Star Wars: The Last Jedi (3D Blu-ray) (2017)

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Released 28-Mar-2018

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Audio Commentary-with Director Rian Johnson
Featurette-Making Of-The Director and the Jedi (95:23)
Featurette-Balance of the Force (10:17)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Scene Breakdowns x3
Featurette-Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) (5:49)
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 151:51
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Rian Johnson
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Daisy Ridley
Mark Hamill
Adam Driver
Oscar Isaac
John Boyega
Kelly Marie Tran
Carrie Fisher
Benicio Del Toro
Laura Dern
Domhnall Gleeson
Peter Mayhew
Anthony Daniels
Gwendoline Christie
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music John Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
French Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Greek
Norwegian
Swedish
Arabic
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† Despite its critical and commercial success, certain vocal armchair critics felt that 2015ís Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens played things too ďsafe,Ē and merely rehashed 1977ís Star Wars. Answering to that criticism is writer-director Rian Johnsonís Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, which takes this new trilogy in fresh and bold directions, defying the smug expectations of those who assumed they were just in for a remake of The Empire Strikes Back. In addition, whereas The Force Awakens was a fast-paced, escapist blockbuster, Johnson slams on the brakes to deal with story development and drama, opting for epic storytelling over constant thrills, and requiring patience. Indeed, The Force Awakens was more purely enjoyable, but this follow-up is the superior movie. Exquisitely polished, appropriately rousing and emotionally rich, The Last Jedi is another stalwart Star Wars adventure which proves that there is still plenty of life left in this long-running film series.

††† The location of the Resistance base has been exposed, prompting General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) to evacuate as the First Order closes in under the leadership of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). But the Resistance fleet cannot escape the First Order and are critically short on fuel, not to mention their starfighter fleet has been obliterated. Unsure of their leadership, Finn (John Boyega) and ace pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) go rogue in an attempt to save whatís left of the dwindling Resistance forces. To this end, Finn teams up with maintenance worker Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) to disable the tracking system of the First Orderís main Star Destroyer. Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Chewbacca have tracked down Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) who now lives like a hermit on the isolated planet of Ahch-To, the location of the First Jedi Temple. Rey begs Luke to leave his self-imposed exile and join the fight against the First Order, but heís haunted by his past failures. Even though Luke reluctantly agrees to teach Rey the ways of the Jedi, he fears that she will be seduced by the Dark Side, much like his nephew Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (Adam Driver).

††† Picking up immediately after The Force Awakens, the narrative of The Last Jedi is unexpected, and its ultimate trajectory and plot surprises cannot be spoiled. Happily, aside from sharing a few tiny surface details, this is truly the furthest thing possible from a remake of The Empire Strikes Back. (Itís satisfying to see how confidently Johnson shuts down those who have spent the last two years arrogantly assuming they have ďfigured outĒ this new trilogy.) Johnsonís vision is dark, and he unearths astonishing depth and thematic density to create a more adult motion picture, which is a welcome surprise given that this is a Disney production. Whereas George Lucas built the original Star Wars trilogy around concepts such as Joseph Campbellís heroís journey, Luke is now fully aware that happy endings never last, and that becoming a legend is not necessarily a good thing. The characters here debate the merits of holding onto the past, not to mention the Jedi religion and its hubris is brutally deconstructed. One of the movieís most powerful scenes involves the surprise return of an old character, who has much wisdom to impart. Other themes also crop up throughout The Last Jedi, including the business of war, as arms dealers sell to both sides of the conflict to earn their riches. The self-reflection is certainly welcome for a franchise that has just celebrated its 40th anniversary.

††† The Last Jedi is certainly long, clocking in at 152 minutes which is the most substantial runtime of the saga to date, and it does feel its length. This particular story doesnít exactly lend itself to a tidy three-act structure, and therefore what amounts to Act 2 feels incredibly beefy and is a bit too overcomplicated for its own good. Johnson also has a proclivity for defying expectations to surprise the audience, often stubbornly refusing to let the heroes win, but he pulls these types of tricks a bit too much, sacrificing a degree of narrative stability in the process. Working in the pictureís favour, however, is a pronounced sense of humour amid the armrest-clenching action sequences, suffusing the material with some much-needed humanity and levity. There is even a dialogue exchange in the opening minutes of the film, played for laughs, thatís unlike anything we have previously witnessed in the franchiseís history. Plus, in the casino on Canto Bight, a drunk space-leprechaun mistakes BB-8 for a slot machine. For all of the hoo-ha about the Porgs - small seabird-esque creatures which inhabit the planet of Ahch-To - their presence is insignificant, and they donít immediately irritate in the same way as the Ewoks from 1983ís Return of the Jedi.

††† In terms of tone, The Last Jedi is closer to something like Christopher Nolanís Dunkirk, and in many ways feels more like a proper war film than 2016ís Rogue One. There are certain chaotic sequences in which the Resistance frantically scramble to survive, with a pervading sense of utter hopelessness, that we simply donít see in major motion pictures very often. When Johnson does cut loose to deliver the type of thrilling action that Star Wars fans yearn, he does not disappoint. Lightsaber skirmishes visibly take influence from samurai pictures, while large-scale battles evoke classic war movies. The jaw-dropping extended conflict to close out the second act would be an exceptional climax in any other movie, but Johnson has even more up his sleeve for the actual climax, which packs a real punch. Furthermore, Craitís distinctive red and white landscape makes the finaleís striking visuals look like something from an art-house film. This is Johnsonís biggest movie to date in terms of scope and budget, but it appears that his previous directorial endeavours properly prepared him for the world of Star Wars.

††† For a movie of such a large budget (and considering that it spent the best part of 18 months in post-production), itís disheartening that some of the digital effects are sloppy (particularly the crystal critters on Crait and the space horse stampede on Canto Bight), and a certain returning character in a surprise cameo looks slightly off. Outside of these slight imperfections, however, The Last Jedi is visually stunning, with rock-solid photography courtesy of Johnsonís regular cinematographer Steve Yedlin (Brick, Looper), who predominantly captured the action with a combination of 35mm and 65mm film stock to generate an aesthetic reminiscent of the original trilogy. It looks as if practical model ships were photographed as opposed to wall-to-wall CGI, as the realism and immediacy of the outer space battles is magnificent. Itís also a joy to behold real sets and locations. Meanwhile, the motion capture techniques used to bring Snoke to life are better than ever, looking astonishingly intricate and tangible. Perfectly complementing the visuals is the score by series veteran John Williams. His reliably majestic compositions actually have more presence than The Force Awakens, and recognisable beats from the original trilogy are incorporated during certain moments. Williamsí work is simply invaluable.

††† Nobody back in 1977 could have predicted that Hamill would be capable of such a performance here, as he disappears into the role and submits the best acting work of his career. Itís a treat to see Hamill taking a bigger role this time around, while Fisher is likewise a more significant presence, which is a huge deal since this is the last time we will see Princess Leia. (Outside of the odd occasional Rogue One moment, if any of the spinoffs go that way.) Fisher endows her performance with authority, gravitas, wisdom and warmth, and seeing her play this iconic character just once more is both poignant and bittersweet. Fisherís daughter Billie Lourd is also given a beefier role as an officer in the Resistance, and sheís a delight, not to mention itís wonderful to see her acting alongside her mother. Out of the newcomers, Laura Dern is a notably brilliant addition as Vice Admiral Holdo, and Benicio Del Toro carves out a particularly memorable character. Meanwhile, after making such a positive impression in The Force Awakens, Ridley continues to impress, and is given the chance to really flex her acting muscles and show us what sheís made of. Itís a extraordinary performance, and of course she maintains her innate charisma throughout, making her easy to latch onto. Driver also has the chance to find more depth, and heís consistently excellent, portraying a layered, conflicted antagonist. Isaac shines yet again in his role as Poe (his dress now looking a bit similar to Han Solo), showing the same type of spunk and boyish charm exhibited by Harrison Ford in the original Star Wars trilogy. Unfortunately, Tran is less successful as Rose - she lacks spark and charisma. At least Boyega places forth another terrific performance, proving yet again that he was an ideal pick for the role of Finn. Long-time fans should be wary that outside of Luke and Leia, the veteran characters do not have a great deal to do - in particular, R2-D2 is barely glimpsed.

††† More than just a brainless fireworks reel, Star Wars: The Last Jedi emerges as one of the yearís most intelligent and compelling blockbusters, with Johnson extracting superlative performances across the board and pushing the boundaries of the Star Wars franchise. Of course, the movie does refuse to provide answers to all the burning questions that you may have (particularly in regards to the origins of Snoke, and Reyís lineage), and there are imperfections, but The Last Jedi gets far more right than wrong, setting the stage for what has the potential to be one hell of a closing chapter. Johnson also eschews pure fan service as he finds his bold new vision, and as a result your mileage with the finished movie may vary depending on your willingness to watch it with an open mind. It is worth noting that, like its immediate predecessor, The Last Jedi not only stands up to repeat viewings but actually improves a second time around.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† Fortunately, Disney are still producing and distributing 3D Blu-rays locally, even though 3D televisions are no longer being manufactured. It's evident that 3D discs are less widespread internationally - in the United States, 3D is often either non-existent or relegated to a retailer exclusive, making it all the more encouraging that Disney still caters to the Australian 3D crowd. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was shot in 2D, predominantly on film stock, before being converted to 3D in post-production. As with the 2D disc, Disney does not waste any space - the 3D presentation takes up a mind-boggling 47GB of space on the dual-layered BD-50, with a combined average bitrate approaching 32 Mbps. Without a doubt, this is the best encode we could hope for on a regular old BD-50; if the movie was any longer, it would have necessitated splitting the 3D presentation across two discs, which would have just been annoying. Despite the back cover advertising an open matte 1.78:1 presentation, the movie is actually just presented in its original letterboxed aspect ratio of 2.39:1.

††† The Last Jedi is Disney, so you know that both the conversion itself as well as the encoding is of a high quality. From the beginning, the strengths of the presentation are on full display, with the words of the opening crawl appearing to be separate from the vast black space reaching out behind it. Admittedly, depth in a few moments is disappointing, particularly when we see the planet before the opening battle sequence, but this is not a widespread issue. Speaking of the initial battle, it looks fantastic in 3D. Cockpit shots particularly stand out, while ships appear to be deep within your television. There's impressive, palpable depth with bombs are dropped on the dreadnought as well. And speaking of cockpit shots, Luke wandering into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon is a terrific 3D showcase. The entrance to the tree containing the Jedi Texts exhibits impressive depth, while the landscapes of Ahch-To come alive in three dimensions. Just as impressive is the initial extended shot through the casino on Canto Bight. When it rains, the drops appear at different depths. As Leia blasts her way into the bridge at around 90 minutes into the movie, debris appears to be flying out of the screen towards you. Eventually, I was so immersed in the three-dimensional presentation, and I was enjoying the movie so much, that I stopped judging the presentation and stopped taking notes to just watch the film. Suffice it to say, it looks consistently great.

††† The climactic showdown on Crait is another great opportunity to show off the strengths of the conversion. The landscape stretches out into your television, and you get a better grasp of the scale of the redesigned AT-ATs against the tiny Resistance speeders. However, I found myself underwhelmed by the shots of Poe in the bridge during the mutiny, with his pistol drawn and pointed towards the camera - the conversion should allow the gun to protrude out of the screen, but it doesn't. Admittedly, the 3D can be subtle, particularly during close-ups of faces (see the throne room scene with Snoke), but the effects are apparent nonetheless. Although the presentation's colour palette is oh-so-slightly dimmed due to the 3D glasses, colours still look pleasing and vibrant. The grass on Ahch-To looks lush, and explosions still look brilliant and orange. When Rey sits by a fire speaking to Kylo, the orange lighting is very strong and never looks muted. However, blacks are on the milky side at times, with mediocre contrast, and certain shots look downright odd as a result. There are shots which look blown out and deny proper highlights, such as when Finn is driving his speeder towards the enormous canon on Crait. However, these drawbacks are not frequent, fortunately. The transfer retains a high level of detailing and looks pleasingly sharp for the most part, boasting terrific highlights on faces and clothing, while the presentation resolves a layer of film grain that's not always readily apparent. Indeed, "grain haters" may be happier with this 3D image, as the grain is oh-so-slightly more pronounced on the 2D Blu-ray and the 4K disc. Naturally, textures are stronger and the film looks a tad sharper in 2D, but this is a minor knock against the 3D presentation. Again, for the transfer to look any better, Disney would have needed to spread the movie across two discs.

††† Aside from the shortcomings with contrast and black levels, Disney's encode simply soars. Miraculously, I saw no traces of any encoding anomalies like crosstalk or ghosting, nor is there any macroblocking or aliasing. There's maybe a tiny bit of banding, but it's never distracting. Is The Last Jedi's 3D genuinely essential? Probably not, especially given that the Star Wars saga has done just fine in regular old 2D for so many decades before Disney's revival of the franchise. However, the 3D conversion is undeniably well-done nevertheless, rather than feeling like a cheap cash-grab (Clash of the Titans is still the gold standard of s*** 3D conversions). Plus, director Johnson is so enamoured with the old "Star Tours" ride at Disneyland, and certain moments throughout the movie do evoke that ride all the more in 3D - see the Falcon going through the bowels of Crait during the climax, for instance. Those who enjoy the format and still buy 3D discs should find a lot to like about this disc.

††† There are multiple language options, which implies that this disc was intended for international distribution. I had no problems with the English track, which is free of errors, but of course it may take a while to adjust to subtitles in 3D.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† As per usual for a Disney movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was mixed in Dolby Atmos, but arrives on Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, much to the ire of audiophiles across the world. (The 4K Blu-ray has a Dolby Atmos mix, for those interested.) Disney has had problems with the encoding of their audio tracks of late, but The Last Jedi is a noticeable step up compared to Thor: Ragnarok, and is nowhere near the catastrophe that was Avengers: Age of Ultron. Although you need to crank up the volume higher than you should probably need to, and the audio could stand to have a little bit more oomph at times, this track is crystal clear and gave my surround sound system a fine workout. The opening crawl set to John Williams' iconic music sounds excellent, enough to give you gooseflesh, and the track utilises panning effects and channel placement throughout. When ships fly past the screen, the sound pans across channels. Certain lines of dialogue come from one side or a single speaker, for instance when Rey first experiences her Force connection with Kylo. Atmospherics are also evident throughout, from the sounds of the waves crashing into shore on Ahch-To, to rain coming from all around, as well as chatter and game sounds in the casino on Canto Bight. I was never left feeling that the soundscape was too hollow. Williams' majestic and beautiful score fills all channels, coming through with precision and never drowning out sound effects or dialogue.

††† The only real issue I had with the track was with dialogue. During quieter scenes, the dialogue sounds a bit too soft, but thankfully it's never muffled. Apart from those certain moments, there aren't many other issues to speak of. Dialogue is easy to make out during the big action scenes, with spot-on prioritisation amid the explosions and laser blasts. The battles sound terrific, exhibiting superb dynamic range to create an immersive soundscape. When Kylo flies his fighter past the bridge, the sound is deafening as the subwoofer is put to good use. When Rey fires her blaster during her first Force connection with Kylo, the blast is loud and packs plenty of impact. When lightsabers are ignited, there is brilliant subwoofer activity, and the hum comes through with effective impact. All laser blasts from fighters are impactful, and explosions are deafening - just see the hanger on the Resistance ship being destroyed. Luckily, I never detected any drop-outs or sync issues, nor are there any pops or clicks.

††† Yes, it's disappointing that this is not a 5-star track like it should rightly be, but this lossless track is still perfectly acceptable, and I was never left feeling overly underwhelmed like I was with Thor: Ragnarok. Plus, casual viewers without surround sound systems probably won't notice that anything is off. And after all, it's definitely better than a lossy mix. Still, audiophiles with expensive set-ups will continue to nit-pick, rather than just enjoying the movie.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† The 3D/2D combo pack comes with an array of special features. There are no extras on the 3D disc - they are all housed on the other two discs in the set.

Disc 2 - 2D Disc:

Audio Commentary with Director Rian Johnson

††† Recorded in late November 2017, before the movie was even released, this is a predominantly scene-specific audio commentary, with director Johnson flying solo as he runs through as many topics as he can to provide comprehensive insight into the production of The Last Jedi. During the opening sequence, he discusses how things changed in post-production, and mentions the movies that influenced him - most notably the Gregory Peck film Twelve O'Clock High. The stunt performer standing in for Hux even broke his nose during the fall to the ground when being thrown around by Snoke. Johnson gives shoutouts to Hermione Corfield and Noah Segan in their cameo appearances, and it's interesting to hear his rationale for the polarising scene in which Leia uses the Force in space. The track is littered with information - he even explains that Maz (Lupita Nyong'o) had a larger role in an earlier version of the screenplay. He breaks down character motivations, narrative choices, and even points out that the Porg nest in the Falcon was kept because Kathleen Kennedy always laughed at it during screenings. Johnson also has some fascinating anecdotes about the shooting of the iconic Yoda scene, including Frank Oz suggesting the initial dolly shot. Thankfully, there aren't any noticeable dead patches throughout the commentary, as Johnson - who's very calm and cool - consistently has things to talk about.

Disc 3 - Bonus Disc

The Director and the Jedi (HD; 95:23)

††† Whereas The Force Awakens earned a rather substantial 70-minute documentary, Disney crank things up a notch with The Director and the Jedi, a gargantuan documentary about the making of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It's also terrifically intimate, for the most part tracking the production through Johnson's eyes. With videographers documenting the production at every stage, this extra begins with the announcement that Johnson will make the movie and shows the general internet reaction. And before the start of principal photography, we are shown the days of pre-shooting at Skellig Michael, as well as the rehearsal process. The level of access we are permitted is remarkable - rather than focusing just on the filming itself, we see producer Ram Bergman and others trying to work out scheduling, as they had to schedule around set construction. It's rare for a documentary to trace the less glamorous aspects of making a motion picture, particularly one as high-profile and expensive as this, making the extra incredibly valuable.

††† Once filming begins, the documentary tracks the shoot in great detail. It's particularly poignant to see the shooting of Carrie Fisher's scenes, and there's some nice interview material with her. Johnson is seen navigating difficult scenes and even visiting the editing suite as often as possible, watching the work of editor Bob Ducsay (Looper) and offering input. Warwick Davis' cameo on Canto Bight is covered, and there's a beefy ten-minute segment about bringing Yoda to life, with Frank Oz getting involved in the production. Fight choreography is touched upon, with Johnson extremely happy that they could shoot the primary actors in wide shots doing their own fights. We even get to see the moment that Johnson tells Hamill the title of the movie, and as filming winds down, we see certain actors wrapping. Thankfully, the shooting of Luke and Leia's emotional reunion is covered, if only briefly. As ever, I wish this was still longer as certain stones remain unturned, but this is never less than a fascinating, informative and hugely entertaining documentary.

††† Packed with raw behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with a large number of cast and crew, The Director and the Jedi is a motion picture in its own right. It's encouraging to see Disney producing such a terrific Blu-ray extra, particularly since each Marvel movie gets nothing even close to this.

Balance of the Force (HD; 10:17)

††† In this extra, Johnson discusses the Force and his thinking process whilst writing the movie. He covers Luke's reasoning for going into exile and not coming back, as well as Rey's motivation in the story. Bringing in the Force connection between Rey and Kylo is discussed, as well as Luke's climactic act and its repercussions across the galaxy which will ultimately lead into Episode IX. The movie's detractors should definitely watch this one.

Scene Breakdowns (HD; 33:00 total)

††† Three featurettes are provided, which take a closer look at specific scenes and aspects of the production. These are a terrific addition to the disc. These can either be watched individually, or via a "Play All" function.

Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) (HD; 5:49)

††† Johnson provides an introduction to this extra, explaining that Serkis' performance as Snoke was so good that he wanted to give viewers the chance to see his performance in the mo-cap suit, before he was replaced with the digital character. This is a nice addition to the disc - we even get to see practical elements, such as a Snoke hand being placed against Rey's face.

Deleted Scenes (HD; 23:02 total)

††† Director Rian Johnson publicly stated that the first cut of The Last Jedi ran around three hours, and a fair bit was cut. Thankfully, we can now see what was cut or altered. These are all presented with lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, and special effects are in varying stages of completion. There's an optional audio commentary with Johnson on all the deleted scenes, in which he talks about why certain things were cut. These can either be viewed individually, or via a "Play All" function.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † There is no 3D release in the United States, and the U.K. set appears to be virtually identical to ours. Buy local.

Summary

††† The backlash against Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been powerful in the months since its cinema release, with its low Rotten Tomatoes audience score and continually falling IMDb rating. But after multiple cinema viewings and watching the movie again in my living room, I still like it. Although not perfect, it has heart and spectacle, and I appreciate the auteur vision on display. It's almost a shame that J.J. Abrams is coming back for Episode IX, as he might play things a bit safer.

††† 3D fans can rejoice, for The Last Jedi has received an excellent 3D Blu-ray release. The 3D presentation is top-notch, with a state-of-the-art conversion and superlative encoding making this one a keeper. Although the audio falls short of perfection, it's still pleasing for the most part, while the special features are comprehensive. Highly recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Thursday, April 05, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDLG UP970 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

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