The shooting style employed by Spielberg and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski makes Saving Private Ryan particularly tricky to translate to the digital medium. The colour-draining, staccato editing, and wild camera moves are enough to guarantee the presence of grain and digital artefacts in a sub-standard transfer. However, as is evidenced by the opening of the Omaha Beech sequence in Chapter 2, this disc's anamorphic 1.85:1 copes magnificently, and stands up to careful scrutiny.
Well, here's the reason this film simply has to be in everybody's collection. This Dolby Digital 5.1 mix creates one of the most active and convincing sound fields the Total DVD staff has ever come across. During the film's opening onslaught (Chapters 2-4) you'll be amazed as bullets and explosions rip through the air around you with remarkable clarity and perfect precision. The film's more subtle moments are equally well conceived, but the battle scenes are the ones you'll be listening to over and over again.
You can't help but wish that there was a little bit more on this disc than what you are given, but at least it's all quality stuff. There are two theatrical trailers, production notes, a 25min documentary about the real events which inspired the film, and a brief 'Exclusive Message from Steven Spielberg'.
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