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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Independence Day: 20th Anniversary Edition 4K'
(Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, et al / Three-disc set (2 BD-50, 1 BD-66) / PG-13 / 2016 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: On July 2nd, communications systems worldwide are sent into chaos by a strange atmospheric interference. It is soon learned by the military that a number of enormous objects are on a collision course with Earth. At first thought to be meteors, they are later revealed to be gigantic spacecraft, piloted by a mysterious alien species.

Blu-ray Verdict: Fox Home Entertainment is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this June with the release of the recently announced ‘Independence Day: 20th Anniversary Edition’ from director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin in the new 4K home video format on June 7th.

The ‘Independence Day 4K UHD’ Blu-ray combo pack includes the theatrical and newly restored extended cuts in 4K as well as 1080p Blu-ray with Audio in DTS: X. It truly is masterful what they have done to this movie for 'Independence Day' is now presented in a vivid (man is it vivid!) HVEC/H.265 encode and HDR10 / WCG grading that is framed in the film's original 2.39:1 aspect ratio.

Indeed, 'Independence Day' brings forth this superb Ultra HD Blu-ray as part of this three-disc 20th Anniversary Edition combo-pack featuring one Ultra HD Blu-ray and one Blu-ray housing both the 2 hour and 24 minute theatrical and 2 hour and 33 minute extended cuts - plus audio commentaries, a second Blu-ray containing most of the special features, and a Digital HD redemption code for use with iTunes or Ultra Violet. Phew! There are no pre-menu trailers on the Ultra HD Blu-ray.

Overall, this is a strong UHD Blu-ray presentation, but one that is limited by its original source materials from over 20 years ago. That said, the audio department get a standing ovation and this is the strongest DTS:X sound mix I've heard thus far on these new formats. A 5.1 DTS-HD MA sound mix is stunning here now and has to be heard on surround sound to be truly appreciated, trust me.

As for the movie itself, well, admittedly ‘ID4’ is one of those semi-rare movies that people either love or hate. And in this case hate with a passion. Why? I'm still trying to figure that one out, but so far I believe the whiniest critics are just your stereotypical jaded art critics: self-centered pseudo-intellectuals with attitude who pounce on any flaws in anything they personally don't like just to show off their own vapid superiority. What do they want?

Yes, the movie has flaws, but it also has a lot of plot, a lot of heart, and a lot of action. Dialog? I make fun of the dialog myself... so what? The worst criticism I can lay against the writers is that a lot of the dialog is inane... just like real people talk! That just makes it more realistic. Have any of these critics ever listened to how real people talk?

Paying homage to 50's invasion movies, 70's disaster movies, Star Wars, War of the Worlds, etc., ID4 digs right in as huge alien saucers drop into our atmosphere and hover ominously over the 30 most “explodable” landmarks in the world. They soon reveal that they're - gasp! - unfriendly and start wiping out humanity city by city. The rest of the movie follows several groups of characters trying desperately to come up with a way to fend off the slimy visitors.

Regardless, and just getting that off my chest, ‘ID4’ is still a damn entertaining film. There is a large ensemble cast of good actors, some in career best roles. Will Smith was really launched as a movie star by this film and he has some very funny lines. Jeff Goldblum actually looks nerdy-cool as a scientist who likes to play chess in the park. And Bill Pullman is the clean-cut American President who proclaims that July 4th will no longer be an American holiday, but a world holiday! The rest of the ensemble cast includes small but meaty roles for Judd Hirsch, Randy Quaid and Vivica Fox. Harry Connick Jr. has a small part, but blows it completely. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

All-New 30-Minute Documentary – Independence Day: A Legacy Surging Forward
Commentary by Director Roland Emmerich and Producer Dean Devlin
Commentary by VFX Supervisors Volker Engel and Doug Smith
The Making of ID4
Original Theatrical Ending
Gag Reel
'Independence Day Resurgence' Trailer: (HD 2:07) (Blu-ray ONLY)
Datastream Trivia Track, and Much More!