It seems strange, but it wasn’t all that long ago when many of us thought any new trips to a “Galaxy Far, Far Away” were forever limited to repeat viewings. Although he had an original concept of 9 or 12 films, George Lucas seemed to be fully satisfied with where he had taken the story and it really seemed like we’d always be playing the “what if” for the Star Wars universe. That is, until a few years ago, when Disney purchased the rights to the story. Now, seemingly like it was meant to be, nearly 30 years have passed in the real world and the end of the original trilogy. While so many are thrilled to have any new Star Wars content, it was actually the timing of “The Force Awakens” that makes so many of us original fans so pleased. I don’t have the ability to even describe the feelings of sitting with my family as the familiar Star Wars opening crawl began in the theater. Being reintroduced to so many of our favorites from the old Rebel Alliance was icing on the cake. I’m looking forward to the other stories that are going to take place in this new Star Wars trilogy along with the standalone movies that are already in production, but I doubt that I’ll ever feel so much anticipation or excitement for another movie in my lifetime.
I’m not going to spend a great deal of time discussing the actual movie. With a worldwide box office take of over 2 billion dollars, it’s likely that you have already seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you’re like us, you may have even seen it multiple times. It was great, marvelous, fantastic or any other similar type of adjective you want to throw into the description. That’s all I’m going to say about the movie. Rather, we’ll spend some time with what you actually get when you purchase the Blu-ray edition so you can watch it again and again.
I’ve already mentioned the Star Wars opening crawl, so it’s a great time to bring it up again here. As you’d expect from a Disney Blu-ray, the quality jumps at you from this opening crawl. It’s a 1080p transfer in it’s original 2.40:1 aspect ration, and those familiar yellow letters look amazing and it just gets better as you go. The varied environments, each with very distinct color schemes, are equally impressive. With many of the scenes in the film having a sort of neutral feeling, you really appreciate things like the blasters and brilliant reds and blues of the lightsabers, as they really jump off the screen. Black levels are deep, and details in clothing, facial features, and even paint on BB-8, are perfect. Without a doubt, this is the best any Star Wars film has ever looked at home.
I’ll begin with one very, very minor negative complaint about the audio, and it’s not a big deal, but I would have liked to have had an Atmos or DTS:X soundtrack. It’s not so much that it’s necessary as the DTS-HD 7.1 audio mix is really fantastic. From the opening credits, to the end of the film, you’ll find very little to be disappointed about. Your surrounds will come to life regularly as the ships zip around the screen and John Williams’ score really shines through. You’ll hear things like laser blasts from all sides and the little beeps in the interior of the ships give you the feel that you are sitting inside the cockpit. Sometimes, with similar types of blu-rays with so many action sequences, the dialog can get lost with the music or effects or even both overpowering it. That’s not the case with The Force Awakens. The audio is so well balanced that you never find yourself straining to make out the dialog, and they somehow manage to do this with even the most noise intensive of the scenes in the film. Like the video, the audio is simply perfection.
There is an entire disc dedicated to bonus content and it doesn’t dissapoint. There are hours of content here beginning with the Secrets of The Force Awakens documentary. With a running time of over an hour, it’s a must watch! It has a great deal of background information on the aforementioned selling of the Star Wars brand to how they recruited the members of the team that made all of this happen. This goes into some great detail with details on the production from pre-production and casting to the beginning of the actual filming. You’ll also hear from some of the actors as they provide insight into their respective characters. The time flies by as you watch, and you only wish there was more.
- The Story Awakens: The Table Read – Watch the old and new cast members as they look back on the memorable day they first came together for the reading of the movie’s script.
- Building BB-8 – Take a look to see how our new favorite droid was brought to life by the filmmakers.
- Crafting Creatures – Similar to Building BB-8, you have the opportunity to see what it takes to bring a cast of new creatures to life.
- Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight – Get a deeper view of the climactic battle between Rey and Kylo Ren.
- John Williams: The Seventh Symphony – The legendary composer shares personal insights of his work on Star Wars andThe Force Awakens.
- ILM: The Visual Magic of The Force – An insider’s look into the remarkable digital artistry of the movie’s visual effects.
- Force For Change – Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. See how the Star Wars: Force for Change initiative has united Star Wars fans all over the globe to help others.
- Deleted Scenes – You’ll want to watch this one to see what they decided not to keep in the final film. They include Finn and the Villager, Jakku Message, X-Wings Prepare for Lightspeed, Kylo Searches The Falcon, Snow Speeder Chase, Finn Will Be Fine. Some are very interesting, some are just okay, but overall, it’s a fun watch.
I’m sure it’s easy to see from what I’ve written that I think the quality of the Blu-ray is terrific. I’ll mention another thing that I really liked about the Blu-ray – it wasn’t cluttered with excessive trailers and screens. You simply pop the Blu-ray in your player, and in 30 seconds, you are at the main menu. I really appreciated the quick loading time and the simplistic and nicely design menus were so easy to navigate. Without a doubt, this Blu-ray is a must-have purchase for Star Wars fans everywhere! Get it on April 5, 2016!
Disclosure: We received a copy of this movie for review purposes. All opinions are our own.