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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Science Fiction > Space Opera > Drama > Comedy > Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017 aka Episode Eight/LucasFilm/Disney 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017 aka Episode Eight/LucasFilm/Disney 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)



4K Ultra HD Picture: A Picture: B+ Sound: A Extras: B+ Film: B+



The third film under Disney's acquisition of the most famous LucasFilm property (wanting it so much, they bought the whole company) is Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017 aka Episode Eight), which is expertly directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick) and the follow-up to J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens (reviewed elsewhere on this site).


Many Star Wars fans like myself are thrilled simply by the fact that this movie exists, as many years ago it seemed unlikely that the franchise was going to continue after George Lucas stepped away from the Director's Chair after Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith in 2006. While not the strongest entry in the franchise, there's still a heck of a lot of love about The Last Jedi and in many ways, it goes against the grain and creates an entry that is highly unpredictable and entertaining despite what we may have theorized or 'hoped' would happen as fans.


Please note that is the first Star Wars title in the new 4K UHD format and is also one of the best looking discs of the format I've seen to date. We hope to continue covering back catalog titles of the franchise as they inevitably become available in 4K UHD in the years to come. Disney has just recently embraced the format with some of their Marvel Studios titles (including Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Thor Ragnarok) and the recent animated Oscar winning Coco (reviewed elsewhere on this site). This edition of The Last Jedi features the solely the film in 2160p and then a separate Blu-ray which contains all of the extra features spanned over two discs.


I remember eating dinner with a close friend of mine before seeing this film on opening night and we were both exchanging ideas about how we thought the film was going to play out... even going as far as placing a few friendly bets on our theories. We both walked out of the cinemas hours later scratching our heads... discovering that neither of us were right about what we thought was going to happen. Neither of us knew if we even liked the film or not... until seeing it a few more times... which, after repeating viewing, the film gets better and better. Now, after a sixth viewing, I hold it in pretty high regard though I still lean towards liking last year's Rogue One just a tiny bit more due mainly to its resurrection of Peter Cushing and the badass Darth Vader sequences.


The Last Jedi stars Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Oscar Issac, Adam Driver, Andy Serkis, John Boyega, Anthony Daniels, Kelly Marie Tran, Benicio Del Toro, Frank Oz, Domhnall Gleeson, Laura Dern, Lupita Nyong'o, Billie Catherine Lourd, Gwendoline Christie, and many many others. Also notable is that this is the last performance from Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, who sadly died at the end of production. She does (SPOILER) survive the film (despite one scene where she easily could have been offed), and which will make fans wonder how her death will be handled in the next installment.


Reuniting us again with the new new cast of characters (and a few old ones) that were established in Episode 7, we get to catch up with Rey (Ridley) who has finally located the long lost Luke Skywalker (Hamill), who has been hiding in a remote island in a uncharted corner of the galaxy. Rey's attempts to get Luke to come back to the fight (and train her) prove unsuccessful as Luke has since given up his mantle of hero and has instead disappeared into obscurity along with the dying Jedi religion. Hot on her trail (and that of the Rebellion) is Kylo Ren (Driver), the son of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia Organa (Fisher), who is destined to stop Rey before she unlocks her true potential and turns against the tyrannical First Order - which took over Galaxy conquering after the fall of Darth Vader and the Emperor after Return of the Jedi.


Outside of Rey and Kylo's complicated stories, we also meet up with the Resistance (known as 'the Rebellion' in the original trilogy) who are trying to escape the grasp of General Hux (Gleeson) and Snoke (Serkis), who are hot on their tail. It's up to Finn (Boyega), Poe Dameron (Issac), new characters Vice Admiral Holdo (Dern), Rose (Tran), and Leia to get what's left of the Resistance to safety on a remote planet known as Crait. Of course, both missions end up being anything but simple as the fate of the Galaxy hangs in sway...


About the presentation... this demo worthy 4K UHD disc presents the film in 2160p 2160p HECV/H.265, Dolby Vision (12-bit color)/HDR (10-bit color; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a flawless Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless audio mix straight from the experts at Skywalker Sound. John Williams' Oscar nominated score is a highlight of the audio mix and on full display here with little left to be desired in terms of quality.


Skin tones and colors are vibrant and perfect (especially with Dolby Vision & HDR technology) and the Special Effects are even more beautiful than they were in the theater with this next level of detail. Audio wise, also on the disc is a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD track and various 2.0 Stereo tracks in foreign languages and Descriptive Audio. Leave it to Star Wars to test the limits of the new format and with breathtaking results.


Also included is the 1080p Blu-ray presentation of the film with similar audio and video specs as the 4K UHD but with a more compressed image. It still looks great for the format but is missing that extra bit of clarity that is seen on 4K UHD with Dolby Vision & HDR. Also included is a digital copy.



SPOILERS:


A few things in the film bothered myself and other fans that will hopefully get resolved in Episode 9 (which will once again be directed by J.J. Abrams) I'll put here for readers interested. For one is Luke's tone and character throughout most of the film, which is that of a defeated warrior and not an Obi-Wan like master as many were hoping. I personally am okay with Hamill's portrayal and am kind of happy that he didn't just willingly accept the mission. Johnson could have easily made Luke evil, or had him be something totally different than what he became. Most upsetting to me, though, was the sudden death of Snoke (Serkis), which is effective in the film but leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Will we discover that Snoke is in fact still alive in the next film and what was killed was a force projection? Or is he really dead? Only time will tell. Rey's parentage was supposedly going to be explained in this film but was instead left a bit more vague than many would like... we have to wait for J.J. on that one too.


Another gripe people had was over the new ''casino'' planet and its not so subtle message about animal cruelty in the second act. Personally, I feel the time in the film spent on this planet is a bit silly in the film but at the end of the day it is what it is and may or may not have been inspired a bit by Harry Potter. Personally too, I wanted more Captain Phasma, more Snoke, and a little Boba Fett action? (That's just the fanboy talking...) I'm not too thrilled about ''broom boy'' at the end but maybe there's some sort of greater plan for him (and Han Solo's dice) in future films. I also didn't end up hating the Porgs like I thought I would. END


SPOILERS:


There's a bounty of extras (but will there ever be enough?) which (as promoted) include:


The Director and the Jedi - Go deep behind the scenes with writer-director Rian Johnson on an intimate and personal journey through the production of the movie - and experience what it's like to helm a global franchise and cultural phenomenon.


Balance of the Force - Explore the mythology of the Force and why Rian Johnson chose to interpret its role in such a unique way.


Scene Breakdowns


Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle - Get a close-up look at the epic space battle, from the sounds that help propel the action, through the practical and visual effects, to the characters who bring it all to life.


Snoke and Mirrors - Motion capture and Star Wars collide as the filmmakers take us through the detailed process of creating the movie's malevolent master villain.


Showdown on Crait - Break down everything that went into creating the stunning world seen in the movie's final confrontation, including the interplay between real-word locations and visual effects, reimagining the walkers, designing the crystal foxes, and much more.


Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) - Writer-director Rian Johnson presents two exclusive sequences from the movie featuring Andy Serkis' riveting, raw on-set performance before his digital makeover into Snoke.


Deleted Scenes - With an introduction and optional commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.


Audio Commentary - View the movie with in-depth feature audio commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.



Critics loved it and fans were divided about it but at the end of the day at least we have a new and vastly different entry in the ever growing Star Wars franchise and we should all be happy about that.


The Last Jedi pushes the property into new territory and dares to be more than a laundry list of references to the original films. There's no argument that the Force is with this demo worthy presentation in 4K UHD and a must own for any Star Wars fan with the technology. I would give my left arm to get a copy of the original trilogy on 4K disc but as Obi Wan once said... ''patience!''


There will also be different editions of the film on Blu-ray in steelbook packaging (Best Buy) and a Target Exclusive edition that are sure to sell out fast upon the release date and have inflated eBay prices in no time flat.


What J.J. Abrams' plans are for the next entry remains to be seen at the writing of this review, but at least in a few months after this posting, we will have another Star Wars adventure in the shape of Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Ron Howard. How that adventure will turn out we will have to wait and see...



- James Lockhart

https://www.facebook.com/jamesharlandlockhartv/


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