‘Saving Private Ryan’ is one of the greatest films ever made. Not only is it in that first-class discussion, but it’s arguably the best war movie ever made too. When it first hit the market in High Definition, that was a treat to say the least, but it’s been topped yet again. The original film master was scanned in native 4K for this release, plus it’s been given color grades in both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. What do you get when you put it all together? An Ultra HD Blu-ray at the highest standard, right from the brilliant mind of Steven Spielberg.
Plot: Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Surrounded by the brutal realties of war, while searching for Ryan, each man embarks upon a personal journey and discovers their own strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honor, decency and courage.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Runtime: 169 min
Unboxing (see below)
Review: There is a fine layer of grain throughout, but with the way this movie was shot — it gives it that grit a war movie needs. If anything it helps clean up the high intensity shots when you get a moving camera. That’s not to say the presentation is perfect, there are some soft shots, but nothing that takes away from the film. Where this movie really shines in the many close ups in it’s 4K presentation. There are so many times you will notice a high level of detail on people’s faces from shadows to skin contrast to worn/ripped military outfits or even the cracks being more noticeable in the debris (piles of brick, stone and wood.) It’s the little things like that — especially in a film like this one — where it makes it look like you’re watching a documentary.
I jotted down some of highlights during last night’s watch — not to say that this is all of them, just some of the things that caught my eye.
When they pan over and zoom in on Private Jackson (sniper) — you get so much clarity down to the pores on his skin, plus sweat, sand and dirt (on his face) clear as day before he takes the shot.
In the “that’s quite a view” scene where the camera zooms in on Tom Hanks until it’s just his eyes on the screen before scanning over the battlefield. It’s amazing how much detail is present, even down to the little hairs in-between his eyebrows.
The Battalion walking through a field right after they were given the main assignment: all the background greenery is enhanced and you can pick up on the subtle details while they are talking to each other — like the shadows casted from their helmets onto their faces, little details on their uniforms, etc.
While the Battalion rests up in the church you get a bunch of 1 on 1 banter talk — this equals a lot of close ups with no motion, perfect for a 4K presentation. The candle-lit lighting across the entire scene shows their faces in a bunch of high-resolution looks with shots that look like they were filmed yesterday. The black levels around the dark scenes brings all the natural color to the forefront.
Preparing for battle just before the last sequence starts. You get a lot of closeups of weapons being loaded, laying wire across a field of debris to prepping & lighting the molotov cocktails. You also get a lot of looks of the Battalion planting themselves behind barriers, peeking out from cover as the enemy draws closer. All the grit that you would need from a scene like that is present throughout.
Conclusion: In my personal opinion, this is one of the greatest war movies ever made. It’s a movie that everyone has to watch, not just once, but a few times… at least. It’s amazing to me that a film released 20 years ago has peaked yet again, both in audio and visual presentation. This native 4K masterpiece is as real as it gets. The more real it feels, the more drawn in you’ll become, then naturally — the more drawn in, the more of an impact you’re expierence will be.
This does just that. Wow!
‘Saving Private Ryan’ is not only a staple for your collection, but it’s an absolute essential in the 4K UHD format. It’s literally FUBAR if you don’t pick it up. (had to do it!)
There are only a handful of films that I will buy over and over again — and this is one of them. If you love this movie, make sure you pick it up when it releases via Paramount May 8th.