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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Science Fiction > Independence Day (Region 2/DTS)

Independence Day (Region 2 DTS DVD Edition)

 

Picture: B+†††† Sound: A-†††† Extras: B†††† Film: B

 

 

Itís truly hard to believe that Independence Day (or ID4 as it became known) is now nearly a decade old at the time of this review.I suppose that is hard to believe because it seems like so much has happened since then, and then again, so little.In the world of blockbusters it would seem much has happened and in the same vein, so little.Going back and watching this film again I was quickly reminded of the decline in filmmaking in recent years because I was actually enjoying this film probably more than I did even the very first time.Reason?Well, I had to pick my brain a bit and figure out why that could be.My conclusion led me to the understanding that the film is a solid piece of popcorn fluff, but the watered down effect that has happened since has caused the film to actually age better than what is currently hitting the theater.

 

Roland Emmerich directed this film shortly after his success with Stargate and then plummeted to unbelievable lows with his version of Godzilla, followed by equally bad The Patriot and then The Day After Tomorrow.There are many similarities in his films; most of them have to do with destruction. In comparing The Day After Tomorrow with ID4 there is a great sense of a gap occurring.Where ID4 was big, explosive, and over-the-top, it still had charm about it.The Day After Tomorrow displaced that charm with idiocy.However, this review is merely to emphasize the coolness of getting the Region 2 DTS edition, which is far superior to every DVD edition released of this film in the U.S.Sad huh?††

 

Roland Emmerich has had a huge success rate when it comes to his films on DVD.For example there have been 4,352 releases of his film Stargate on DVD, actually that number is a bit of an exaggeration, but letís say there have been at least four that I can count.The most recent included a DTS-ES soundtrack that was quite good.Then Columbia TriStar issued Superbit editions of Godzilla and The Patriot, which were also quite good.The Day After Tomorrow (reviewed on this site) also included a DTS audio track along with some extras.I suppose it is safe to say that DTS is something Emmerich prefers, but for some odd reason ID4 does not have that option inside the U.S.Out of all of those films, this is the film that Fox should have issued in DTS, especially when it was part of their Five Star Series.The Die Hard Trilogy was re-issued as part of that same series and was upgraded to DTS, but not ID4.

 

Well, leave it to the U.S. market to mess things up, but alas the Region 2 Edition got things right, and boy did they ever!The DTS 5.1 mix for this film is top-notch and then some!The Dolby Digital track that was provided on the U.S. DVDís was always missing quite a bit.While it did have itís moments, it also lacked some of the depth and most of all the bass that should have been heard, but where that fell short, the DTS makes up for.I want to point out that loudness does not make up for bass or fidelity for that matter.DTS outperforms Dolby Digital simply because itís higher bit rate allows for less compression and enables the listener to hear sweeter high end and more aggressive, yet well-pronounced low end.

 

From the opening credits you instantly become immersed in this sound experience.Partly because the ambience and the extremely low-end roar slowly fills up the room and is ready to take over at any moment.The entire film essentially builds and swells up into a moment of absolute chaos, at that moment the surrounds and every channel in your setup becomes engaged in all-out-war!The split surrounds are busy at every moment possible with plenty of front soundstage happenings as well.This is one of the best-balanced mixes because dialogue and other important information is still penetrating through the center channel despite how engaged the rest of the channels have become.70mm blow-ups of the film were shown with DTS, and the old 12Ē DTS LaserDisc of the film is the only DTS version still to this day issued in the U.S., despite all the DVD versions.

 

Itís almost impossible to not love a film when it sounds this good, or at least find it entertaining.This was one of the films that was out right around the time that blockbuster movies were at a record number.Going back it seems that those films hold up better than imagined.For example, Armageddon, The Fugitive, The Rock, Con Air, Face/Off, Air Force One, True Lies, and some of the others that seam to be synonymous with these are sometimes worth revisiting, even if it is for a mere laugh.Will Smith of course practically reprised his role here, although with a more comedic twist the following year with Men in Black.

 

There are some definite connections this film has with both the original and the remake of War of the Worlds and of course The Day the Earth Stood Still, which is actually playing on the TV in one of the scenes.Not only was this film meant to be heard, but also seen big and the DVD here presented in 2.35 X 1 anamorphic PAL looks pleasing and then some.My only gripe is with the black level a bit, but other than that flesh tones seem accurate and natural as the color palette comes across strong and defined.If you have a good PAL/NTSC converter in your machine it will look really great with no blocking effect or choppiness.

 

The extras on the DVD appear to be the same as that issued for the Special Edition here in the U.S.Not the Five-Star Edition though, but the single disc re-issue.What most consumers will want though is the better sound that is once again offered outside the U.S.Question isÖhow long will the American consumer have to wait for better editions of DVDís when the market outside the U.S. seems to understand that people want quality with quantity?

 

 

NOTE: Since we ran this, the film was issued in a terrific Blu-ray High Definition edition with even better DTS and you can read more about it at this link:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/6720/Independence+Day+(1996/Blu-ray)

 

 

-†† Nate Goss


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