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Raiders of the Lost Ark

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 4 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Raiders: timeless adventure, stellar 4K sets & art; extras vary by edition.

    Raiders of the Lost Ark 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

    True 4K
    Dolby Vision
    Dolby Atmos
    Dolby TrueHD
  • Video
  • The UK 4K release of 'Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark' dazzles with native 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision, significantly enhancing visuals while maintaining the film's original essence.

  • Audio
  • Indiana Jones' 4K Blu-ray features a stunning Dolby Atmos upgrade, with immersive, high-quality audio preserving the original's essence, enhanced by meticulous restoration.

  • Extra
  • Paramount's UK Indiana Jones 4-movie Collection dazzles with a comprehensive 9-disc set, rich in art and unmatched in extras, especially on the 9th disc brimming with over 40-minute documentaries and a wealth of behind-the-scenes content.

  • Movie
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark, a groundbreaking adventure film, masterfully combining classic serials' charm with thrilling action and iconic performances, remains a timeless classic and pop culture phenomenon, inspiring sequels and captivating audiences worldwide.

    Video: 94

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" presents a landmark improvement over its predecessors, thanks to a meticulous remastering process that breathes new life into this cinematic treasure. With an impeccable 3840x2160 resolution at 24 frames per second, the video quality stays faithful to the film's original widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio, enhanced by a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Dolby Vision, using the HEVC (H.265) codec for encoding. This presentation was meticulously reviewed on state-of-the-art equipment, showcasing stunning details that span from dense jungle foliage to desert landscapes, and an intricate look into the film's famed tomb of snakes, highlighting a balance between shadow and light that brings out a richness in textures previously unseen.

    Key to its visual prowess is the film's native 4K scan from the original camera negatives, blessed by director Steven Spielberg, which enables a significant leap in image clarity and fidelity. Grain structure is maintained organically throughout, preserving the film's analog essence while leveraging HDR and Dolby Vision to deepen blacks and enhance highlights with remarkable nuance. Color grading has received a substantial overhaul; gone are the unnatural tints of past releases, replaced with a palette that's both vibrant and true-to-life. Particular attention has been paid to correcting the cooler blues and obnoxious oranges of earlier versions, presenting more authentic flesh tones and natural landscapes that transport viewers directly into Indiana Jones' thrilling escapades.

    Paramount's commitment to authenticity and visual excellence is evident in their handling of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in 4K UHD. By recompositing key VFX shots and subtly tweaking details to remove matte lines - all without falling into revisionist territory - the studio delivers an experience that's true to Spielberg's vision yet fresh for contemporary audiences. As a result, the leap from HD to 4K UHD is not merely technical but transformative, ensuring "Raiders of the Lost Ark" endures as a visually stunning adventure that continues to captivate and impress, maintaining its organic grain while bringing an entirely new level of detail and color accuracy to the forefront.

    Audio: 91

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" showcases a remarkable auditory experience, largely thanks to its sophisticated Dolby Atmos track. Supervised by Ben Burtt at Skywalker Sound, this remaster breathes new life into the original audio elements, meticulously preserving their nature while enhancing fidelity and spatial positioning. The soundstage is notably expanded, imbuing the film with a full-bodied, muscular quality and superior dynamics that respect the original's sonic character. The mix prioritizes dialogue clarity and precision staging, with smooth and natural transitions. Height channels add to the immersion, especially noticeable in action-packed sequences such as the temple collapse and the iconic rolling boulder scene. Ambient details, like the drip of water and the ominous hiss of snakes in the Well of the Souls, are rendered with compelling clarity, enriching the atmospheric depth.

    John Williams' iconic score received special attention, its rousing melodies and unforgettable themes benefiting from this audio upgrade to deliver an even more thrilling and emotionally engaging experience. The Atmos track’s handling of effects—from booming gunshots and thundering punches to the subtle hiss of snakes—creates a vivid soundscape that envelops the viewer. Despite some limitations inherited from the original audio design, such as less pronounced low-end effects and occasional overhead channel usage, the overall result is an expansive and immersive auditory journey. Vehicles roar with life, flames bellow, and environmental sounds from jungle ambiance to thunder strikes are deftly integrated, ensuring a dynamic audio experience that complements the visual restoration admirably.

    However, it’s worth noting that while the Atmos remix expands on the 5.1 track by enhancing background noises and environmental ambience, it remains true to the film's original stereo mixing in spirit. The strategic use of rear and overhead channels enhances specific moments without overwhelming the listener, maintaining a balanced and engaging audio experience throughout. This respectful but ambitious approach to audio restoration ensures that "Raiders of the Lost Ark" not only retains its classic appeal but also meets modern standards for immersion and sound quality, making it a treat for both longstanding fans and newcomers alike.

    Extra: 82

    The Paramount UK Indiana Jones 4-movie Collection, a 9-disc set primarily showcasing the movies themselves with only trailers accompanying them on the individual film discs, truly shines through its ninth disc. This disc elevates the collection with a comprehensive array of extras, prominently featuring a feature-length, two-part documentary on "Raiders of the Lost Ark." It further enriches the viewing experience with extensive Making-of documentaries for each film in the series, most running over 40 minutes, alongside an assortment of Behind the Scenes Featurettes. The physical packaging adds to the allure, presenting a glossy SteelBook adorned with classic artwork, a digital copy code, and a mini poster featuring the iconic 1981 U.S. one-sheet artwork by Richard Amsel. This set merges substantial behind-the-scenes content with nostalgic and collector-friendly physical elements, marking it as an essential acquisition for fans.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Feature-length Raiders Documentary: A two-part exploration into the making of "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
    • Making-of Documentaries for each film: Extensive looks into the creation of each movie in the Indiana Jones series.
    • Behind the Scenes Featurettes: A collection of shorter pieces providing insights into various aspects of production.

    Movie: 95

    Raiders of the Lost Ark," released in 1981, remains a masterpiece in cinematic history, marrying the visionary talents of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to resurrect the thrill of 1930s and 40s serial adventures for modern audiences. This epic journey redefined the action-adventure genre with its globe-trotting scope, groundbreaking stunts, and unforgettable set pieces, led by Harrison Ford's iconic turn as Indiana Jones. The film's narrative prowess, thanks to Phillip Kaufman's story and Lawrence Kasden's screenplay, weaves a tale of high stakes and thrilling escapades against the backdrop of the looming threat of World War II, as Indy seeks to prevent the Nazis from harnessing the divine power of the Ark of the Covenant. The storytelling is complemented by a cast of rich characters, from Karen Allen's spirited Marion to Paul Freeman's enigmatic Belloq, framed by John Williams' defining score and Spielberg's direction, which infuses each scene with wonder and excitement.

    Paramount's release of Raiders in 4K UHD SteelBook format does more than just offer a new packaging variant; it promises an unmatched visual feast, preserving the film's technical marvels and enhancing its legendary scenes for a new generation. Critics have commented on the portrayal of the film’s Nazis as simplistic villains, yet this choice serves to underscore the film's essence as a pure adventure narrative, filled with heroic feats and a touch of supernatural intrigue. The meticulously crafted action sequences, combined with a narrative that seamlessly blends humor, suspense, and a dash of historical fiction, demonstrate Spielberg and Lucas's capability to create timeless cinema.

    Despite discussions on its historical inaccuracies and the ethical context of its archaeological exploits, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" transcends critique through its sheer entertainment value and cinematic importance. Its depiction of evil, though stylized, allows for moments of levity amidst tension, such as a monkey giving a Nazi salute, contributing to a film experience that is as thought-provoking as it is enjoyable. The movie's blend of action, character depth, and moral nuance makes it more than just a quest for ancient artifacts; it is a journey into the heart of adventure storytelling itself, leaving an indelible mark on pop culture and setting a benchmark for action filmmaking.

    Total: 78

    Paramount's release of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark in 4K UHD Blu-ray as part of its Indiana Jones 4-Movie Collection is an ambitious undertaking that presents this timeless classic in the best light possible. The native 4K Dolby Vision enhancement not only elevates the visual fidelity but immerses the viewer in the beautifully detailed world of Indy's first adventure. Coupled with the lovingly remastered Dolby Atmos tracks, the audio-visual experience is unparalleled. The decision to include a dedicated extras disc within the generous 9-disc set highlights Paramount's commitment to providing a comprehensive package, catering to fans and cinephiles alike.

    The packaging and presentation of the 4K SteelBook edition have received particular attention, with Paramount opting to revive original artwork that captures the spirit and adventure of the film, a move applauded by collectors and fans. While the design of the rear panel may leave some desiring more, the overall aesthetic, including a handsome poster suitable for framing, earns high marks for its appeal and nostalgia value. However, it's important to note that this edition's minimal extras may deter some hardcore fans despite the superior quality of the film's restoration and the allure of new packaging.

    In conclusion, while the 4K UHD Blu-ray release of Raiders of the Lost Ark impresses with its visual and auditory restoration, elevating an already peerless adventure film to new heights, potential buyers must weigh their priorities. For those seeking an unmatched viewing experience and who appreciate carefully designed packaging, this release is a must-have. Yet, those for whom comprehensive extras play a crucial role, a moment of pause is recommended. Ultimately, this edition symbolizes a fusion of modern technology with nostalgic artistry, honoring Indy's legacy in a manner fitting for such an iconic treasure of cinema.