is not healthy."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Independence Day is an action-packed science-fiction film filled with scenes of the fiery destruction of entire cities and the people who live in them, along with smaller scale personal fatalities and some pretty grisly aliens. The filmmakers take pains to introduce some very likeable characters, only to explode them soon afterward. This movie was the gold standard of sci-fi effects and air battles when it was released in 1996, and older kids and teens that have a firm understanding of the difference between fantasy and reality will enjoy the ride. There's some swearing (i.e. "hell," "schmuck," "ass," "s--t," "bastard," "goddamn"), and one scene takes place in a strip club with scanty costumes. A man who claims to have been abducted by aliens is teased with comments like "Did they do any sexual things?" There's an unmarried couple in bed; teens talk about virginity.

What's the story?

INDEPENDENCE DAY follows the plotline of several previous Hollywood sci-fi disaster movies. The story features a wide variety of social types reacting to the arrival of aliens and the aliens' eventual attack on the planet Earth, which include: The President (Bill Pullman) and Press Secretary (Margaret Colin) in D.C.; the First Lady (Mary McDonnell) on a publicity junket; a marine pilot (Will Smith) and his stripper girlfriend (Vivica A. Fox) in Los Angeles; a cable technician (Jeff Goldblum), his father (Judd Hirsch) and boss (Harvey Fierstein) in New York City; and an alcoholic crop duster (Randy Quaid) and his family in rural California. After the initial spectacular deluge, in which the alien attackers lay waste to L.A. and New York City, a majority of this diverse crew collaborates to survive and eventually vanquish the invaders.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Independence Day harks back to the classic alien-invasion movies of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the disaster movies of the 1970s. These sources provide campy material for the film to quote from as well as advanced special-effects technology. References to The War of the Worlds (1953), The Day the Earth Stood Still, and imagery from Earthquake and The Towering Inferno provide chuckles to knowing audiences. Overblown performances by Smith, Brent Spiner (as an addled scientist from Area 54), Hirsch, and Fierstein will no doubt tease a few guffaws, as well.

This is the film that sky-rocketed Smith to blockbuster action-hero status. It's clever, intensely thrilling, and if you can recognize the stock stereotypes and movie plots, very funny.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about stereotypes associated with action-disaster movies, as well as how race, class, and gender are represented in Independence Day.

  • How does this film compare with other alien-invasion films?

  • Do you like the mix of comedy and scariness?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 2, 1996
DVD release date:May 11, 2004
Cast:Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Will Smith
Director:Roland Emmerich
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Space and aliens
Run time:153 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sci-fi destruction and violence

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous October 1, 2014
age 10+
 

Independence Day review

========================================================= Sex/Nudity: Some locals make fun of Russ' reputation of having been abducted by aliens. They talk about or are seen asking him about "any sexual things" the aliens did to him. A teenage boy tells a teenage girl "...this could be our last night on Earth" as they sit in a parked truck. He's obviously trying to use the impending doom of Earth as a way to have sex with her. Steven and his girlfriend live together with her son but aren't married. Steven's girlfriend is "an exotic dancer" and is seen in a bikini outfit on stage. 2/10. ========================================================= Violence: A plane is destroyed as it approaches one of the ships and a fireball races back through it, burning the people inside. Three helicopters are destroyed by the alien ship. Before the actual attack, there are scenes of panic induced mayhem that most notably includes many cars crashing into each other. The alien ships let loose on New York, Washington, and Los Angeles. Buildings are torn apart, cars tossed through the air and many, many people killed in a sequence that reminds one of what nuclear destruction would be like. There is talk that David got into a fight with Whitmore before he was President because he thought that Whitmore was having an affair with his wife. There are many air combat scenes where both U.S. and alien ships are destroyed. Steven punches and then kicks an alien that he's captured. An alien jumps out of its space suit and attacks scientists in an operating room. It holds one of them around the neck with a tentacle until the military guys open fire and kill the alien. Russ rams his fighter jet into one of the ships on a suicide mission to blow it up. There's a big final fight sequence where the alien ships are destroyed. 5.5/10. ========================================================= Blood/Gore: Scientists cut a gooey, slime-covered spacesuit off an alien with a scalpel, and then cut through a similarly gooey flesh like sheath revealing the alien. 2/10. ========================================================= Profanity: At least 3 "s" words, 17 hells, 6 damns, 5 asses (1 used with "hole"), 4 craps, 3 S.O.B.'s, 1 bitch, and 10 uses of "God," "Oh my God," "My God," "Oh God," and "Good God," 5 uses of "G-damn," 3 uses of "Jesus," 2 uses of "Holy God," and 1 use each of "For God's sakes," "Christ" and "Jesus Christ" as exclamations. 5/10. ========================================================= Alcohol/Drugs: Russ is an alcoholic and is seen drinking beer, or hard liquor from a flask, and often appears drunk. A bum on the street has a bottle of liquor. David drinks whiskey from a bottle, and later appears to be drunk. 1.5/10. ========================================================= Smoking: David's father smokes a cigar. Several military men have unlit cigars in their mouths. Steven always wants a "victory" cigar with him to smoke after successful combat. A foreign soldier is seen smoking. Steven and David smoke cigars after fighting the aliens and when asked whether it's healthy, David says, "It's not so bad...you'll get used to it." 3/10. ========================================================= Independence Day is a great alien invasion movie and is one of Roland Emmerich's best films. I give it a 7/10. =========================================================
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written bymrsmollyj March 16, 2011
age 9+
 

Action hero type of movie. I think my kid can handle it.

I watched this movie and wondered if my 9 year old could see it. It's very human motivating. There are some obvious curse words but ones I think my 9 year old understands is "adult language". My true concern is that it's scary. Lots of people die but off screen like in an okay action movie. But it is human motivating. We beat the bad guys by uniting the world and joining together.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old June 13, 2010
age 14+
 

America's Popcorn Flick

From the first minute of viewing, I implore you to set your brain to power-saving mode; if you initiate any sentient thought, or thought in general, as to the validity of the plot, characters, setting, or any detail of this movie, you will find yourself monumentally disappointed with why and what you spent at the cinema. This is a popcorn flick, pure and simple. It is meant for those that choose to enjoy explosions for the sake of explosions, and fighting for the sake of wiping out an alien race within two days of their arrival, which is completely realistic, if you don't think about it. Have fun!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Kid, 10 years old March 9, 2010
age 8+
 
Not to realistic(I've seen to much new movies). Good movie tho.

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