Customer Reviews: Independence Day
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on April 25, 2004
I am not one who usually writes online reviews, but after reading several that have trashed this movie for being something more that what it is, I feel compelled to defend this entertaining and funny work.
I will be the first to admit that although there are several unrealistic, gaping plot holes and the dialogue is corny at times, anyone who looked for REALITY in this film is taking themselves too seriously. The very nature of the story's premise would suggest to anyone who has an IQ above that of an amoeba that this film is FICTION. I saw this film in 1996 in the theater, and have watched it several times at home on my 27 inch screen. Regardless of the setting, it is still fun to watch because (take note you 2004 social activists)...IT IS NOT MEANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY! Yes, you too can enjoy the comedy, cheesy banter, and bombastic explosions this 2-hour film has to offer if you check your critical ego with the "power" button of your surround-sound home theater system. Anyone who would even TRY to somehow draw a parallel between this film (which, I repeat, was made in 1996!) and events happening in the world in 2004 need to relax. There was a reason why "Independence Day" broke box-office records when it came out, and it was because we were looking to be entertained for a few hours; we were NOT looking for a documentary on realistic intergalactic relations. So although I would normally rate this movie with 3 or 4 stars, I am going to give it 5 because for the first time I now realize how entertaining (and totally unrealistic) this movie really is. Wasn't that the purpose?
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on July 3, 2000
Studios are finally getting the whole DVD thing! This is a truly worth-your-money deal with lots of extras including two versions of the film; the first version is the original theatrical release and the second version is a directors cut featuring about 9 minutes of added footage not released in theatres. What's really great about this is they list what new scenes have been included and some of them are really funny and some of them make the story a lot more heartfelt. Also included is a second disc that includes a really cool mockumentary called "The ID4 Invasion" which is truly a priceless gem in this great collection. Also, there is commentary, lots of interviews with cast and crew, a special effects documentary on the making of the film and the original biplane ending which unfortunately looks really hokey and what I felt after watching it was-THANK GOD THEY DIDN'T GO WITH THAT ENDING-THAT ENDING WOULD'VE MADE THIS MOVIE A "REAL" DISASTER! For a product like this under $30 it is totally worth your money. For those who appreciated this movie as a special effects funfest, this DVD is not one to be passed up. For those of you boring types who felt this movie needed a "serious acting edge" buy Out of Africa and leave science fiction alone! Cheers!
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on May 22, 2016
I love this movie. Haven't owned it on Blu-ray, so I made sure to pick up the 20th Anniversary Edition. It looks great. Sounds great. There is no 7.1 audio, even though it is listed on the specs. The cover art for this version is pretty neat. Digital HD is good for either iTunes or Ultraviolet (your choice).
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on July 18, 2000
"They'll be entering our atmosphere within the next 25 minutes." HAD to put this in! This is undoubtedly one of the most fun sci-fi movies in history. The tale starts with a ship roughly 1/4 size of the moon entering orbit of earth, only to send down multiple city sized ships to our cities to wipe out humanity. This is one of those movies where you won't realize you've spent nearly 3 hours in front of your set. In fact, you'll probably want more!
Though this is not one of your "great thinker" movies, it's not really meant to be. From Dean Devlin himself (Producer), it's really a "popcorn movie." Sit down, eat your popcorn, and enjoy the ride. If you want thought, has 2001 for sale, too. Nonetheless, this movie still succeeds. The story is fun and easy to follow, the characters are believable (and equally fun to watch!), and the special effects are still (4 years later) among the best you'll ever see.
This DVD release is great, too, because it gives you the option to play the theatrical or the special edition versions. Personally, I like the theatrical better, simply because the editing is done more smoothly. The special edition edits sometimes seem a bit rough, but the scenes are still worth watching. Also, the movie in DD is a serious treat!
Supplemental material, you ask? You got it, and LOTS of it! You've got ALL the trailers and TV spots, some cool interviews and movie specials, and more. For the price of the disc, you can't beat this deal.
For sheer fun value, Independence Day sure delivers, and the DVD transfer (superb color and shadow details, with a pleasing 5.1 surround mix) is sure to make you thankful for your investment in a player. This disc is recommended in every way.
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on March 23, 2009
I have to say that I'm a big fan of this film, and I already own the DVD. Most of those wanting to buy this film on Bluray are those who have already seen it and liked it, so I won't comment on the movie content itself, but rather the technical and supplemental aspects of this release.

I borrowed a friend's copy of the BD version of ID4 just a few weeks ago, as I was contemplating whether to add this to my small but growing blu-ray collection. The picture and audio are superb, and watching this on my new LCD at 1080p with the lossless DTS-MA audio track really transported me back to the July of '96, when I watched this on the big screen. This movie has certainly aged well these thirteen years, and the special effects are still terrific even today. While watching, I was pretty much set on adding this to my collection.

That is, until after I finished watching the movie and wanted to see the extras in HD.

The DVD version I have contains two discs and a lot of extras, including an alternate ending, making-of feature, trailers, and cast/crew interviews. Sadly, in this BD release there are none, not even in standard definition. The only "extra" is a commentary track, which, as an another reviewer already pointed out, is laughably outdated. At $25, I would expect more than just a movie and nothing else.

The Dark Knight BD had two discs plus a digital copy for the same price- that was justifiable, even in this economy. This... isn't.

FOX is notorious for double-dipping their DVD and Blu-ray releases. I would imagine that a two-disc or dual-layered "special edition" version will come out over the next year or so.

Needless to say, this BD release is quite a disappointment.
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on March 12, 2008
Just a quick review for everyone looking at the Blu-ray edition of Independence Day. While the picture and sound are fantastic, this disc does NOT include the extended edition, nor does it include the alternate ending. It does have commentary, but it's OLD commentary from a previous edition. (It references things like, "gee - this looks different on video due to 30 frames per second" which is completely irrelevant at 24fps 1080p HD.) Wait for the double-dip that's sure to follow eventually. In the meantime, hold on to your original ID4 special collectors edition DVD!
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This is a sensational, sci-fi, alien invasion, action film with a terrific cast and superlative special effects. Alien invaders suddenly darken the skyline across the world, as city sized flying saucers hover ominously over major cities world wide. A computer geek, David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), figures out how the alien ships are communicating with each other and realizes the import of what he has discovered. He manages to have an audience with President Whitmore (Bill Pullam), as his ex-wife is one of the president's top aides, and tells the president of his findings. Wonder at the alien saucer spectacle turns to terror, as the meaning of the ships in the sky becomes clear.

The White House evacuates just in time, as the aliens launch a world wide attack in complete synchronization, an awesome spectacle that enthralls the viewer. A counter attack is launched, led by fighter pilot Captain Steve Hiller (Will Smith), which ends in disaster for the fighter pilots, as only Hiller survives to fight another day. He manages, however, to bring in a captive. Notwithstanding the gravity of the premise of the film, there are moments of comic relief interspersed throughout.

Meanwhile, our computer geek, realizing why the counter attack failed, comes up with a solution, one that requires nerves of steel and a desire to walk on the wild side. A second counter attack is launched world wide, which leads to some terrific action scenes and heroics by a most unlikely candidate. Naturally, mankind is victorious. It is not the victory itself, however, but what leads up to the victory that makes the film so entertaining.

This is a fast paced film with a myriad of subplots and coincidental pairings that may stretch the viewer's credence but do not take away from the enjoyment of the film. The special effects are dazzling. The cast is excellent. Will Smith is charming and funny throughout. Bill Pullam is appropriately presidential, and Jeff Goldblum is a most convincing computer geek. Look for fine performances from the stellar supporting cast: Mary McConnell, Robert Loggia, Margaret Colin, Randy Quaid, Judd Hirsch, James Rebhorn, Harry Connick, Jr., and Harvey Fierstein. All in all, this is a marvelous film.

Be prepared for an unintended poignant moment in the film, when the camera pans to the New York skyline and the viewer sees the World Trade Center twin towers standing proud and tall on the horizon. It is a moment that gives the viewer pause in remembrance of what was. It is, indeed, a moment to remember.

The quality of this two disc DVD is superlative with crystal clear visuals and great sound quality. The letterbox format offers both the theatrical release version and the special edition version from which to choose. The special edition version offers an extra nine minutes of restored footage. The second disc offers a myriad of features, including an interesting thirty minute documentary on the making of the film. All in all, this two disc DVD is a terrific value and well worth having in one's collection.
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on May 18, 2016
The movie is awesome and the soundtrack is stellar ... but I already owned the older edition of the blu-ray, and purchased this because it boasted a 7.1 soundtrack. If you look on it will show the back-cover that shows the advertised 7.1 soundtrack.

So if you already own the older copy and do not care about the bonus features disc, don't re-purchase this. If you don't already own the blu-ray, definitely go for this one.
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on October 18, 1999
Okay okay, so it is all about the effects but isn't that the point of these films?!
If you aren't interested in seeing what it would look like if huge spaceships descended on famed capital cities and blew them to pieces, then how we fight back, don't see the movie. I think all movies are good for what they are...and ID4 has some of the best effects I have ever seen in a movie - ever.
I have watched the film quite a few times and still get a thrill out of seeing the Empire State building blasting from inside out and walls of fire engulfing numerous cities. I thought the idea of tieing in the famous Rosewell incident was quite clever.
I'm sure this movie provided some inspiration for the several following disaster films of the late 90s.
If you want to sit back, relax and enjoy an evening dazzled by spectacular effects, the odd bit of humour and on-going action then definitely watch this movie.
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on January 15, 2010
More then a decade after the release of 90's mega-hit Independence Day, I'm still amazed, and amused at the people who insist on questioning the science behind. I have heard it all: The physics are wrong, those ships couldn't possibly hover above those cities without causing damage, military jets can't do that and don't even get me started on the nukes... you get the picture. It really brings a smile to my face. Then there are those who question the film's virtues on plot, story, characters and acting. Those people (even if they have a point) also make me laugh.

Quite simply, those people simply don't get it. Independence Day is not, and was never meant to be "scientificaly accurate". In fact, it was never meant to be taken as high drama or be an award contender (although those special effects deserve mention). Independence Day is a campy, tongue-in-cheek tribute to 50's sci-fi and you know what? I'm fine with that. It's the perfect pop-corn film. Before Roland Emmerich found success (thanks to this film) and tried to make the end of the world his ongoing obsession (along with taking himself too seriously) he made two gems that us movie fans will love forever: Stargate and this film. The merits and flaws of this film have been discussed ad nauseaum so let's look at the blu-ray release.

First the transer which, I think, is pretty outstanding. Considering this film was made way before the advent of HD, the film looks quite beautiful. Colors are bright and natural, textures are well defined.The military uniforms are a perfect example of this. There are a few flaws here and there but nothing major. There is some grain but I'm fine with that. It is film after all. A scene or two might look soft but again, unless you are looking for the specifics you will hardly notice. Even the effects, which were done right before the onset of CGI hold up very well. All the model work, motion control shots and blue screen compositions look seamless. This is especially noteworthy because High Definition has a tendency to reveal stuff that filmakers thought would stay hidden thanks to the "character" of traditional film. In this case, the hiding was very well done or the people who transfered the film really did their homework. By the way, if you own any type of Home Theater setup, get ready to get your senses attacked. The mix is pretty outstanding too.

On the special features front, this release has a major flaw: It does not include the extended version of the Ultimate Edition DVD. It only includes the theatrical version which is fine but here is the thing: The best extra by far in the package is the pop-up track that gives you little details of the film and it's production as you watch the film. The track is very insightful and fans of the film will really enjoy learning all the details, bloopers and stories. The problem is the track mentions the extended scenes of the DVD several times and makes you wonder why the heck didn't they just include them. In fact there is a lot of extras missing that were in the Ultimate Edition. One could argue that some of that stuff is outdated but they did include the original commentary track from the DVD and that certainly has not aged well. So what gives? My guess? Independence Day: Super-Mega-Ultra-Ultimate Blu-Ray 15th(or 20th) Anniversary Edition. You know how it goes.

Independence Day is a very entertaining film and it has aged very well. The transfer is awsome and looks great in HD. Some might hesitate knowing that there will probably a bigger release with more and newer features down the road but in my opinion the price of this blu-ray disc has come down enough to not feel too guilty about it.
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