Blu-ray Review Drama

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review: Steven Spielberg’s War Epic ‘Saving Private Ryan’ Marks a Milestone with a Definitive New Anniversary Edition

May 10, 2018Ben MK

74 years ago, the largest manned invasion in history took place on the shores of Normandy. 54 years after that, director Steven Spielberg reenacted the battle in the opening scenes of what is widely considered one of the greatest war films of all time. Now, 20 years later, that movie is making its way to 4K.

In Saving Private Ryan, Tom Hanks leads a ragtag platoon of seven men (Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi and Jeremy Davies) on a mission that may not win the Allies the war. But for one mother who lost three of her sons in combat, all within the span of the same week, if they can succeed at finding and bringing home her fourth son (Matt Damon), then not only would they be helping to salvage a family — they would also be helping to save a little part of the humanity left in themselves as well.

Suffice to say, there's not much left to say about Saving Private Ryan that hasn't already been said in the last two decades. This is a film that doesn't shy away from depicting the horrors of war. However, it's also an emotional story about the quest for decency amid the violence, about valor in the face of despair, and about sacrifice earned.

Without a doubt, Saving Private Ryan has never looked or sounded better than it does in 4K. Picture quality is gritty, with a full gamut of detail to be found in such things as the debris that litters Omaha Beach or the French village where the finale takes place. The HDR color palette remains desaturated, yet whenever there is blood or fire on-screen, it is appropriately vivid. And the sounds made by 20-millimeter machine guns, hand grenades and approaching tanks are all recreated flawlessly, thanks to the disc's full-metal Dolby Atmos sound mix.

Paramount's two-disc Ultra HD Blu-ray release includes an iTunes/Ultraviolet digital copy and a Blu-ray copy of the film. There are no special features on the 4K disc, but the following extras can be found on the Blu-ray disc:

  • An Introduction (2:35) - Director Steven Spielberg talks about his fascination with WWII and making Saving Private Ryan for the veterans of that war.
  • Looking into the Past (4:40) - Spielberg and screenwriter Robert Rodat talk about the research done for the film and basing the story on a similar real-life story.
  • Miller and his Platoon (8:23) - A look at the characters and performances of Tom Hanks and the other seven actors in his platoon.
  • Boot Camp (7:37) - Retired Captain Dale Dye talks about his role as Senior Military Advisor on the film.
  • Making Saving Private Ryan (22:05) - A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, in particular the production design, costume design and cinematography.
  • Re-Creating Omaha Beach (17:58) - A look at recreating this historic battle on a beach in Ireland with members of the Irish Army reserves.
  • Music and Sound (15:59) - Composer John Williams talks about his work scoring the film and Sound Designer Gary Rydstrom talks about the film's sound design.
  • Parting Thoughts (3:43) - The cast and crew share their thoughts about the film.
  • Into the Breach: Saving Private Ryan (25:01) - Another behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.
  • Theatrical Trailer (2:16)
  • Re-release Trailer (2:05)
  • Shooting War (1:28:05) - Tom Hanks hosts this 2000 documentary about the combat cameramen of World War II.

Saving Private Ryan is available from Paramount Home Entertainment as of May 8th, 2018. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish subtitles. The total runtime is 2 hrs. 49 min.

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