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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Star Wars 4K UHD: pinnacle of quality, hints at more, with a legacy of expansive universe.

    Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

    True 4K
    Dolby Atmos
    Dolby TrueHD
  • Video
  • While the Blu-ray recolors offer stunning visuals like Tatooine's sunset, they're marred by soft shots, murkiness, and frozen grain, reflecting both beauty and flawed restoration efforts from 1997 onwards.

  • Audio
  • William's score enriches the Dolby Atmos space with clear, layered separation in music and action sequences, enhancing Star Wars' iconic scenes despite some source muddiness.

  • Extra
  • New release Blu-ray includes an 8-min feature with industry legends, extensive deleted scenes, multilingual subtitles on Bonus Disc, and interviews/models on Blu-ray discs, sans supplements on the 4K disc.

  • Movie
  • Through dedicated fan preservation projects like 4K77 and the Despecialised Version, the epic saga of rebels and the heroic journey of Luke Skywalker, guided by Han Solo and Chewbacca aboard the Millennium Falcon, is kept alive in its original glory.

    Video: 87

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" delivers a visceral and visually captivating experience, albeit not without its share of controversies and technical nuances that might distract the purists. The most immediate point of contention arises from the recoloring process carried over from the last Blu-ray release, which, while enhancing certain visuals like the vibrant purple sunset over Tatooine, can feel somewhat inconsistent with the original vision of the film. The infamous optical shots, particularly noticeable in sequences such as the trash compactor, display a softness and a degree of murkiness. Moreover, the application of filtering and an occasional frozen grain texture across several scenes signal an attempt to modernize the film’s appearance. This decision, likely aimed at aligning "A New Hope" visually with the clarity seen in the prequels, may not sit well with all viewers.

    The technical journey that this installment has undergone is noteworthy. Initially, for the 1997 Special Edition release, the original cut negative was scanned at a 2K resolution, indicating a significant leap towards digital enhancement early on. New digital VFX were introduced at a sub-2K resolution, followed by the creation of a new film-out master interpositive element. This paved the way for the 4K UHD rendition, yet this transition has introduced artifacts such as a sometimes clumpy appearance to film grain in various scenes. It suggests a struggle to balance between preserving the original filmic texture and accommodating modern digital aesthetics.

    Despite these critiques, it's undebatable that the 4K UHD Blu-ray presents "A New Hope" with an unparalleled level of detail that is simply breathtaking. From the intricacies of the spacecraft to the sands of Tatooine, each frame is laden with an enhanced depth and clarity that faithfully celebrates the iconic visuals of this seminal film. However, the endeavor to reconcile the film’s analog origins with digital expectations has led to distinct visual anomalies, such as occasional frozen grain and filtering effects that detract from an otherwise stellar visual presentation. For enthusiasts and critics alike, this release serves as a complex but ultimately rewarding revisitation of a galaxy far, far away, pushing the boundaries of how legacy cinema can be experienced in the era of ultra-high definition.

    Audio: 89

    The 4K UHD Blu-Ray audio presentation of "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" elevates the auditory experience to a new level, thanks to the meticulous transitioning of the classic score and sound effects into the Dolby Atmos era. John Williams’ iconic score is masterfully distributed through the speakers, ensuring a genuine separation and clear layering of instruments, from the rousing opening fanfare to the more subdued, atmospheric tracks. This precision in sound separation accentuates the immersive experience, especially in action sequences, though it's worth noting that some of these scenes possess an inherent muddiness that seems to originate from the source material itself.

    Attention to detail in the audio mix extends to the use of height channels, particularly noticeable during pivotal moments such as the Millennium Falcon’s daring escape from Mos Eisley, the adrenaline-fueled breakout from the Death Star, and the climactic trench runs. These set pieces benefit greatly from an engaging use of the vertical sound space, adding a visceral layer to the viewer's experience. It's this strategic layering and dynamic range that breathe life into the expansive universes and locations unique to "Star Wars," making them feel even more open and expansive.

    Despite being another remix in a long line of audio advances, this presentation notably enhances the sense of immersion into the Star Wars galaxy. The action sequences are elevated by the sophisticated audio design, which complements the visually stunning 4K restoration. While aficionados will appreciate the technical prowess in recreating this beloved soundscape, even newcomers will be drawn into the epic scope of the film, underscored by this fresh yet faithful auditory experience.

    Extra: 86

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray of "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" not only revitalizes a classic with stunning visual clarity but also packs a plethora of extra features that enrich the viewing experience. Noteworthy are the engaging conversations between Joe Johnston and Roger Christian in "Creating a Universe," offering an 8-minute dive into their contributions to the film's iconic visual language. The addition of sixteen minutes of meticulously curated deleted and extended scenes, including pivotal moments like "Tosche Station" and "The Search for R2-D2," provides fans with a deeper insight into the film's narrative evolution. The disc is commendable for its accessibility, featuring optional subtitles in a range of languages catering to an international audience, ensuring that nothing is lost in translation. Furthermore, the extras extend beyond the visual, with immersive interviews and a showcase of models and prototypes, albeit all supplemental content is housed on the Blu-ray discs, leaving the main 4K disc focused purely on delivering the film in unparalleled quality.

    Extras included in this disc:

    Conversations: Creating a Universe: A feature with Joe Johnston and Roger Christian discussing their work on the movie.

    Deleted/Extended Scenes: Including scenes like Tusche Station, Old Woman on Tatooine, Aunt Beru's Blue Milk, and more.

    Optional Subtitles: Available in English for the Hearing Impaired, French, Castilian Spanish, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, and Japanese.

    Movie: 92

    In the 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope," viewers are transported back to the remote desert planet of Tatooine, where the saga of young Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) begins. Hamill's portrayal of a farm boy yearning for adventures beyond the stars brilliantly sets the stage for an epic narrative that is both personal and universal. The journey from the dusty plains of Tatooine to the far reaches of space is rendered in stunning clarity, making the transition from mundane to extraordinary all the more captivating. This release underscores the original's monumental impact on cinema, offering a visual feast that pays homage to its groundbreaking heritage.

    As Luke, alongside the iconic duo of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), embarks on a perilous journey aboard the Millennium Falcon, the meticulous restoration effort behind this release becomes evident. The film's preservation, through projects like the Despecialised Version and 4K77, ensures that every frame, from the bustling spaceports to the intense lightsaber duels, is presented with an authenticity that respects its original glory. The 4K resolution enhances the visual depth and detail of each scene, breathing new life into George Lucas's visionary masterpiece without sacrificing its essence.

    This edition shines in its ability to marry the technical excellence of modern restoration with the nostalgic charm of the 1977 classic. With each passing moment, from the humble beginnings on a moisture farm to the collective efforts of the rebel alliance, viewers are reminded of the enduring power of individual courage against overwhelming odds. The 4K UHD presentation not only elevates the viewing experience with its crisp visuals and attention to detail but also preserves the spirit and adventure that make "A New Hope" a timeless tale of good versus evil.

    Total: 87

    The release of "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" in 4K UHD Blu-ray brings the iconic saga into the highest quality format yet, offering fans an unparalleled home viewing experience. Disney’s presentation of this seminal film is nothing short of spectacular, capturing the essence and grandeur of the Star Wars universe with an impressive box set that includes the entire ‘Skywalker Saga’. The meticulous remastering process results in a visual feast that showcases the film’s detailed environments and special effects with unmatched clarity and depth. However, as outstanding as this release is, it falls just short of perfection due to the absence of the original theatrical cut, leaving a slight yearning among purists for a version of the film that remains faithful to its first release.

    Furthermore, the disc’s enhanced image quality is a boon for enthusiasts and archivists alike, with groups like the creators of 4K77 poised to utilize this release as a foundation for crafting what could be the definitive iteration of "A New Hope," much to the delight of fans who seek to relive the theatrical experience. The story’s timeless appeal, underscored by its narrative of an individual’s impact against overwhelming forces, continues to resonate across generations. This release does justice to its legacy, offering both long-standing fans and newcomers an immersive dive into the lore that spawned not only numerous sequels and prequels but also a vast and vibrant expanded universe.

    In conclusion, while the 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" represents a monumental achievement in home cinema, it slightly misses the mark by not including the much-coveted original theatrical cut. Despite this oversight, it remains a must-own for aficionados and casual viewers alike, promising an experience that significantly enhances one of cinema's most beloved adventures. This edition celebrates the epic’s enduring message and remarkable influence, solidifying its place in both film and cultural history.