From a fan perspective, Empire looks fine, with certain shots, especially wide shots, making use of the 4k bandwidth afforded it. 4 Stars

The Empire Strikes Back, directed by Irvin Kershner, is either the second or fifth installment in the series, dependent upon how one is counting.

It was a wonderful film in 1980, and remains so today. Stand the test of time?

You’betcha!

Mr. Kershner, who had been at the film racket for awhile, used to stop in at our Spartacus cutting room, as he was friendly with the editor, Bob Lawrence.

I once asked him, that when he get the big directorial check in the mail, does he celebrate in some way?

He told me that for Empire, he went out and bought himself a new pair of sneakers.

Since uploading my initial review on Disney’s new 4k versions of the Star Wars films, I’ve done quite a bit of re-sampling and trying to figure out how precisely to report upon what I’m seeing.

Beginning with these Few Words, and going back to rework several, I’ll give a double score – one for diehard fans, and others who have alternate agendas, be they replaced/updated shots or scenes, grain smoothing, up-rezzing, what have you.

From a fan perspective, Empire looks fine, with certain shots, especially wide shots, making use of the 4k bandwidth afforded it.

On the other hand, I also noted certain composite shots, that similar to the Disney animated films on Blu-ray, didn’t work from a tech level, without the layer of original moving grain pulling the disparate elements together.

Dolby Atmos (not available on the non-4k Blu-ray) is wonderful.

Image – 5 (fan)
Image – 3 (tech)

Audio – 5 (Dolby Atmos)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from Blu-ray – Absolutely

Very Highly Recommended

RAH

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Robert Harris

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atcolomb

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Best film of the series and the director did another favorite of mine The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1964).
 
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Dave H

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I watched this one yesterday. Great presentation on a big screen again. It echo's my A New Hope feedback...although the processing applied was a bit more noticeable on this one. However, colors, detail, shadows, and range look wonderful. So is the audio. Big improvement over the 2011 Blu-ray.
 
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Ray H

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I apologize in advance if my assessment of this transfer is too negative. I have seen some positive reactions though, if that helps.

I thought this was the most problematic of the original trilogy in 4K. The noise reduction and sharpening were too heavy for my tastes, though I may be more sensitive to these things than others. The white backgrounds on Hoth and Bespin especially make the edge enhancement quite noticeable. The noise reduction often gives things a rather soft, mushy look. The colors/contrast are also notably turned down compared to the brighter, more colorful 2011 Blu-ray. The 4K are probably more accurate, but it doesn't really help. On top of the filtered, soft look, it's rather drab and flat as well. I don't really want to belabor the grain, but it's rather funky here. Grain texture has been mapped onto the film, but it doesn't move naturally. It's stagnant in backgrounds and moves along with actors' faces, giving the look of caked on makeup.

What's most unfortunate is this is probably the best photographed and designed of all the Star Wars films. I remember watching the 2011 Blu-ray before The Last Jedi and thinking it looked really damn good, despite being a 2004 Lowry effort with issues of its own. On the flipside, I think this 2012 4K transfer (also by Lowry/Reliance Media Works) is really rather poor.
 
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stevenHa

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Why is this particular disk not available on Amazon when it has the same release date as the other 2 discs from the original trilogy ?
 

Robert Crawford

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Why is this particular disk not available on Amazon when it has the same release date as the other 2 discs from the original trilogy ?
Steve,

For some unexplained reason that movie was the last one to have Amazon add a 4K link to so I don't know what the issue is with that particular title.
 
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Dave Moritz

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Not sure how much better these 4K transfers could have looked vs what we ended up with. Overall not bad and maybe the best transfer we have ever had so far. How ever IMHO my collection will never be complete without the original trilogy theatricals getting a 4K Blu-ray release or at minimum a 4K digital release. For now the 4K versions is far as I am going and will not be buying anything else but new Star Wars movies as they come out. But for me the holly grail would be original trilogy theatricals on 4K disc! And I agree that the DNR was a little excessive for my taste and film grain should have been maintained to match the source material. Will enjoy the 4K discs and plan to go through the set in the near future and watch all titles all the way though. I have sampled a number of the discs but only watched two titles completely so far.

Star Wars Collection 4_2020.jpg
 

TheSteig

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To the best of my knowledge - this movie was the least tampered with by George Lucas, and I have been thinking about getting this one only.
The others Ill stick with the theatrical versions, non HD if that is the way it is has to be
 

noel aguirre

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The BluRay included in this iteration is a BIG improvement over the previous- I didn't have any issues, thought the colors were beautiful and thank Disney for providing a new mastered Blu. (I uprez to 4K as I have a first generation 4K set with 3D that somehow doesn't have the ability for HDR due to the included 3D capabilityI think. But I always purchase 4K combos when a new Blu is included in case my set dies and then I switch over. )
So if anyone is undecided that doesn't have 4K - go for it!
 
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