Star Wars: Episode IVA New Hope

Featured In Issue 161, November 2011

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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George Lucas
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 6.1, DTS 5.1
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In Star Wars: Episode IVA New Hope, Princess Leia (Fisher) is held hostage by the evil Imperial Forces, under orders from Darth Vader (Prowse/voice of Jones), in their efforts to quell the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Luke Skywalker (Hamill) and Millennium Falcon Captain Han Solo (Ford) team up to rescue the princess and restore freedom to the Galaxy. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Ben Burtt, and Dennis Muren and commentary from archival interviews with cast and crew, including Kenny Baker, Ben Burtt, Richard Chew, Anthony Daniels, Peter Diamond, John Dykstra, Richard Edlund, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Stuart Freeborn, Alec Guinness, Mark Hamill, Paul Hirsch, Gary Kurtz, George Lucas, Peter Mayhew, Ralph McQuarrie, Dennis Muren, Norman Reynolds, Phil Tippett, and Robert Watts.

Presented in 2.35:1 1080p AVC format, Star Wars Episode IVA New Hope looks amazing! The picture is sharp and detailed, with impressive textures and definition. Colors are rich and solid, with excellent balance. Blacks are deep, whites appear bright, and fleshtones are nicely balanced, though, a bit saturated, with minor color inconsistencies. Contrast and shadow delineation are generally impressive. Sure, there are a few segments that can't hide the age of the film, but overall the picture looks great! Minor dirt and film grain are inherent in the source element, which is otherwise incredibly clean. A slight ringing is occasionally noticed around objects but is not particularly objectionable. (Suzanne Hodges/Gary Reber)

The re-mastered DTS-HD Master Audio Surround ES encoded soundtrack is a top-notch effort and a solid accomplishment compared to previous releases. This is an aggressive, prominent film soundtrack that can be loud and possibly bright at times, even with Re-EQ engaged. The addition of the center surround channel adds an extra dimension to your usual soundtrack performance by providing the listener a more fluid and comprehensive soundstage. Horizontal and vertical pans, which use this added channel, sound much more natural, as the many action sequences unfold within the listening space (the awesome-sounding final attack on The Death Star are standout examples). Ambient sound effects, located in the surrounds, flesh out the sound mix to widen and extend it. The soundtrack excels, predictably, in the many action scenes when the venue moves from the various terrestrial locations to space-based locals. The only downside to the presentation is that some of the dialogue and special effects sound just a bit veiled, muted, and held back, due to some dated fidelity. The overall soundtrack sounds excellent but many times doesn't have a "being there" sound and feeling to it, as some of the best soundtracks currently found on Blu-ray do. On the positive side, the presentation does sound generally excellent, as the original sound elements are over 35 years old. Bass response starts out a tad light, but as the presentation progresses, bass sounds stronger and becomes more effective. Channel separation is generally satisfying, as localized sound effects wonderfully bounce between the six discrete audio channels. John Williams' original score never gets old to hear and sounds fantastic from beginning to end. The end result is an effective, immersive, and coherent soundstage, which is extremely entertaining. (Jeffrey Kern/Gary Reber)