Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Synopsis:
Luke Skywalker’s peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he encounters Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of the Force. Her desire to learn the ways of the Jedi forces Luke to make a decision that changes their lives forever. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren and General Hux lead the First Order in an all-out assault against Leia and the Resistance for supremacy of the galaxy.

Special Features:

  • Audio Commentary: Writer/Director Rian Johnson delivers an enjoyably agreeable track in which he dissects the film to an intimate degree. He discusses the famous fanfare, an alternate opening, visual effects, actors and characters, performances, set details, photographic elements, narrative details, the writing process and developing the film as its own entity and within the larger Star Wars universe, and much more. It’s a fascinating track, full of honest insight as well as some typical commentary tidbits. It’s a great listen that offers a necessary added insight into the movie.
  • The Director and the Jedi (1:35:23): An intimate, detailed documentary journey that explores the making of the movie from a number of interesting perspectives, packed with raw and honest insight by Rian Johnson and cast and crew, and fascinating footage from sets and rehearsals and production meetings. Broadly, the piece explores, in offset but flowing cadence, scripting, shooting, set and prop building, on-set life, discussions of working with cast and crew, editing, and plenty more. This is a movie and Star Wars fan’s dream extra.
  • Balance of the Force (10:17): Johnson discuses The Force, Luke’s motivations in the movie, Rey’s place in the universe, the Force connection between Rey and Ren, and the film’s final confrontation. Much of this is covered to some degree in the commentary track.
  • Scene Breakdowns: Comprehensive insight into making three of the film’s key sequences. Included are Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle (14:23), Snoke and Mirrors (5:40), and Showdown on Crait (12:56).
  • Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) (5:49): Andy Serkis’ performance as Snoke in the motion capture suit, prior to the CGI layers that made it into the finished product seen in the film.
  • Deleted Scenes (23:02 total runtime): Following a Rian Johnson Introduction, the following scenes are included, with optional Rian Johnson commentary: Alternate Opening, Paige’s Gun Jams, Luke Has a Moment, Poe: Not Much of a Sewer, It’s Kind of Weird That You Recorded That, The Caretaker Sizes Up Rey, Caretaker Village Sequence, Extended Fathier Chase, Mega Destroyer Incursion – Extended Version, Rose Bites the Hand That Taunts Her, Phasma Squealed Like a Whoop Hog, Rose & Finn Go to Where They Belong, Rey & Chewie in the Falcon, and The Costumes and Creatures of Canto Bight.

Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)Thoughts:
Past Star Wars home entertainment releases could be considered underwhelming when looking at the supplements they offered. Unlike The Force Awakens or Rogue OneThe Last Jedi is packed with bonus features with the behind the scenes documentary The Director and the Jedi being the most notable.  The 95 minute documentary takes us behind the camera and into the world of Rian Johnson, the director tasked with following up the huge success of JJ Abrams and The Force Awakens. It’s compelling as you watch him communicate with the actors and crew in between takes, admiring every decision he makes.

Other special features worth watching include Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only), which shows the iconic actor most known for his work as Gollum and Caesar transform into the menacing Supreme Leader Snoke. Recognized for his motion capture performances, we take a look at the chameleon that is Serkis as his mannerisms translate into the computer generated Snoke.

There’s more than enough content here that will entice Star Wars fans and keep them interested on repeat viewings. You’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth when purchasing a copy of The Last Jedi on home entertainment.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now available on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD.


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