Published on April 21st, 2016 | by William O'Dell0
Star Wars: TFA – The Blu-ray Review
Now that the interstellar dust has settled on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we look at the Blu-ray release. Is it strong with the Force?
In a December not so long ago, in movie theatres across the globe, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TFA) shattered expectations and global records. I was one of those fans who was uber-excited and couldn’t wait to share this, what I assumed would be, masterpiece with my children.
Let’s put this in context for a parsec. I love all things Star Wars — and yes, that includes the Prequels. If it’s Star Wars, I’m watching or interested. So the hype surrounding Ep. VII was just stoking an ever-glowing flame of adoration for this universe.
Then I saw it, not once but twice, in theatres. And was disappointed in certain story repeating story arcs — the third destruction of a planet killer, an estranged father-son dynamic, plucky droids, and a cantina scene, to name a few. Don’t get me started on the coincidences and the colloquial use of our language — sorry, but whose version of “Hell” was Finn referring to?
Once again, I love Star Wars. So April 5th couldn’t get here soon enough for me to get the Blu-ray. And suddenly the magic of the Force was restored for me in this movie.
While the Special Features are not near as dense and long-winded as Lord of the Rings’, they gave a fair bit of context to the movie that was sorely lacking unless you were an uber-fan looking for every scrap of information.
For instance in the mini-making of docu-feature, Secrets of The Force Awakens, it is touched on how the story really centered around a simple question of “Who was Luke Skywalker?” Throughout the movie, the question seemed to be where, not who, had he become after Return of the Jedi and where had he gone when Ben Solo turned to the Dark Side. These questions were still unanswered question at the climax of TFA, which solidified that this was just the set-up for the larger unfolding of the trilogy and new movie universe.
The creature feature, Crafting Creatures, was very interesting, talking about how these artists worked for years on this project with the potential that none or all of their creations would be in the final draft of the movie. The filmmakers also highlighted how this was a return to the original trilogy and the craft of creation that those artists had once pioneered.
While the movie itself screams of nostalgia, The Story Awakens: The Table Read really drove that point home. With a photo of the table read being plastered all over the Internet and magazines well before the theatrical release, this now famous reading combined the OG actors alongside their new counterparts as you are given a snippet of what the reading was like with Mark Hamill as the narrator.
Through that feature and other bonus features, you will truly get a sense that the filmmakers and actors were truly involved and loving every minute of being able to re-invigorate this beloved franchise. There is an earnest desire to bring something new and something familiar to the table whilst still pushing the boundaries where they can.
Personally, my favourite feature has to be the highlight of John Williams’ involvement. The legendary conductor is just as much of a character/originator as George Lucas, having worked on all seven of the movies, creating iconic and sweeping music in every swish of his baton. His work solidifies the unity of all the films and truly sets the tone.
While the bonus features make up for some of the issues with the film, commentaries by the actors or director and producers would have been fantastic. That is the one glaringly obvious omission in this Blu-ray set.
As for the sound quality and picture, it’s Blu-ray and THX. Expect the best as ILM created the industry standards on this type of movie.
Now the wait is on for Episode VIII — the one where Luke has lines!