Updated: May 31
4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS
Capt. John Miller (Tom Hanks) steps aside from his squad and breaks down with emotion after the death of Medic Wade (Giovanni Ribisi).
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"SAVING PRIVATE RYAN: 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION"
4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital copy; 1998; R for intense, prolonged, realistically graphic sequences of war violence, and for language; Streaming via Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes (4K), Vudu, YouTube
Best extra: A 90-minute documentary, "Shooting War," highlights the heroic efforts of World War II combat cameramen in Europe and the Pacific theater
IT'S DISTURBING. It's powerful. It's touching. Steven Spielberg's brutal D-Day masterpiece is the ultimate 4K home theater experience.
Newsreel imagery by Oscar winner Janusz Kaminski is impeccable on 4K, especially when the camera moves toward the eyes of Capt. John Miller (Tom Hanks), giving a glimpse into his soul. Paramount kept every single ounce of the gritty film grain for superb sharpness and depth sourced from the original 35mm camera negative and mastered in 4K.
Oddly, the aspect ratio has changed from 1.85:1 to 1.78:1, which gives a little vertical depth with the picture.
The HDR toning expands the visual depth with a much deeper black level, while the highlights are brighter and controlled for a true lifelike picture - especially with natural facial toning. Spielberg purposely desaturated the colors during the combat scenes, while the 4K picture still extracts a richer color palette when needed for environmental landscapes.
On the audio front nothing compares to the new Dolby Atmos soundtrack as the height speakers expand the sound to new levels. Once you hear the opening sequence (ranging near 100 decibels) with bullets whizzing and mortars exploding from speaker to speaker, you'll quickly realize why "Saving Private Ryan" won an Oscar for Best Sound.
A third Blu-ray disc contains all of the extras found on the previous 10th Anniversary set including ten featurettes breaking down the production, which was filmed in Ireland for the carnage of Omaha Beach and a former British aerospace factory transformed into a small French village for the final showdown.
The biggest surprise from the "Shooting War" feature narrated by Hanks: All of the real combat footage from D-Day was accidentally dropped into the English Channel except for one roll that generated less than 10 seconds of raw action.
Don't miss one of Mr. Spielberg's finest works.
— Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer