Saving Private Ryan – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Saving Private Ryan Poster #1

The 90s gave us some of Steven Spielberg’s greatest films. Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, and Saving Private Ryan, just to name a few. Many consider the latter to be the greatest war film of all-time and with good reason. Saving Private Ryan is a perfect blend of action, drama, and heart. Still, to this day, many war films are compared to the level of Saving Private Ryan.

First, the action is absolutely superb and realistic. In fact, the Normandy invasion scene is still thrilling even by today’s standards. Yet the action isn’t as exciting as, let’s say, a John Wick or Michael Bay film. What makes it so compelling is its realistic and immersive action sequences. War is hell and the film display its hellish nature so well.

Also, there’s an immense amount of character drama in the film too. Every character in the company has their own unique personality. Some butt heads and some tease each other. Yet in the end, they’re all brothers-in-arms. However, the mission to save one man is a contentious one for them. As each one gets KIA, the motivation to continue the mission gets lower and lower. As a result, there’s a ton of character drama that happens in the film.

But all this character drama eventually leads to the film’s heart. After all, there are a lot of tender moments between these brothers-in-arms. Thus, you attach yourselves to these characters. That’s why, when one of them gets KIA, it hurts you as much as it hurts the characters. That’s why the film is as effective as it is and why audiences love this journey.

Then again, these tender moments wouldn’t be as effective without the amazing performances by the cast. Chief among them is Tom Hanks, whose charming and father like demeanor solidifies his role as the leader of the group. Not to mention, Tom Sizemore has the gravitas and hard-nosed presence to be Hanks’ second-in-command.

As for the rest of the company, they’re just as good in their respective roles. Each one of them immersing themselves in their individual characters and coming out with something that’s equally unique.

Overall, Saving Private Ryan should easily be one of the greatest war films of all-time. Some may even say the great of all-time. I wouldn’t go that far but Spielberg’s war epic is a special kind of film that’s worthy of all of its praise.

Movie Rating: 5/5 atoms

Saving Private Ryan - Tom Sizemore and Tom Hanks

Saving Private Ryan hits 4K Ultra HD with a Dolby Vision/HDR10 4K transfer and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Now, the film isn’t the most colorful of films but there is a striking difference over the 1080p version. The use of HDR is superb as the black levels and brightness provide the video with some depth and dimension. Not to mention, the HDR brings out colors that you never knew was there before. The overall palette is still limited but you’ll find an array of colors that seem to pop through here. You’ll see the reddish rust colors from Omaha beach and the olive greens from the uniforms. Also, you’ll see much more of the blue sky here too.

There’s also a dramatic increase in the detail clarity of the film too. Every canvas fabric, dirt, and facial stubble can easily be seen. The grain is still there but then again it’s always been a little grainy. Yet that’s by design to give the film its gritty look. But with this presentation, the grain comes and goes. At first it’s heavy and then it’s not. Overall, this is an incredible and worthy presentation for the film’s 20th-anniversary re-release.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Saving Private Ryan - Edward Burns, Giovanni Ribisi, Adam Goldberg, Tom Sizemore, and Barry Pepper

Saving Private Ryan hits 4K Ultra HD with a Dolby Atmos and a core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD track. The review will reflect Saving Private Ryan‘s core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD track. The audio for Saving Private Ryan has always been great. To this day, I use the 2010 Sapphire release of the film as a reference disc of my sound system. It’s quite hard to imagine that this presentation would improve on the DTS-HD Master Audio release from 8 years ago… But it does. The amount of immersion that the audio provides is breathtaking.

The surround pans and atmospheric effects are both dynamic and smooth. Not to mention, they’re accurately placed as well. Once again, the dialogue and John Williams’ score are crystal clear here. They never compete with each other. The bass from the subwoofer is louder than previous releases which are a good thing (unless you live in an apartment building). As you might expect, this is another reference quality release for Saving Private Ryan. In fact, it may have replaced the Sapphire release as my go-to reference disc.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Special Features
Saving Private Ryan - Adam Goldberg, Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, and Tom Sizemore

Saving Private Ryan‘s 4K Ultra HD disc doesn’t have any special features on it. However, you can find the following legacy special features on the release:

  • An Introduction
  • Looking into the Past
  • Miller and His Platoon
  • Boot Camp
  • Making Saving Private Ryan
  • Re-creating Omaha Beach
  • Music and Sound
  • Parting Thoughts
  • Into the Breach: Saving Private Ryan
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Re-release Trailer
  • Shooting War

One would think that for the 20th-anniversary of this film that there would be at least ONE new featurette. Yet, once again, we get the DVD SD featurettes from all the previous Blu-ray releases. Once again, the only HD content available is the trailers themselves.

If you’ve never seen the special features in the various releases, then you’re not missing much. A majority of them are EPK fluff that has not aged very well. The only two worth noting is the “Into the Breach” featurette. This piece features interviews from World War II veterans, the cast, and clips from the film. It’s a very educational piece and an entertaining one too. The other is “Shooting War,” a featurette about shooting the war itself in propaganda films. If you’ve seen Spielberg’s amazing “Five Came Back” docuseries then you know what I’m talking about. It’s an amazing featurette if you were a fan of “Five Came Back.”

Special Features Rating: 2.5/5 atoms

Overall, Saving Private Ryan is easily one of the best war films of all-time. Spielberg’s emotional cinematic masterpiece is a film that has justifiably attained classic status. The video is gorgeous and the audio is, once again, reference quality stuff. Sadly, the special features are the same as found in the other releases—none of which are in HD.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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