The audience of the film become aware of the genre, plot and main characters during the first few minutes of the picture. It is vital that the director captures the attention and imagination of the viewers almost immediately. Otherwise the audience will lose interest in the story that is about to unfold. In the film Independence Day the viewer is made aware of the genre of the film by the big bold title roles announcing the name of the film, the director and the date. The letters in the film title explode up to the camera giving an indication to the audience that is an action movie.
The dramatic music also sets that kind of atmosphere. Later on in the film it becomes clear that this is a science fiction, action film and with a certain amount of human interest themes, with quite a poor family which we get introduced to in the first 8 minutes of the film. The audience is introduced to the main plot at the very beginning of the picture with the first sequence set on the moon showing the American flag, this symbolising one of the greatest achievements of the American nation, when mankind first stepped on the moon.
The camera then moves away from the flag and focuses on a plaque put down when the men landed on the moon, also the audience hears a news report of when this happened. With the sinister background music the atmosphere becomes chilling and mysterious. A dark shadow comes over the moon covering the flag, still focusing on the moon the space ship comes in to viewer. I think the ship coming over the moon and the dark shadow represents a possible conflict. The next scene is set on earth in the Searching for extra terrestrial intelligence building, followed by scenes in the Pentagon and the White house, then back in space.
The director chooses to split the opening scenes between space and earth so you can tell that the film is a conflict between the two, also you get an insight to what both places are like. The main characters in the film are the President of the United States, David a computer buff, and a poor family who live in a caravan. We are first introduced to the president, who is on the phone to his wife and is in bed with his young daughter, this shows his domestic side, not being the president.
We are next introduced to David, who is playing chess with his father, we find out from there conversation that David wishes he is still with his wife even though he has been divorced for 3 year. Also this scene shows the close relationship between the father and son. Lastly we are introduced to quite a poor family. Under the influence of drink the father, who is a crop sprayer, does not seem to do anything right, as someone comes to complain that the father has sprayed the wrong field.
The older boy looks as though he gives more support to the family than his own father. The film cleverly shows the domestic lives of three contrasting families. Especially with the president who is very rich and the poor farming family. The director gives the viewer an intimate view of the characters and their families in the opening sequences this is to show the who the important characters are and how their lives will be affected by this spaceship and the conflict that is going to take place.