Top critical review
Beware This Triple Threat From The Aliens At Fox
on May 13, 2004
This latest DVD release of Independence Day marks the third time this film has been repackaged. While this practice of what I like to call "double dipping", (or is it triple dipping in this case?) is certainly not new, every studio has done this at some point. What makes this release particularly shamefull though, is the fact that, the only reason it exists is to promote another film, as it's readied for theatrical realese.
The film itself, also known as ID4, tries to be a throwback to the "disaster" films of the 70s. A huge cast of well known actors tries to overcome a major threat and be victorious in the end. Anyone familar with an alien saga known as V, will likely find many similarities between that mini series, and this film. Huge spacecrafts are in orbit around Earth and can be seen over many cities. The world wonders what these visitors have in store for us. David (Jeff Goldblum) determines that the aliens have begun counting down. He and his father (Judd Hirsch) race to Washington D.C. to tell the President (Bill Pullman). Shortly after the 2 men arrive at the White House, the aliens attack, and those that are left, decide to fight back.
Thanks to Will Smith the film is saved. The film is your typical "event" movie, many of which, do have a place in cinema history. The effects are pretty good and the film manages to entertain, despite a very contrived script, and lopsided second act. I would consider this film to be a VERY guilty pleasure of mine. As I implied earlier, Will Smith takes what he is given to do and helps to makes it work somehow. Brought to you by the team that made the awful Godzilla remake, a few years later, at least ID4 gave viewers some fun characters to root for.
The "limited edition" DVD main extras are merely lifed from the previous versions. The film viewer can select to watch either the original theatrical cut, or the special edition version, with 9 minutes of additional footage. The extended scenes don't really add much to the story, but it's still nice to have the option to choose. The two audio commentary tracks are O.K. (at best) The first, features director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin, both men are fine I guess, but some of their comments are laughable---comparing ID4 to the original Star Wars-c'mon! The second track features special effects wizzards (and Oscar winners) Volker Engle and Doug Smith. This stuff gets a bit technical at times and may lose some folks. Now for really ugly stuff. The hyped and "exclusive" sneak peek at the making of Emmerich's The Day After Tomorrow, amounts to nothing more than a quick 2 minute commercial for the movie. It doesn't really add much to what's already out there about the movie.
I would say that if you don't already own ID4 on DVD, you could buy this, and be satisfied. If you own the "Five Star Collection" 2 disc set, skip this altogether. There's nothing "new"...If you do buy the Limited Edition, you will find a free movie-money coupon good for admission to The Day After Tomorrow--during its first 2 weeks or so, of release...At least if it turns out to be bad, you can say you saw it for free.