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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz

Independence Day [Blu-ray DVD] 

Region A


(Roland Emmerich, 1996)








Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: 20th Century Fox (USA)

DVD: 20th Century Fox Pictures Home Entertainment



Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:24:47.679

Disc Size: 43,525,259,003 bytes

Feature Size: 37,979,387,904 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.43 Mbps

Chapters: 54

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 11th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video




DTS-HD Master Audio English 4335 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4335 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48
kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround



English, English SDH, Spanish, Chinese and Korean



• 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


Independence Day ~ 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.




Independence Day ~ The Score Card


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 : 8.5 (8.5/9)

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The score of 8.5 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs on a ten point scale.  The score in parentheses represents: first, a value for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.


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
March 9th, 2008

June 2nd, 2010








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About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.

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