Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Blu-Ray)
Rey’s journey continues as Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives on 4K/Blu-Ray this week, bringing all the fun of the latest film home with a lot of great bonus features to enjoy. Come inside to check out my full review!
Who would have thought that The Last Jedi would have become such a polarizing film? In the month’s since its release in theaters Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII has been a seemingly endless source of debate amongst fans. Some loved it, some hated it, while others have made it their life mission to interject their angry thoughts into each and every semi-positive comment online.
The reality is, regardless which side of that critical fence you’re sitting on my little review here isn’t likely to have a dramatic impact on your opinion. That said, if you weren’t incredibly thrilled with the film in theaters, I would suggest checking it out again on blu-ray just to be sure.
There’s a lot to unpack in The Last Jedi and there are some issues (like pacing) that smooth out a great deal on a second viewing. Another watch through in the comfort of your own home might help the perspective a bit. I saw the film a couple times in theaters and have been eagerly awaiting the chance to see it again on blu-ray. I’m happy to say that my initial thoughts on the movie have largely remained the same. If anything, seeing it at home has made it an even better experience in that I can pause and use subtitles to make sure I don’t miss a thing.
Much like I talked about in my initial review, The Last Jedi is very dense. Just about every frame in the film is packed visually and the story is moving rapidly as it goes. Through it all, however, it manages to intersect some phenomenal character moments that will leave me talking/thinking about it for years to come.
Sight and Sound
Visually, The Last Jedi is mighty impressive. From the ragtag look to the Resistance fighters/fleet, to the stark tones of the First Order, the natural elements of Luke’s hideaway, and the gaudy appearance of Canto Bight; there’s a lot going on within the movie. Every location has a distinct and gripping aesthetic, making it easy to follow the story as it jumps around the galaxy. It may seem like a simple thing, but shows a great deal of care that was put into the visual storytelling of the film. Couple all that with some stunning shots/action pieces and there’s a lot to drool over in film.
Thankfully the blu-ray highlights all of this in excellent crystal clarity. The blacks are super deep, and I didn’t notice any crushing on my viewings (what, you really think I’ve only watched it once since it was sent to me?). This helps a lot in certain key scenes where things are dark in the background to make the focal subject really stand out.
The surround sound on the disc is equally impressive. Star Wars has always been known for its immersive sound design and powerful musical score. The transfer quality here ensure that they shine. From the opening battle, you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action as lasers and explosions come at you from all angles. Best of all, the dialog is still given the right prioritization, so even in the heat of battle, you’ll be able to clearly hear the characters.
The Bonus Features
This is what many fans have been looking forward to on The Last Jedi blu-ray, and the special features (included on a second disc) don't disappoint. Here's what's include:
• The Director and the Jedi – Go deep behind the scenes with writer-director Rian Johnson on an intimate and personal journey through the production of the movie—and experience what it’s like to helm a global franchise and cultural phenomenon.
• Balance of the Force - Explore the mythology of the Force and why Rian Johnson chose to interpret its role in such a unique way.
• Scene Breakdowns
o Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle – Get a close-up look at the epic space battle, from the sounds that help propel the action, through the practical and visual effects, to the characters who bring it all to life.
o Snoke and Mirrors – Motion capture and Star Wars collide as the filmmakers take us through the detailed process of creating the movie’s malevolent master villain.
o Showdown on Crait – Break down everything that went into creating the stunning world seen in the movie’s final confrontation, including the interplay between real-word locations and visual effects, reimagining the walkers, designing the crystal foxes, and much more.
• Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) – Writer-director Rian Johnson presents two exclusive sequences from the movie featuring Andy Serkis’ riveting, raw on-set performance before his digital makeover into Snoke.
• Deleted Scenes – With an introduction and optional commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.
• Audio Commentary – View the movie with in-depth feature audio commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.
Everyone's pretty excited to see the deleted scenes and what didn't make the cut. They're pretty interesting and add some cool stuff, but ultimately I can see why they were ultimately left off the final film. The behind the scenes featurettes are neat and give some cool insight to the new locations and how the visuals were brought to life.
The real treat in all of these, however, is The Director and the Jedi. This feature length documentary gives fans the deepest look yet at the creation of the new Star Wars movies at various stages in the process. It's raw, engaging, and something I can easily see myself coming back to time and time again. Considering how bare bones The Force Awakens blu-ray release was (didn't even have a director's commentary), The Last Jedi is an abundance of greatness. On top of the movie itself, the bonus features add so much more for your money.
If you loved the film, you'll still love it on blu-ray, and it's given an excellent transfer to make every aspect of it stand out. The plethora of great special feature content, is what really sells this blu-ray, however, with plenty of great things for fans to dive into, along with a full-length documentary to enjoy. All in all, it's a great package that makes for easily the best home entertainment release for the new films.