Independence Day

 

Independence Day

Directed by Roland Emmerich

1996


Production:

Theatrical: 20th Century Fox (USA)

Video: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment


Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Codec: AVC MPEG-4

Disc Size: 43:53 GB

Feature Size: 37.98 GB

Bit Rate: 27.43 Mbps

Runtime: 145 minutes

Chapters: 16

Region: A


Audio:

English 5.1 DTS Master Lossless

French DD 5.1 Surround

Spanish Dolby Surround


Subtitles:

English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean


Extras

• Audio Commentary by the Director & Producer

• Audio Commentary by Special Effects Supervisors

• Alien Scavenger Hunt Game

• Trivia Track

• Enhanced for D-Box Motion Control Systems

• Theatrical Teasers & Trailers


Standard Blu-ray case: 1 disc

Release Date: March 11, 2008

Comment

Every once in a while I come across a movie I hated in its first theatrical run, but gradually came to enjoy at home.  A blockbuster special effects movie such as this one certainly would not have predicted a lane change of opinion given the radically different venues.  But long before I moved from a 29 inch CRT with letterboxed images to a 104 inch screen and a 1080p HD projector, Roland Emmerich's silly, shameless and predictable movie surprised me with unexpected entertainment value.  I like to think of it as a sort of 1950's sci-fi flic with a big budget.  Far from a great movie, or even a very good one, Independence Day now sucks me into its mindless fun – just so long as I don't take any of the relationship issues (which this script reeks of) too seriously.  Near as I can tell, that sentiment is shared vigorously by the filmmakers.


     


The Movie : 7

From nearly the first frame we feel their presence as they pass by our moon on their way to our planet.  Unseen until then, apparently hiding in the moon's shadow until the critical moment, the mother ship suddenly shows up on our sensors.  But no sooner than we are aware of their existence, our communication satellites are taken out.  Cable Guy and Math Genius, David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), thinks he knows why.  As huge alien airships hover above our most important cities, David and his father (Judd Hirsch) rush to the nation's capital to see the president (Bill Pullman) to warn him of the disaster that comes only moments later.  Meanwhile, Air Force Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) is on maneuvers when he bags one of the bad guys after a low altitude dogfight.  Everywhere on the planet, major cities and installations are taken out simultaneously by the invaders.  Never say die, humanity regroups in enclaves all over the planet to prepare for the counterattack.  The president and his advisors make for Area 51, a mountain retreat that becomes the base of U.S. operations.  One by one, the movie's sizable cast assembles there under the leadership of one very determined president who just can't wait to climb aboard his jet fighter to do his part for the war effort.


     


Image: 8/9

It's darker than I remembered – probably the result of overbrightened video and TV transmissions.  Some speckles appear to be in evidence, or maybe it's just flying dirt, not enough to distract.  In the darker scenes, an inconsistent grain starts to show itself.  The image is considerably sharper than Fox's ID4 "Five Star Collection" SD issue from 2000.  The color, especially effects shots and flesh tones, is much improved, as I hope you can tell from the screenshots.  The Blu-ray has a skosh wider aspect ratio with no loss if information at the top or bottom.  Quite the contrary.


     


Audio & Music : 8/7

There is a reason why films like Independence Day are called blockbusters, for that's exactly what will happen when you crank up this 5.1 DTS Master Lossless audio mix to theatrical levels.


     
       


Operations : 7

The "Alien Scavenger Hunt" video game is a real bear trap in that you have to read the instructions carefully and completely before entering else run the risk of not being able to exit without reloading the disc, which will take a couple minutes.


     


Extras : 5

There are two audio commentaries: the first by Director Roland Emmerich and Producer Dean Devlin, an engaging, dynamic duo who have more fun talking about their film than any audience will have watching it.  The second commentary is the work of the two special effects supervisors.  I am generally not much interested in how such things come about so that I can maintain a pretense of the illusion.  I did switch to it occasionally and I can't say that I found them especially interesting. There's a Trivia Track that semi-duplicates what information I heard from the special effects commentary in case you'd rather read about it than hear folks discuss it.  Sadly, the Interactive game is not really much of a video game, but as the name tells us, merely a hunt that the player engages in during the length of the feature film.  And it's not like there are hundreds of objects to collect, so it all seems a little much ado for very little.


     


Recommendation : 8

Even though there are things about this movie that gives its comic book feel a bad name, I can't help but get a kick out of this movie.  After twelve years of theatrical, video and television manifestations, you probably know what you're getting into so I doubt I can convince one way or the other.  This Blu-ray is the best you're going to see this for some while to come.  But do try to see it on a front projection system with all the trimmings.  Recommended.


Leonard Norwitz

LensViews

March 9, 2008



     








          
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