Star Wars: The Last Jedi (or also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi) is a 2017 American epic space opera film that was written and directed by Rian Johnson. It is the second installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy and is the eighth main installment of the Star Wars franchise, following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). It was produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The ensemble cast includes Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupida Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, and Gwndoline Christie in returning roles, with Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro joining the cast. The film features the final film performance by Fisher, who passed away in December4 2016, and it is dedicated to her memory. The plot follows Rey as she receives Jedi training from Luke Skywalker, in hopes of returning the tide for the Resistance in the fight against Kylo Ren and the First Order.
The Last Jedi was part of a new trilogy of films announced after Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012. It was produced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman, with Force Awakens directory J. J. Abrams as an executive producer. John Williams, composer for the previous films, returned to compose the score. Scenes that required shooting at Skellig Michael in Ireland were filmed during pre-production in September 2015, with principal photography beginning at Pinewood Studios in the United Kingdom in February 2016 and ending in July 2016. Post-production wrapped up in September 2017.
The film had its world premiere in Los Angeles on December 9, 2017, and was released in the United States on December 15, 2017. It ended up grossing over $1.3 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of 2017, the 6th-highest-grossing film in North America, and the 9th-highest-grossing film of all time, as well as the second-highest-grossing film of the Star Wars franchise. It received positive reviews from film critics, who praised its ensemble cast, visual effects, musical score, action sequences, and emotional weight; some considered it to be the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back. The film received four nominations at the 90th Academy Awards, including Best Original Score and Best Visual Effects, as well as two nominations at the 71st British Academy Film Awards. A sequel, provisionally titled Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled for release on December 20, 2019.
The Film Itself (4.5/5):
As we continue to move forward with the Disney-made films of the Star Wars franchise, the amount of anxiety associated with them continues to increase. Wondering where they are going to be taking things, and ultimately hope they avoid releasing a disaster like the prequel trilogy. That said, as my wife and I watched through Star Wars: The Last Jedi last night, I found myself smiling quite a bit as the various scenes played out. Everything from the small nods to the original trilogy, to the continued and very solid expansions to the story, and the various small bits of humor, I found myself thoroughly enjoying this film. However, I did knock my overall score down by a half point because while there were some unanswered questions at the end of Episode VII, there were quite a few parts that played out that almost answered those questions, only to leave them even further up in the air. One notable mention to this storyline was the fact that Luke Skywalker is still a badass, and now that he’s able to use the power that comes with the force, he really does one hell of a number as you get closer to the end of the film (sorry, I’m trying to avoid spoilers).
Picture Quality (5/5):
Overall, the picture quality that the Blu-ray release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi offers was absolutely phenomenal. Offering a considerably pristine view into the expanded universe that we’ve been provided since Disney had taken ownership of Lucasfilm, they really did a great job at making sure the picture was clean, that the colors were robust and that audiences were able to see and understand everything as the story played out. I can really only imagine how amazing this film looks with its utilization of HDR on the 4K UHD release. One part that really stood out was that of the scene I mentioned in the last paragraph. With this particular scene, the AT-AT’s stop with the camera scanning from behind Luke, I’m not completely sure what it was about this scene, but the entire environment that surrounded it and presentation of it looked absolutely beautiful.
Audio Quality (4/5):
I was pretty disappointed to see that Star Wars: The Last Jedi was packaged with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track. While the included audio track is nice, clean and able to be heard and understood without having to manually adjust the volume levels; I really think this film would have fared much, much better had it been packaged with a Dolby Atmos track. With the utilization of the elevation channel in Atmos, the variety of scenes with the ships, to the various battle scenes would have done a better job at placing audiences in the center of the action. However, the track that was provided, while it is clean, does a really great job at immersion within its limitations; making proper use of the camera position as the audio location would fluctuate based on the current position of the camera.
The Packaging (3/5):
The Blu-ray release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes packaged in your standard two-disc Blu-ray amaray case. Within that case is the standard Blu-ray copy of the film as well as a separate disc containing all of the special features. Both discs featuring a piece of artwork that’s different from each other and varies from that of the case art. There is no DVD copy of the film included with the standard Blu-ray release. A digital copy redemption pamphlet has been included for streaming options, as well as a slipcover that features the same piece of artwork that’s featured on the case art.
Special Features (5/5):
I was pleasantly happy with the additional features that were provided on the Blu-ray release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The content that’s been made available not only does a great job at offering an expanded view into the story contained within the film, but a behind the scenes look at the work that went into this movie. The content that’s been provided really allows for audiences to gain an appreciation for the work that the crew did. Included with this release is:
- The Director And The Jedi – Full Length Documentary – Writer/Director Rian Johnson Takes Us On A Very Personal And Intimate Journey Throughout His Production Of The Movie
- 14 Deleted Scenes – With Optional Audio Commentary By Writer/Director Rian Johnson Including An Alternate Opening
- Balance Of The Force
- Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) – Two Scenes From The Movie Featuring Andy Serkis’ Riveting, Raw On-Set Performance Before His Digital Makeover Into Snoke
- Scene Breakdowns
- Lighting The Spark: Creating The Space Battle
- Snoke And Mirrors
- Showdown On Crait
- Feature Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Rian Johnson
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish
Original Film: 152 minutes
Overall, I was genuinely happy with the resulting product of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and am certainly looking forward to the eventual release of Episode IX. The story, despite leaving so many more questions unanswered, was phenomenal and did a great job at capturing both my wife and I and maintaining our attention throughout to the end (and she’s not even that big of a Star Wars fan). The visual and audio presentation of the Blu-ray were nicely done, offering a clean experience for viewers; despite not making use of the Atmos technologies and including the elevation aspect. The special features that were provided offer a really nice look into the film, both in terms of story and production work. If you’re considering grabbing this film for your collection, I would highly recommend it. Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD beginning on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.
Andrew, shared his thoughts on the 4K UHD release as well.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.