Independence Day is an Earth based science fiction which was released in 1995 and is directed by Roland Emmerich.
Just when the science fiction genre was drying up, Independence Day came along and blew everything away. The theme is the same as in H.G. Wells 'War of the Worlds'. aliens from another world, not Mars this time attack Earth and they seem unbeatable. Their ships have impenetrable shields thus rending Earths defences useless. The ships move from city to city, laying waste using a death ray. When the ray hits the ground, it causes an explosion which spreads out, helped by the alien ships shields preventing the explosions going up. The aliens like the Martians before have one objective, destroy all humanity. The President on arriving at area 51 tries to communicate with an alien to offer a deal, the alien rejects, they want to destroy everything on the planet.
It's set on three days culminating on July 4th, U.S. Independence Day. You see the story from four groups of people whose stories all merge at the end. The groups are the President Whitmore (Bill Pullman), David Levinson, the meteorologist scientist who discovers that the aliens are counting down to something (Jeff Goldblum), the man who believes he was taken captive by aliens (Randy Quaid) and Capt. Steven Hiller, the gung-ho air force pilot who keeps failing to get accepted by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (N.A.S.A.). It was quite predictable from the outset that there would be an alien captive.
When the producers approached the U.S. Air Force ( U.S.A.F. ) for help, they were all too willing to help on the condition that references to Area 51 were removed. The producers refused and the U.S.A.F. withdrew their help. Area 51 is a secret military research station in the Nevada desert that is believed by many to hold evidence of alien life. A further nod to'War of the Worlds' is that the aliens are defeated by a virus, however the difference was that the I.D. virus was electronic. The I.D. virus disables the ships shields allowing the air forces to fire missiles at and destroy the massive ships. One criticism of the film is that the Jeff's character is able to come up with a virus in a matter of hours, whereas the scientists that had been studying it for years had no clue about its technology. The special effects used in the film ( excuse the pun ) out of this world. All the planes and alien spaceships that you see battling it out are all computer generated. When it came out, it became one of the highest grossing films of all time, just being beaten by Jurassic Park.
Russell Casse ( Randy Quaid )
Russell Casse is an one-time fighter pilot who claims to have been abducted by aliens. No-one believes him until the aliens turn up on 2nd July, two days before Independence Day. Since the alien incident, he has been living in a mobile home with his son Miguel and daughter Alicia working as a crop duster. The abduction has turned him into an alcoholic and does any crop dusting job to get by. When the President asks for pilots to help take on the aliens, Russell although not in a fit state volunteers.
Russell gives his life when the only missile left to destroy the approaching alien ship can`t be released. He sacrifices himself and flies the missile directly into the spaceship and causing the ship to explode and him become a hero.
Julius Levinson ( Judd Hirsch )
Julius Levinson is the father and chess partner of David Levinson, the New York meteorologist who discovers the hidden message in the alien transmissions. When the aliens attack, David picks up his father and they go to Washington D,C, so that David can present his findings to President Whitmore.
Whilst on board, Air Force One taking the President to safety, Julius keeps referencing area 51, the supposedly secret U.S.A.F. base in the Nevada desert where alien technology is being held. The President has no knowledge of the Air Force base until Albert Nimziki reveals to the President that the Area really does exist.planet.
Albert Nimziki ( James Rebhorn )
Albert is the United States Secretary of Defense in the President Whitmore government. His character is based on Oliver North who was an army official in the Ronald Reagan Administration of the eighties. Albert is the one who reveals to President Whitmore that area 51 does exist. Area 51 is the supposed location where the United States is holding alien technology.
Alicia Casse ( Lisa Jakob )
Alicia is the daughter of Russell Casse, a ex-fighter pilot who believes he was abducted by aliens. Alicia is mainly looked after by older brother Miguel Casse as their father is an alcoholic and incapable of looking after them.
President Whitmore ( Bill Pullman )
President Thomas Whitmore is an ex-U.S. Air Force pilot who fought during the Gulf War. He comes across as someone who doesn`t know what to do when the aliens attack. Whitmore doesn`t want to antagonise the aliens but still wants to be ready. It is when David Levinson , A New York based meteorologist that President Whitmore starts making the correct decisions. David Levinson reveals to the President the hidden message in the aliens who are using our satellites to communicate and coordinate an alien attack.
President Whitmore and David Levinson had met in the past when David was still married to Constance who in the first film works for the President. During a previous encounter, David punched Thomas Whitmore but in the film neither of them come to blows.
When Julius Levinson asks about area 51, Whitmore reveals he know nothing of the secret base where alien technology from Roswell is being studied. Albert Nimziki reveals to the President that the base actually exists and no one told the President so that he could deny everything.
At the start of the film, Whitmore is married to Marilyn Whitmore and has one daughter but by the end of the film, he has become a widower after Marilyns helicopter that she was travelling in was knocked out of the sky by the alien attack.
When the number of pilots is very low, he decides to get back into the pilots seat and help in the effort against the aliens. Before the fight back, President Whitmore does one of the most patriotic and some say jingoistic speeches every made up a fictional U.S. President or any president for that matter.
His character returns for the sequel, albeit as plain old Thomas Whitmore as the events will have taken place twenty years after the first attack and because of the U.S. Constituition that limits a Presidents term to eight years, theres no way he`d be back as a President.
Marty Gilbert ( Harvey Fierstein )
Miguel Casse ( James Duval )
Miguel is the son of Russell Casse, the pilot who believed he was abducted by aliens. He tries to keep his father on the straight and narrow but as he is an alcoholic, he is having a hard time doing so.
Marilyn Whitmore ( Mary McDonnell )
Marilyn Whitmore is the wife of President Whitmore at the time of the first invasion by the aliens. Together, the Whitmores have one daughter who during the first invasion is with her father in the White House. Marilyn is in Los Angeles and when the invasion happens is in a helicopter that crashes. Despire Jasmine Durrow attempts at saving the First Lady`s life, Marilyn dies.
Capt. Steven Hiller ( Will Smith )
Capt. Steven Hiller is an U.S. Air Force pilot who longs to join the astronaut elite of national aeronautics and space administration (n.a.s.a.) but is rejected, gets the chance when the aliens attack Earth. He along with other pilots wage a seemingly unwinnable battle against the aliens with their impenetrable shields. Steven`s girlfriend is an erotic dancer which one of his colleagues believes is the reason he will never enter space. After a way is discovered to remove the Alien ship shields, he pilots the capture Roswell alien ship with meteorologist David Levinson to the main alien craft to knock it out. Once the mother ship is knocked out, the rest of the ships hovering over Earth can be knocked out as they are now unprotected.
Some time after the events of the first alien attack, Steven Hiller is involved in an accident that causes him to loose his life. In the sequel, Steven`s son takes on the role of the being one of the main fighters leading the charge from Earth.
Major Mitchell ( Adam Baldwin )
David Levinson ( Jeff Goldblum )
David Levinson is a New York based meteorologist who discovers the hidden message in the alien transmissions. He discovers that the alien spaceships are using satellites orbitting the Earth to coordinate their attack. David takes his dad, Julius Levinson to see President Whitmore.
Before Whitmore became President and when David was still married to Constance, David hit Whitmore but they soon put their differences aside when David shows the President what he has found, that is the hidden message. David is taken with the President to the real life secret area 51 where the President plans the Earths response.
When Julius makes an off the cuff remark about catching a cold by sitting on the floor, David realises that he could create a computer virus that could cause the alien ship`s force fields to shut down. With Capt. Steven Hiller pilotting a small alien craft, the two men journey up to the alien mothership where David Levinson uploads the computer virus and shuts down the alien force fields.
David Levinson appears in both the original and the sequel which has not yet come out in the cinemas.
Gen. William M. Grey ( Robert Loggia )
Jasmine Durrow ( Vivicia Fox )
Jasmine is the girlfriend of the hero in the Capt. Steven Hiller, a U.S. Air Force pilot. Her job is an erotic dancer but when the aliens attack, she exhibits strength of will power and survival knowledge.
Dr. Brackish Okun ( Brent Spiner )
Dr. Brackish Okun is a scientist based at area 51, the secret U.S. Air Force base in the Nevada Desert. He looks bedraggled and President Whitmore quips as to whether he (Brackish) ever gets out of his lair and visit the real world.Even though the U.S. Air Force has had the alien ship since it allegedly crashed in Roswell, the scientists he reveals they have only really discovered things when the aliens returned.