It’s now 26 years since Steven Spielberg’s WWII true story of one man who had a conscience was released, scooping seven Oscars up in its wake. It’s an acknowledged movie masterpiece, but how does it shape up on 4K Ultra HD?
The story: Austrian industrialist Oskar Schindler had a way with people and liked making money. Far from being the archetypal ruthless businessman, however, via his factories in wartime Europe he gave haven to his workforce of Polish Jews. By war’s end he had saved some 1,100 lives from certain death. That’s not a spoiler, it’s fact.
How the story of Schindler’s List plays out is remarkable – as is the fact that this three hour-plus movie seems to go quicker than you might expect. It often remains an extremely difficult watch in its depictions of cruelty that is impossible to fathom, but it also delivers hope – in particular that humanity just might learn from past horrors. After all, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
“Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don’t.”
The 4K disc: If you’ve ever wondered how a black and white – well, predominantly black and white – movie would fare on 4K Ultra HD, then wonder no longer. Between the detail afforded by the extra resolution and the subtle but ever-so-effective Dolby Vision treatment, the result is quite astonishing. Everywhere you look there is detail – sometimes too much, when you consider the unspeakable nature of some of the atrocities committed in the story. The Dolby Vision HDR encoding and the extra gamut of light and dark that it brings makes the movie look like it never has before at home – and we mean that in the best possible way. A fine field of grain is ever-present, but it never veers into “notice me!” territory.
A new Dolby Atmos sound mix has been created for this 25th anniversary release, and as you’d hope its quality matches that of the vision. This isn’t a movie for wild excursions into full-on surround sound gymnastics, but that doesn’t mean that the rear and height channels aren’t utilised. The former get a lot of use, the latter chime in when it suits, broadening the sound bubble to pleasing effect. John Williams’s soundtrack sits nicely, with dialogue always being clearly in focus.
No bonus features are included on the 4K disc, however there is a whole standard Blu-ray of them included. This delivers a bunch of featurettes – two of which were newly created for this release. These are a 40-minute discussion of the film from the Tribeca Film Festival entitled Schindler’s List: 25 Years Later, plus a short but sweet Spielberg piece.
Release date: February 20, 2019
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.