All the Star Wars movies are now on 4K Ultra HD, including, of course, The Empire Strikes Back. So, how does this one shape up on the format? Is owning it your destiny?
The story: You probably know how it goes. Things kick off on the icy planet of Hoth, before an escape in the Millennium Falcon. Not Luke though, he’s off on a search for the one and only Yoda, needing his Jedi Master help in order to be able to have any hope when confronting Darth Vader.
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
The 4K disc: Much of what we said in our review of A New Hope can be said for the transfer that we receive here, and that’s not a bad thing. The native 4K vision has had a subtle application of HDR – it’s nowhere near as extreme as some examples – and it looks great. Despite the majority of the movie in its current form being shot on film, grain is at a minimum, more noticeable in some shots over others, due to the various sources that were combined to make this feature, including those much-talked-about additions that have been made since Empire‘s original release back in 1980.
A Dolby Atmos sound mix is the star of the audio show here, and it’s a beaut. The John Williams soundtrack soars, effects ping all around eagerly and dialogue sits where it should. Bass-wise, the ominous thrum of the Imperial Star Destroyer is a joy to feel here – and that’s just the start of the rumble fun. In all, this is by far the best that we’ve ever heard the movie sounding.
While there are no extra features on the 4K disc, two standard Blu-rays are included and they deliver a bevy of bonuses. The first of these discs houses two previously available audio commentaries, one with George Lucas, director Irvin Kershner, Carrie Fisher, sound guru Ben Burtt and effects wiz Dennis Muren, and the other featuring a massive array of cast and crew. The second bonus Blu-ray delivers several interviews, deleted scenes, featurettes and a collection of art and models from the movie.
Release date: April 1, 2020
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.