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Posted: 12 Aug 2012, 22:04 

Independence Day: ID4 (1996) [0411885]

The Movie:
You are advised not to discharge your firearms at the alien spacecraft - it might inadvertently trigger interstellar war.
With the special effects boom in the mid to late 1990s, the disaster film reared its ugly head once more, with such extravaganzas as Dante's Peak, Armageddon, Deep Impact, Volcano, and my favorite of them all - Independence Day.
Mixing the disaster elements of toppling cities and large explosions with the classic sci fi plot of an alien invasion, Independence Day represents all I enjoy in film making. With a stellar cast featuring Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, and Robert Loggia an alien invasion has never hit the screen with such style and splendor.
Wait - what the hell am I telling you all this about? EVERYONE has a copy of Independence Day on Laserdisc. It's the top disc in everyone's collection, and if you don't already have a copy or two(I have two myself) you're probably collecting Laserdisc wrong. I don't need to tell you about Independence Day, you've probably already seen it 6 six times on six different copies.
Bottom line is that even though it's cheesy as all hell and has plenty of shallowness and hammy dialogue, I absolutely love Independence Day through and through. For many years it sat atop my list of favorite films and was only recently dethroned by The Dark Knight Rises. If you haven't seen it, go out and form your own opinion - mine seems to be that of a small minority.

Video:
Exploding onto Laserdisc with a 2.35:1 letterboxed transfer, Independence Day looks....ok on Laserdisc. Despite it's high regards with the ratings on its LDDB page, I find that for the most part, it's merely adequate. Most scenes don't pop off the screen compared to several other films in its class, especially in the third act of the film. Fine details, even for Laserdisc occasionally seem obscured for the last half hour or so. To be fair however, Independence Day does shine when ever something explodes, as the rippling explosions look fantastic. The special effects scenes are top notch, while everything else seems moderately flat.
Signal noise is present in moderation through out the film though it never really becomes distracting.

Audio:
Be prepared to crank your 5.1 surround receiver as ID4 may have one of the most impressive AC3 encoded digital surround tracks on the format. Lows are constantly being pumped out of the .1 LFE track, while the devastation echoes all around you as building crumble under the heat of the gaining explosions. The annihilation of Los Angelos on the first side of the film is especially impressive, with the sound of buildings shattering all around you as the score pumps through the front speakers. Be warned, playing this film at anything less than 11 is seen as unfair treatment of your surround field. That's how good it sounds.

Import Dissection:
For those of you who collect Japanese Laserdiscs, this one may seem less than enticing. It shares the exact same video and audio transfers, plus an additional layer of subtitles on top of the letterboxed frame. There seems to be no motivation to pick this one up other than an excellent front jacket art. Only for the most hardcore of Japanese LD collectors who have everything else and can find it cheap.

Overall:
Buy it if you don't already have it, and skip it if you can't handle a little cheese on the side of your epic cinema. It's fun above all, and those who expect a deep and thought provoking movie should look elsewhere. I however, love every minute of it, and will continue watching it for years to come.
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