Release Date(s)2016 (October 18, 2016)
Studio(s)TSG/Centropolis Entertainment (20th Century Fox)
- Film/Program Grade: C-
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B-
Set twenty years after the original film, Independence Day: Resurgence opens on an Earth united in an effort to exploit the recovered alien technology in defense of Humanity. Despite having lost the first round, however, the aliens return with a vengeance and even bigger spaceships, determined to core the Earth like an apple for the energy in its magma. Naturally, Humanity isn’t going down without a fight.
Independence Day: Resurgence is, at times, a mildly entertaining movie. Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly good one. Returning for the action are original cast members Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, and Brent Spiner (Will Smith apparently declined to participate). Newcomers include Liam Hemsworth, Miaka Monroe, Jessie Usher, and Sela Ward. There’s spectacle a-plenty here, with some good action set pieces (including a giant alien chasing a school bus full of kids around the desert near Area 51). But as the scale of the threat in this film is quite literally planet-sized, and thus much farther over-the-top than it was in the original Independence Day (see our 4K review here), even the best of the human characters tend to get lost in the mix. So too does a potentially interesting subplot involving benevolent aliens who’ve come to help. Sadly, this film’s biggest problem is an insurmountable one: Unlike the original, it too often forgets to have fun.
The film was shot digitally in Redcode RAW format using Red Epic and Weapon cameras. The final DI was finished in full 4K, though many VFX sequences were rendered in 2K only. Quality-wise, Fox’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray delivers excellent an image (at the 2.39:1 theatrical aspect ratio), with plenty of fine detail, deep blacks, and brilliant brights. But colors tend to be stylistically muted until the action kicks in, when laser blasts and explosions are a bit more lush and vibrant, so the film doesn’t pack quite the HDR sizzle you may be expecting. Primary audio is an English Dolby Atmos mix that delivers a tremendous sonic punch, with plenty of immersion and overhead channel effects. Secondary audio options include English Descriptive Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS 5.1 in French, Castilian Spanish, German, and Italian. Subtitle options are available in a multitude of languages, including English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
The 4K disc includes a feature-length audio commentary by Roland Emmerich (again with optional subtitles in English and several other languages). A Blu-ray Disc included in the package also offers the film in 1080p HD, along with the commentary, and adds the following extras in HD:
- Deleted Scenes (8 scenes with optional Emmerich commentary – 8:24 in all)
- The War of 1996 (in-universe TV news special – 5:11)
- It’s Early Albuquerque! (in-universe TV morning show – 3:01)
- Another Day: The Making of Independence Day: Resurgence (4-part documentary – 55:25)
- Gag Reel (6:14)
- Concept Art (5 galleries)
- Theatrical Trailers (2 trailers and a TV spot – 5:18 in all)
The film is also available (separately) in Blu-ray 3D format, but unfortunately that disc isn’t included here. You do, however, get a code for a Digital HD copy on a paper insert in the package.
Independence Day: Resurgence is a classic case of second verse, bigger than the first. Still, if you’re looking for a popcorn-munching eye-candy experience, you’ll probably get your money’s worth. The film is certainly worth seeing at least, though your mileage will probably vary.
- Bill Hunt