Studio and Year: Disney – 2015
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 136 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyongo, Andy Serkis, Domnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max Von Sydow
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Music by: John Williams
Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arnot
Region Code: A,B,C
Theatrical release Date: December 18, 2015
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 5, 2016
Star Wars: The Force Awakens saw the eagerly anticipated reteaming of original Star Wars stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, along with Anthony Daniels, the only actor to have been in all seven Star Wars films, and Peter Mayhew. The returning cast was joined by newcomer Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron).
As soon as that famous orchestra music starts and the yellow words start scrolling up, you can’t help but get that familiar giddy feeling as Star Wars: The Force Awakens begins. We are caught up that Luke Skywalker has been missing and that his twin sister, General Leia Organa, is looking for him to help the Resistance against the First Order. Along this journey, we meet a new droid called BB-8 who is a fun loving little character that the story revolves around. We meet a new villain, Kylo Renn, who we learn is a descendant of Darth Vader and he is out to get information from BB-8’s master, Poe Dameron. As Kylo Renn is unsuccesful with getting the valuable information from Poe, he learns that he must locate BB-8, who is on his own on the planet of Jakku. With the help of a Stormtrooper referred to as FN-2187, Poe escapes Renn’s imprisonment and the two take off in a Tie Fighter. Poe starts calling FN-2187, Finn, and through their escape they wind up crashing onto Jakku where Finn seems to have lost Poe and fears that he is dead. He sets out to find BB-8 and meets a scavenger named Rey, along the way who is already with BB-8. While the First Order is in pursuit, the group winds up aboard the Millennium Falcon and our story reacquaints us with Chewbacca and Han Solo. From here we get to go along the journey with our new characters, as well as our favorites from the original trilogy. The story does an excellent job of bringing the old with the new and making it all work to complete this mission of trying to find Luke and stop Kylo Renn and the First Order.
The story has quite a familiar vibe to the original move Star Wars: A New Hope from the characters and their relationships to the locations and settings. It brings a comforting way of rebooting the franchise without calling it a reboot and keeps the original stories intact and introduces us to potentially new adventures with these new characters.
My personal take on this movie is I just plain out loved it! There are a few things that I would have liked to have seen done differently, but I think with a movie and story line as vast and characters as diverse as well, you will alway have an opinion on what you might hope for in the story.
I saw it twice in the theaters and now at home on this Blu-ray version and love the story more and more each time I see it. The special effects and visuals on this Blu-ray version are just incredible. The razor sharp images and deep contrast is pure eye candy and the shadow depth is truly a vision in and of itself. You are so enthralled with the story and images that when they are combined with the DTS-HD master 7.1 audio you are completely enveloped and feel like you are right in the middle of the scenes with everything happening all around you giving it a complete 360 degrees of audio pumping out of all 7 speakers. The subwoofers get a workout but, not as loud as you might think. The bass response is quite deep and has a great punchiness to it without being overbearing and loud just for the sake of being loud. I think the perfect way to describe it is that the lower frequency truly compliments the dialogue and the musical score in a tasteful way without just rattling the walls like so many other movies do. The musical score like in all of the other movies is what truly sets the tone and feeling of the movie. There is a familiarity with a new vibe complimenting the new story line and direction.
This Blu-ray has a decent amount of bonus features but, I feel like there is much more that could have been added and perhaps there will be another edition released at a later date with more to offer including a 3D version. I saw it both times in 3D at the theaters and one of those times it was on an IMAX and the 3D depth was outstanding. I am extremely disappointed that they didn’t release this edition with a 3D option to purchase. I believe we will see one later in the year and of course if they put more content on it and a 3D disk as well, it is sure to make Disney more money with people buying multiple copies of the same film. I believe I owned the original trilogy on VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, and now Blu-ray. I imagine the same will hold true here as technology continues to advance.
- Disc 1: Star Wars The Force Awakens High Definition Feature Film
- Disc 2: Star Wars The Force Awakens Bonus Features
- (HD) Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey – For the first time, discover the complete story behind the making of The Force Awakens, revealed through in-depth footage and exclusive interviews with the actors and filmmakers in this 4 part documentary – 69 minutes
- (HD) The Story Awakens: The Table Read – Cast members familiar and new reflect on the memorable day they all first came together to read the movie’s script – 4 minutes
- (HD) Building BB-8 – See how the filmmakers brought the newest droid to the screen, creating an instant fan favorite in the Star Wars universe – 6 minute featurette
- (HD) Crafting Creatures – Watch movie magic as the filmmakers bring a cast of new creatures to life – 9 minute featurette
- (HD) Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight – Go deeper into the epic, climactic lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo Ren – 7 minute featurette
- (HD) John Williams: The Seventh Symphony – The legendary composer shares personal insights of his work on Star Wars and The Force Awakens – 7 minute featurette
- (HD) ILM: The Visual Magic of The Force – An insider’s look into the remarkable digital artistry of the movie’s visual effects – 8 minute featurette
- (HD) 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 – 3 minutes
- (HD) 6 Deleted Scenes
- Bonus DVD
- Digital HD Copy
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an incredible way to get old audiences back into the franchise we fell in love with many moons ago in a galaxy far, far away and now introduces a whole new audience and opens up new chapters to take everyone on an exciting cinematic journey for years to come and through a galaxy where everyone extends their well wishes by saying, “May the Force be with you”!