Saving Private Ryan (Sapphire Series) [Blu-ray]
If you haven’t seen Saving Private Ryan here is a brief description – Saving Private Ryan is about a team of U.S. Soldiers, led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) sent to locate and return James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon, Invictus) whose three brothers died on D-Day. Ryan a member of the 101st Airborne Division (whose story is told in the HBO Miniseries “Band Of Brothers) is lost behind enemy lines. Along with his team which includes – Sergeant Horvath (Tom Sizemore, Heat); Corporal Upham (Jeremy Davies, Rescue Dawn); Medic Wade (Avatar) and Privates Reiben (Edward Burns, The Incredible Hulk); Jackson (We Were Soldiers), Mellish (Adam Goldberg, Deja Vu) and Caparzo (Vin Diesel, XXX, The Fast and the Furious) they must survive rough landscapes, hidden enemies, fighting amongst themselves and must overcome their own fears to find and save Private Ryan.
Right away on the opening action scene where the soldiers land on Omaha Beach, the audio stands out and is crisp, clear and amazingly active. Bullets whiz by with a sound that is sweet until you see and hear them hitting bodies, grenades and land-mines explode with a harsh reality that is only worsened by the screams of young soldiers dying and calling for their mothers and splashing fills the air as soldiers jump over the side of boats to escape the bullets. Saving Private Ryan is filled with non-stop audio that overwhelms your hearing. If any Blu-ray is to be a “show-off” for your sound system Saving Private Ryan is it!
Visually, Saving Private Ryan is stunning and light-years better in comparison to previous releases. The color is more alive, though still as intended: which is to show the grittiness, the dirt, blood, sweat and tears of actual war. Throughout the film you notice that each soldier is covered with grime and are visually and mentally exhausted. As with the audio, the visuals stand out in the Omaha Beach landing. When soldiers explode in a fire-ball the color comes amazingly alive as it does when a soldier uses a flame-thrower to weed out Germans from their hiding place. Grasses are greener and the landscapes are filled with far more detail that previously looked far less impressive.
Director Steven Spielberg masterfully takes you through the opening of WWII for this group of young soldiers. Much like he did with JAWS when he kept the camera at water-level through much of the water scenes, he lets you know what it feels and looks like to be a victim, a participant in this environment and it’s not pretty. The camera is usually somewhere among the soldiers, rarely leaving their sides to show landscapes and the soldier’s point of view. Spielberg does a wonderful job of never glamorizing the war but keeping it as real as he could showing that war may not be pretty, but when there is a just cause it can be necessary.
Actors are in top form here with none doing a more impressive job than Tom Hanks.
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