Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (Blu-ray) Review
Like The Force Awakens did for A New Hope, The Last Jedi gives The Empire Strikes back a new trilogy makeover.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has arrived on Blu-ray in a two-disc collection that includes a code for a digital version of the movie. The first disc is the Blu-ray that contains the movie itself, with the movie appearing in the same form as it did in its theatrical release, and the second disc contains the special features. Let's start with the movie itself.
Like Episode VII, The Last Jedi in many ways emulates its corresponding film in the classic trilogy, in this case The Empire Strikes Back. Once again we have a young person with a strong talent for the Force receiving training from an old Jedi master who lives in isolation on a backwater planet far from the war. The Rebels, um, Resistance, must evacuate their base as The First Order fleet arrives to wipe it out. There are a couple of heroes who strike out on their own to an exotic city on a distant world, and as the film comes to a close we find the Resistance wounded and on the run. But also as in Episode VII, Episode VIII makes a concerted effort to simultaneously break from the past. The balance in the Force personified by the Jedi and Sith orders is fractured as - spoilers ahead - Luke is content to let the Jedi order die with him, Kylo Ren turns on Snoke and ends the Sith order's master/apprentice mandate, and Kilo and Rey struggling to see the Force as something that's divided into two distinct halves. Much like The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi is a mix of great Star Wars scenes, awkward moments, and a complete disdain for the laws of physics. Overall, The Last Jedi is an enjoyable film, but A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back are in no danger of losing their positions as the most loved films in the saga. The third trilogy is shaping up to put itself into a solid second among the three trilogies that make up the primary Star Wars story.
I enjoy Disney's Blu-ray releases because they are very consistent in the quality of their video and audio. The picture is sharp with vibrant colors, which really helps to bring the magic of the Star Wars universe to life in your home. The audio balance is perfect, maintaining a consistent presentation between both conversations and epic scale space battles. You can pick the volume level that you want at the start of the movie and never need to scramble for the remote when the movie moves between scenes.
There are seven special features in addition to the audio commentary track for the feature film by writer-director Rian Johnson. The main feature is The Director and the Jedi, an extensive look at the film's development primarily from the perspective of Rian Johnson. It gives you insight into what goes into making a movie as big as The Last Jedi and some of Johnson's thoughts behind the film's iconic moments. There's a depth of honesty to it that's fascinating, as when Mark Hamill expresses his disappointment for the direction Johnson took with his Luke Skywalker character. The Balance of the Force feature is a natural extension of The Director and the Jedi and features Johnson's reasoning for the new interpretations of the Force explored in the film. Scene Breakdowns is a series of three looks at what went into the creation of three of the film's iconic scenes, the opening space battle, the battle on Crait at the close of the film, and brining Snoke to life. Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) gives you the chance to see Serkis perform as Snoke before the digital processing that transforms him into The First Order's twisted emperor. Lastly, Deleted Scenes includes 14 deleted scenes from the film, with optional commentary from the director. Some of the scenes must have been late cuts, because the post-processing has been completed on them. Some scenes weren't entirely deleted, but were pared down instead, and it's interesting seeing the parts that were cut and didn't go through final post-processing interspersed between the parts that appeared in the final film.
The Last Jedi may not be the best movie in the saga, but it's far from the worst. This Blu-ray release is excellent, though, both in terms of the audio and video for the film itself and in the collection of special features that come with it.
Transmitted: 1/20/2019 8:29:27 AM