Published on April 4th, 2018 | by Craig Silliphant0
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blu Ray Release
No matter your feelings on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the blu ray release of the movie harkens back to time where features meant something.
My review of The Last Jedi stands, however, after my third viewing with the blu ray release of the film, I’m definitely getting more emotional resonance out of Rian Johnson’s somewhat controversial Episode XIII. Some of the shocks have worn off, and while I still have issues with the way the film is trying to do too many things at once (and let’s face it, Rose and Finn’s storyline is treading water). But this time, I felt myself allowing the more emotional scenes to wash over me as they were no doubt intended. My appreciation of this movie will grow over time.
After my reviews, the haters chastised me for giving it a good review and the fanboys cursed me for not loving it every second of it unconditionally. But the truth, as it so often is, was somewhere in the middle. A friend recently joked that my calm, fair, measured review style is at odds with our fractured times, where everything is either THE BEST or THE WORST, and we think nuanced opinion means bellowing, red-faced, into the abyss.
That said, the blu ray release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi definitely falls on the BEST side of things (I’ll scream it into any abyss or Sarlacc pit). Most home video releases are devoid of any significant special features these days, just the standard EPK kit, unless you’re paying through the nose for a brilliant boutique release from Criterion or a company of that ilk. But The Last Jedi has special features like it’s the year 2000 all over again.
This could easily be a review for the feature-length documentary on the disc, called The Director and The Jedi. This making of documentary is a great special feature in that it’s a feature length movie in itself, but its subject matter is also an excellent inclusion.
Where The AV Club called Warner Brothers’ blu ray release of Justice League, “a bizarre exercise in hiding the truth about moviemaking,” The Director and The Jedi smartly takes on some of the controversies surrounding The Last Jedi, head on. While it’s framed like your regular Star Wars making of featurette, with tours through green screen studios and half made rubber aliens, the doc looks closer at Mark Hamill’s feelings about what writer/director Rian Johnson did with the Luke Skywalker character. The spine of the narrative deals with Hamill’s legacy with this character and putting his trust in his director (after voicing his disapproval, of course).
The film itself also has a Director’s Commentary with Rian Johnson, which I haven’t had a chance to listen to yet, but I’m sure it will be full of great anecdotes. Again, I will note that having a director’s commentary on such a big movie is also becoming unheard of these days, so this is a both a Star Wars fan and a home video collector’s dream. Bonus points for Johnson for opening himself up in this way, especially considering some of the backlash to the film.
Special features-wise, they could have just put The Director and The Jedi on the release and they’d still be way ahead of most recent studio releases. But there are other mini-featurettes as well as more than 20 minutes of coveted deleted scenes (even a few more seconds of Finn and Rose’s story make their arcs a bit stronger). The featurettes deal with more making of topics, but one stand out is Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only), which is the critical Snoke/Rey/Ren conflict in the throne room, but instead of the final VFX with Supreme Leader Snoke, it’s the footage of Serkis in his mo-cop suit. It’s fascinating to watch his performance.
All in all, as I’ve said, no matter where you land on The Last Jedi itself, this is one of the best home video releases of the year from a major studio. It’s THE BEST.