Independence Day is the ultimate special effects spectacular with New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles blown to smithereens during a world-wide attack by aliens from outer space.

As directed by Roland Emmerlich, this ambitious film is also a cinematic toy containing a treasure trove of cliche characters and situations from World War II movies, disaster flicks, and sci-fi thrillers of yesteryear. Seasoned cineplex goers will knowingly embrace and revel in these humorous bonbons scattered throughout this spectacular.

The cast of heroes includes Bill Pullman as a President not ashamed of his glory days as a fighter pilot, Will Smith as a NASA rejectee who eventually gets his mission in outer space, Jeff Goldblum as a computer scientist who fulfills his dreams of saving the world, Randy Quaid as a crop dusting pilot who is willing to perform the ultimate sacrifice for his country, Vivica Fox as an exotic dancer who does her best to help the First Lady (Mary McDonnell), and Judd Hirsch as a Jewish jokester who unwittingly stumbles on the key to defeating the nefarious aliens.

The single serious note in Independence Day is its presentation of one Fourth of July when instead of rallying around the flag, Americans celebrate the concerted efforts of people all around the world to save the planet.