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4.3 out of 5 stars
Saving Private Ryan (Special Limited Edition)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2011
The first and last time I watched Saving Private Ryan was in the theatre when it was released. I remember it being quite the experience. But the passage of time had dulled some of the finer points of why this movie is so spectacular. Thankfully, Saving Private Ryan on Blu Ray does a fine point of recreating the movie experience of some years ago. Though the colours are meant to be somewhat muted to create the realism, this film looks superb. However, what really stands out in this Blu Ray is the sound. On my 5.1 surround system, in the battle scenes, the battles were brought right into my living room -- or rather -- my living room was taken out to battle. I could feel the explosions rocking the floor and bullets flying by my head. Battles aside (and they are some of the best ever put on film), this is an emotionally involving story that left a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as the credits rolled at the end. Saving Private Ryan, along with The Deer Hunter, Platoon, and Apocalypse Now, is one of the great war films. Speilberg created a great piece of cinema and this blu ray showcases it in its full glory.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2010
This blu ray edition makes a great movie even greater. The film is supposed to maintains the directors intened wash out look but I find it slighlty more colorful than previous dvd editions ( this is not a bad thing). The picture is crisp and detailed and the audio is superb. Definitely worth the upgrade if you are a fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2004
Most of us expect a low-rate, pointless and overall tacky war movie from today's money-hungry industry, but SPR has done well in distancing itself from our presumptions. If you've never seen it before, than you'll be surprised at how well the movie is puit together. Aside from the usual modern-day method of pumping a movie full of A-List actors, a predictable script, less-than-impressive direction, irrelevent acting, and the overall novelty that one can come to expect of supposed dramas of today's glamour industry.
The story follows Captain John H. Miller and his team, including a sniper, a medic, an Arab, a surly private, and an acceptable Vin Diesel, to rescue James F. Ryan, a private in a paratrooper squad whose three brothers have been killed in action. A mission susceptible to much protest, and ultimately one that will cost many lives.
Everything about the movies feels as if it was done right. The overall atmosphere feels right, and it makes you feel as if you're sitting inside the movie--you can almost feel the moisture of the air seething through your clothes or the subtle sunshine warm your shoulders and forehead. The acting is very good as well, although you can spot some parts where improvement wouldn't hurt and it at times feels tacky and stunted. The direction is done well, as the actors can easily pass as soldiers, but the aforementioned cut corners could bring you away from the total immersion and feeling.
Saving Private Ryan is very worthwhile, and any war movie buff in his right mind would praise it as innovative and a revival of the genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
First off, I think this is a great movie. Tom Hanks is awesome and so is Tom Sizemore. The production shots are memorable and even, at one point, include a beach scene viewed through blood on the camera lens. The first 20 minutes are absolutely hypnotizing. However, I take exception with the portrayal of Americans shooting those Germans who wished to surrender. This undoubtedly occurred but it was a very rare circumstance. Here it happened three times within a company of 200 men.
Guy Sager, in his "Forgotten Soldier," documented that Wermacht soldiers like himself intentionally sought out Americans for the purposes of surrender. To suggest otherwise is fallacious. Also, Edward Burns character seems more suited to the post-sixties "question authority" environment than to WW II. America was different at that time. This was the Greatest Generation. Not the "me" generation. Burns is misplaced. I also thought the cowardice of Ryan at the end was contrived. He was an experienced soldier by June of 1944 and was unlikely to behave as he did, but, even with my misgivings, I'd be a fool not to recommend this film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2004
The opening sequence of this film alone is worth the purchase price. Without doubt it is the most wrenching, realistic combat sequence ever filmed. Many of the incidents associated with the landing are lifted from Steven Ambrose's excellent book, D Day, since he was a technical advisor to Speilberg. However, to a military man what gives the landing scene amazing verisimilitude is the professionalism of the company commander and his first sergeant, each in separate landing craft. Hanks, who plays the Ranger company commander, is shaking from accumulated combat stress to the point that he is barely able to drink from a canteen. Yet he maintains his composure, cares for his men, and most importantly focuses on accomplishment of his mission despite a landing degenerated into chaos.
Next to a parachute drop the most confusing entry into a battlefield is across a hostile beach. No where is this better portrayed than in Saving Private Ryan. Throughout the film the character, courage and depth of American fighting men is exemplified and respected.
The plot is taken from fact. A soldier in the 101st Airborne lost a brother in the China-Burma-India Theater, another on Utah Beach and a third with the 82nd. In reality a message was sent to the commander of the 101st, General Max Taylor, and the soldier was evacuated across the beach. In Saving Private Ryan, the story becomes a metaphor for the war itself. In what seems a confusing statement Hank's sergeant says 'This could be the best thing we've ever done.' The viewer is uncertain if he is referring to the last, frantic battle to defend a bridge - a critical invasion choke point - or saving Ryan. Or both. That is just one of several mysterious facets that keeps you coming back to the film. What does he really mean here? It is much more than simply an adventure story though as such it can hardly be equalled.
Speilberg has said that he intended this to be an anti-war film. That is also confusing in that his Jewish prisoners were rescued by an Allied advance in Shindler's List and would have died without victory in the war. Perhaps he is caught up in some PC. Nonetheless, these are nits and do not detract from the overall impact of the film.
You will want to see this again, so you need to own it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2004
"Saving Private Ryan" is a 5 star movie but this DVD version is substandard. There are a few instances during the heavy fighting after the guys get past the beach and start fighting the Germans and the fire sequences STREAK and have STRIPES, LINES and BANDS on the screen while watching the movie. It is a poor quality and shoddy transfer of the film - I'm sure that there was a huge batch of these DVDs that got past quality control and I was just very unlucky because I bought this in October, 2003, sent it back for replacement, and the second one is as bad as the first - It was exactly the same with all the same imperfections. So, I just gave up and kept it. I saw the movie at the theater and on TV and never remember these flaws in the movie. It's very noticeable and irritating but once those scenes are over, the DVD is OK and the quality is great. I would like to know if I'm the only person that received a poor transfer of this DVD because it's really strange to receive 2 separate DVDs with the same defect. So, because of my experience with this movie, I recommend you wait and buy the new version coming out on May 25, 2004 called: "Saving Private Ryan (D-Day 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition)". I wish I had waited but never knew this newer version was coming out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Some people advise others to close their eyes during the loooong opening scene of Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. That would be a mistake. Yes, it's carnage, it's horrible, it's relentless, it's bloody, it's random death, it's a portrayal of fear and courage and raw coincidence. But it's also one of the most powerful pieces of cinematography ever filmed.
There are many other scenes that have stayed with me during the years since I last saw this unforgettable film, perhaps Spielberg's best ever. Perhaps the most poignant one that comes immediately to mind is the woman whose sons are all away at war. She's on a remote farm, washing dishes, and thru her window she sees the dust of approaching cars. She goes outside to meet the visitors, tenses as she sees military brass and a chaplain step from the cars, then crumples wordlessly to the worn boards of her front porch as she tries to take in the news: all her boys have been killed, except for one: Private Ryan.
Another related scene, the one that came just before this one, is equally gut-wrenching (and in both scenes, there is no dialogue, just heart-stabbing visuals that are more powerful than any words could have been) as a woman charged with sending out letters of the We Regret to Inform You variety realizes that she's seen three letters with the same address within the past few days, and she takes this terrible proof to her supervisor - and thus is born the search for the surviving son, to bring him home to his momma.
Tom Hanks, with his own persona of morality and honesty, is perfectly cast as the good Captain Miller, a soldier's soldier charged with this onerous task, and of course there is terrible cost.
Saving Private Ryan is the film Spielberg HAD to make. Outstanding, in every possible way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2004
This is without a doubt Steven Spielberg's best movie (or at least most realistic movie along with Shindler's List). This is my favorite movie.
The story is simple, Eight Men are sent on a public relations mission to rescue a private (Matt Damon) who lost his 3 brothers. Tom Hanks stars as John Miller, the leader of the squad sent to rescue him. The film is extremely dramatic, sad, depressing, and graphic. These are the elements that let you know it's GOOD. If you're looking for an action movie, this isn't for you. Although there are action scenes, this isn't an action movie. It's a war movie, the Best one ever made. It bugs me as people see this as an action movie and nothing more.
This is the only movie i almost cried at. It was when Arwen Wade, the medic, is shot and bleeds to death. The saddest part is his last words "i wanna go home, i wanna go home! momma! momma...." When you see this one scene, you will understand why Spielberg won Best Director. Also, i can't understand how a horrible movie like Titanic can win 11 oscars, and this wins 5!!! what's wrong with the oscars???!!! This movie deserved a lot more oscars, including Best Picture, without a doubt.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2002
Any critical interpretation of Spielberg's heavily problematic "Saving Private Ryan" is bound to provoke passionate, even angry, responses; some people defend this movie as religiously as they defend other American myths. To attack the film is to commit blasphemy, supposedly tantamount to attacking America's role in World War II. But a critical account of this overblown epic war film has nothing to do with the history of World War II. They are separate issues, and it is possible to critique this film while still holding that America had a special role in the defining historical moment of the 20th century.
Now that this necessary caveat has been made, let the critique begin. "Saving Private Ryan" has all of Spielberg's trademarks, which means it has all of his drawbacks: it's emotionally simplistic and shamelessly sentimental to the point of being offensive (the prologue and the coda at the veteran cemetery are the best examples, as are the musical cues noting when you should feel sentimental); it's deeply manipulative, as are all of Spielberg's films, save a small few (like "Raiders of the Lost Ark"); it offers only a watered-down, massively unsophisticated interpretation of reality, in this case of World War II, portraying the Nazis as cartoonish villians (they were villians, to be sure, but there was nothing cartoonish about them in reality); and it is technically astute but dramatically under-whelming. The last point here is important because much has been made of Spielberg's recreation of the Normandy invasion, seen as impressive in its realism and its scale. But despite the technical bravado and the sheer amount of work that went in to pulling the scene off, Spielberg approaches the invasion with all the subtlety and seriousness of a child. There's little here that is dramatically compelling, and most of the opening half hour actually has no weight -- it's showy and comical and contrived just enough to be trite. As a result, it has an effect opposite to what Spielberg surely intended.
The rest of the film suffers from similar problems. On the surface, the idea of focusing on a small band of soldiers and their efforts to rescue the last survivor of four brothers in order to understand the war as a whole (sort of a microcosm as a lesson) seems intriguing and notable, but Spielberg, in typical fashion, can't pull it off. This novel idea, in his hands, gives us no real sense of what the war was about, what was at stake, what sacrifice really meant; under Spielberg's direction, World War II becomes indistinguishable from any other war, nothing more than a bunch of soldiers who want to finish their mission so they can go home, nothing more than a reductive tale that includes some vague notions of good, evil, heroism, and fear. The story meanders without force, to the point where it's difficult to care what happens, which might not seem like much of a criticism until we realize that caring is the one thing Spielberg wants us to do. And if that weren't enough, the film's final sequences entail a climatic battle against Germans that has all the originality, thoughtfulness, and profundity of a typical Hollywood action climax. Sure, the bullets whiz, blood spurts, soldiers fight for their lives, and then the audience cheers loudly when something "good" seems to happen, as if cheering at war is the thing we should really be doing.
"Saving Private Ryan" is, at best, a severely flawed and problematic film. Even the cinematography, which has been praised too often, is wrong; the flat hues and dark colors don't fit, and Spielberg, as well versed as he is in the art of movie-making, could still learn a great deal about handheld camera work from a number of directors and cinematographers, including Truffaut and Kalatozishvili. He's a technician, to be sure, but that does not mean that he makes the right decisions.
Finally, the DVD as far as quality goes is impressive, but in some sense this film would be better served if it were played endlessly in a hall at Disneyland instead of home theaters; because "Saving Private Ryan" approaches its subject as a child would, and therefore would be perfect in a place devoted to children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2013
The 25 minutes of storming the beach in France, is one of the most spectacular scenes in cinema history. If you have invested in a surround sound system for your home, this is an essential purchase. The film’s key sonic signatures are absolute realism – as just one example, every gunshot is generated from a recording of an authentic weapon firing live ammunition – and thunderous, hitherto-unparalleled levels of volume. Enjoy.
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