Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Eric's Blu-ray Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The day all fans of a galaxy far, far away have been waiting for is here. Disney and Lucasfilm bring us the home entertainment release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Now we can watch the adventures of Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren anytime we want in the comfort of our own homes, cars, airplanes, or wherever else we so choose to.

I grew up on Star Wars. It's the first film that truly had an impact on me as a child. I was there in 1977 when it hit theaters and completely captured my imagination. So this review of the eighth episode of the Skywalker saga is coming from a longtime fan.

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 in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

I found Star Wars: The Last Jedi to be a refreshing change of direction for George Lucas's space opera. Honestly, it feels like a direction the Maker himself would have taken. It's unconventional and, at times, unpredictable.

Writer / Director Rian Johnson did exactly what he had to do to push the Star Wars saga in a unique new direction. He exiled himself and explored each character and made a decision as to the way they would have reacted to the situations they were put in. The entire film is like a big slap in the face to fanboys who don't like any sort of massive changes in a galaxy far, far away.

Everything that every crybaby fanboy or fangirl is complaining about I loved. Everything. Flying Leia; Luke throwing the lightsaber over his shoulder; Force Vision Luke; Snoke's demise; Rey's lack of important parentage; Rey's "unfounded" power in the Force; the Canto Bight sequence. The humor was all fine with me as well.

The only thing I was disappointed by was the way Captain Phasma was killed off. Here's a female character that really was built up to be so much more. I really thought that we would get something redeeming her uselessness in The Force Awakens, but we didn't. She went out like the punk she was.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is about destroying the things we've come to hold dear and starting over from scratch. It's like when a farmer burns down his fields to make way for better growth. Sometimes you have to tear down the old to build up the new. That's exactly what Rian Johnson did with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He gave us the movie we NEEDED, not the one we wanted or expected as fanboys and fangirls.

The movie is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence. There are also a few uses of unnecessary profanity found in the film. Aside from burned-up Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars has always been about keeping the action and on-screen violence and gore family-friendly. That's not to say we don't see Kylo and Rey spear a few Praetorian Guards here and there and witness one body cut in half.

The Blu-ray version of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is packed full of bonus material fans are going to love. A full-length documentary takes us behind-the-scenes of the movie and gives us the inside track on the journey of Luke Skywalker and the making of the film. Fourteen deleted scenes with optional commentary from Director / Writer Rian Johnson show us what was left on the cutting room floor. We get an alternate opening for the movie as well.

There are also scene breakdowns and a featurette showing Andy Serkis delivering his performance as Snoke. We get to see him in his motion-capture suit before he was given a digital makeover, which is something to behold. Rian Johnson provides audio commentary for the whole film, inviting us into the mind of the director and writer of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi was directed and written by Rian Johnson. It stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher. The running time for the movie is 152 minutes.

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

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