Independence Day: Resurgence (Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 19-Oct-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Deleted Scenes-x 7 (8:24)
Featurette-The War of 1996 (5:11)
Featurette-It’s Early ABQ! (3:07)
Featurette-Making Of-Another Day (55:25)
More…-Gag Reel (6:14)
Audio Commentary-Director Roland Emmerich
Gallery-Concept Art
Trailer-Two Theatrical Trailers and one TV Spot.
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 119:44
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Roland Emmerich
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Bill Pullman
Jeff Goldblum
Jessie Usher
Liam Hemsworth
Maika Monroe
Brent Spiner
Angelababy
Judd Hirsch
Charlotte Gainsbourg
William Fichtner
Sela Ward
Travis Tope
Deobia Oparei
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Thomas Wander
Harold Kloser


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish
French
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Arabic
Estonian
Hebrew
Icelandic
Korean
Latvian
Lithuanian
Russian
English Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
Korean Audio Commentary
Russian Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

We had twenty years to prepare . . .
So did they

     It has been twenty years since the peoples of the Earth defeated an alien invasion, although the causalities numbered in the tens of millions. The survivors had learnt to live in peace with each other and using the advanced technology of the aliens had produced a new generation of fighter aircraft, transport vehicles and cannons, a satellite defence system, and defence stations on the Moon and on a moon of Saturn. Area 51 in Nevada had been expanded, re-equipped and renamed the Space Defence Headquarters; it is also a prison for the dozens of aliens captured in the previous invasion.

     Many of the individuals involved in the defeat of the 1996 invasion had moved on, others had not. Ex-President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) is a broken man who still suffers nightmares because the aliens had got inside his brain, while Dr Okun (Brent Spiner), who was even more affected by the aliens, has been comatose for 20 years. Whitmore’s daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe) cares for her father and is a speechwriter for the current president Elizabeth Lanford (Sela Ward), although previously she had been a fighter pilot in a squadron with Dylan Hiller (Jessie Usher), the son of Steve Hiller, the hero of 1996 who had since been killed in an accident. Also in the squadron had been bad boy Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), who is Patricia’s fiancé but because of indiscipline has been relegated to flying the freight hauling Moon Tugs with his best friend Charlie (Travis Tope). The squadron, now commanded by Dylan and including Chinese pilot Rain Lao (Angelababy), have been sent to the Moon Defence station.

     Area 51 is commanded by General Adams (William Fichtner) but its director is David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), another hero of 1996. As the film starts David has journeyed to East Africa to investigate one of the alien ships that had crash landed in 1996. There he meets warlord Dikembe (Deobia Oparei) and old sparring partner, psychologist Catherine Marceaux (Charlotte Gainsbourg). The alien ship has remained dormant until now, suddenly its lights are back on while in Area 51 the previously comatose prisoner aliens are suddenly very active. Meanwhile, David’s father Julius (Judd Hirsch) is touring aged care homes spruiking his book “How I Saved the World” and Dylan’s mother Jasmine Hiller (Vivica A. Fox), once a pole dancer, is now a hospital administrator.

     When an alien spacecraft suddenly appears near the Moon Base, David Levinson believes that this is a different type of alien, not the same as those that attacked before, and he urges restraint; however the President orders that it be destroyed and it crashes into a crater on the Moon. David, in a craft flown by Jake and Charlie, journeys to the crash site and retrieves part of the wreckage, including a large spherical ball like object. However, at that moment the real alien enemy arrives over the Moon in a mothercraft that is 3,000 miles long; blasting the Moon base, it moves on to attack the earth. Fire and destruction ensues, landmarks and cities are obliterated. The Earth fighter squadrons attack with limited results, Dr Okun awakes and communicates with the alien sphere and Julius Levinson ends up with a school bus full of children including Sam (Joey King) on the Salt Flats in the middle of the action.

     Director Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day (1996) was big, loud, jingoistic and dumb, but it did destroy the White House, have a sense of fun and Will Smith was in fine form. It also made a mint, so a sequel was mooted although one did not eventuate until 2016. Will Smith apparently wanted big money to reprise his role so was killed off, but otherwise Emmerich’s Independence Day: Resurgence works very much on the principle that more, and bigger, is better. Thus the story ventures into space and the Moon, the aliens, especially the Queen, are seen early and there are action sequences inside the mothership, a tsunami, cities including London and Singapore are pulverised and the usual explosions and dogfights occur, culminating with an attack on the alien Queen on the salt flats as she chases a school bus!

     The film takes over 30 minutes to introduce (or reintroduce) the old and new characters; a glance at the plot summary above gives an idea of just how many there are and how convoluted is the scripting. Some of the returning characters add little to the main plot, such as the character played by Vivica A. Fox while new characters include Chinese to appeal to the mass Chinese audience; in China Angelababy is a popular model and actress while Chin Han, who plays the Moon Base commander, was named as one of the 25 greatest old time Asian actors (it apparently worked, as the film made a lot of money in China). A black actor Deobia Oparei appears as an African warlord handy with swords while other speaking characters, such as Nicholas Wright (Floyd Rosenberg) who seems to be there because Rosenberg is one of the writers, creates a focus away from the main characters and confuses the plotlines.

     One of the pleasures of Independence Day was the way it used miniatures combined with digital effects that often looked impressive, such as the destruction of the White House. In contrast, almost nothing in Independence Day: Resurgence is practical. The extras on this Blu-ray do show that a Moon Tug, a fighter, part of Area 51 and the Moon Base were built, however, all the aliens and the alien craft were CGI, which might be expected but the filmmakers’ desire to make everything bigger only manages to highlight the unreality of what is on the screen and sequences such as the tsunami, the firestorm as the mother ship enters the Earth’s atmosphere, the buildings of Dubai picked up and dropped on London or the disintegration of Singapore do not convince.

     Independence Day: Resurgence is certainly bigger, louder, dumber and even more contrived than Independence Day, bursting at the seams with explosions, destruction, characters and plot; there is even a bit with a dog, children in peril, some tacked on love interest and the death of a few characters, but the whole lacks cohesion. At the end, the film sets up a sequel; Independence Day 3 has been announced so it will be interesting to see if it now goes ahead given the critical and audience reaction to Independence Day: Resurgence which currently sits around 30% on rottentomatoes.com.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Independence Day: Resurgence is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Detail in interior sequences is strong, and close-ups are fine. But this is a film with copious blue screen segments and CGI effects, with totally digital sequences such as the tsunami, destruction of cities, the firestorm as the alien mothership arrives and dozens of alien and Earth aircraft whizzing around the screen amid explosions; the result is a lack of crispness and some detail. Colours are generally natural, blacks and shadow detail excellent. Skin tones are natural, contrast and brightness consistent. Marks and artefacts were absent.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available plus a wide range of European languages and Korean. A range of subtitles are also provided for the audio commentary.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The principal audio is English DTS-HA MA 7.1, there are Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish and Ukrainian dubs in Dolby Digital 5.1 plus English descriptive audio (Dolby Digital 5.1) and an English commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0).

     I am not set up for 7.1 but even in 5.1 this audio is loud and stunning with music, engines, explosions, weaponry, destruction, a tsunami, alien screams and general mayhem filling the sound stage while the rumble of the alien mothership will rattle the windows. The subwoofer was frequently active adding oomph to the alien craft, explosions, building destruction and the like. Through all this the dialogue was clean, resulting in a good sound design.

     The original score by Thomas Wander and Harold Kloser felt somewhat overwhelmed by the mayhem on screen although it did sample the recognisable ID4 theme by David Arnold.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Deleted Scenes (8:24)

     These deleted scenes can be played with or without commentary by director Roland Emmerich, who explains why each was cut; I had to laugh when he said one was cut as it was too contrived - most of the film is contrived! A number of the scenes were cut early in the production and have incomplete CGI and blue screens. They can be selected separately or there is a play all option. The scenes are:

.

The War of 1996 (5:11)

     A fax “Special Report” on TV in 2016 looking back at the events of the last invasion in 1996 and how the world has prepared for the next invasion.

It’s Early ABQ! (3:07)

     Julius and David Levinson (Judd Hirsch and Jeff Goldblum) appear on early morning Abaquerky (sic) TV promoting Julius’ book “How I Saved the World”.

Another Day: The Making of Independence Day: Resurgence (55:25)

     This feels a bit like an extended EPK as everyone has only praise for everyone else, everything was “amazing” and most of the comments are pretty superficial. The featurette utilises film clips, on-set and behind the scenes footage showing a lot of blue screen, stills and concept art and pre-vis segments plus the comments of director / writer Roland Emmerich, cast Jessie Usher, Judd Hirsch, William Fichtner, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Brent Spiner, Liam Hemsworth, Vivica A Fox, Maika Monroe, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Deobia Oparei, co-writer Dean Devlin, who comments that “there has never been a good sequel to a disaster movie” before proceeding to say why this is different, composer Harald Kloser, DP Markus Forderer, two executive producers, the visual effects supervisor, special effects director, three art directors, the production designer and general foreman.

     Things discussed include cast members talking about their characters, including how the ones that were in the first film have changed over 20 years, and how Earth has used alien technology to create new vehicles and weapons. Some sets and vehicles were built, such as the Moon Tug, a fighter plane and part of the Moon Base and Area 51 and everyone is very proud of how much feels “real” and how much was done for real, but then the next section of the featurette indicates that over 70% of the film’s shots involved blue screens. The featurette ends with a number of the participants talking about a possible sequel. For the record, the featurette is divided into four chapters which can be selected individually, although there is a play all option:

Gag Reel (6:14)

     Goofing about and stuff ups, many featuring Jeff Goldblum or a dog.

Audio Commentary

     Not a great commentary by director Roland Emmerich which does not add much to the film; there are silences and he tends to explain what is happening on screen and plot points with very little technical information or anecdotes. He enjoys and prefers the freedom and speed of CGI effects and mentions the various effects houses used.

Concept Art

     This extra is divided into five separate sections – there is no “play all” option. In each section you can use the remote to advance to the next still, or select auto advance. There is no music. The sections are:

Trailers (5:18)

     Two theatrical trailers and one TV Spot for the film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region All US Blu-ray of Independence Day: Resurgence has the same language and subtitle options and extras, but does add a DVD of the film if that is of value. Apparently there is an extended version of Independence Day: Resurgence which runs about 7 minutes longer although it does not seem to have surfaced anywhere as yet.

Summary

     Independence Day: Resurgence conforms to the general rule about sequels not being as good as the originals and proves, once again, that bigger is not necessarily better. Trying to fit in old and new characters results in too many subsidiary characters and a convoluted story that lacks focus. It also lacks the emotion (however contrived) and the sheer fun and exuberance of Independence Day but if you enjoy explosions, the destruction of cities and landmarks, aliens on the rampage in massive spaceships and CGI based action then Independence Day: Resurgence can be a fun couple of hours.

     The video is a bit disappointing in places, the audio rocks the room. The extras are reasonable.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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