"INDEPENDENCE DAY" isn't the great "classic" sci-fi movie that the much older, better "DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL" is! However, 12 years after its original release, it's still great fun. The effects don't appear as startling as they did in 1996, but there are plenty of images that still pack a whallop, least of which is the White House being blown up. To give the film its due, it doesn't seem to aspire to be more than a great film to eat popcorn too and smile at. The characters have as much depth as they do in a Michael Bay film, and there's no universal message. Well, save for a cliche' ending with the world uniting against the aliens, being a bigger threat than nutjob fanatical muslims.(supposedly!)
It's not hard to predict who is and isn't going to make it by the film's end, but that's also part of the fun to a film like this. The audience is actively engaged with this film, perhaps hoping to guess a twist, but realizing there aren't any real twists, just a lot more fun and smoke and mirrors than one typically gets in a film.
We're a bit disappointed that FOX didn't include the extended cut of the film, however, the theatrical version is actually preferred by many. FOX has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray. There's a huge improvement over every previous dvd incarnation of the film(as is to be expected), but excessive grain and some flat imagery, (most notably in darker scenes)prevents this from achieving the reference quality standards of many superior blu-ray efforts from FOX. Colors and fleshtones are impressive throughout. The brighter scenes offer consistently great looking depth. Most of the film has that "pop off the screen" imagery one hopes for, but darker, grainier scenes lack impressive detail.
FOX has provided a DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 mix. When surrounds kick in, as they often do, be prepared for real impact. From the opening sequence to the end, LFE effects and separation effects are impressive. Surprisingly, in comparison to many recently superior FOX blu-ray releases, ambient effects are less notable. When big action sequences are at hand, the rears are kicking in hard. Otherwise, they're silent. Music is boosted through all speakers to enhance appropriate moments. Dialogue is always perfectly balanced with music and effects.
The same audio commentary with the very likeable director and producer, available on previous dvds and laserdisc, is provided here. A more technical commentary is also included as well as several theatrical trailers for other releases, all in HD.