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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Review

April 04, 2016

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Review - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Apr 04, 2016
( Rating: 4 Star Rating)

Lots of cool extras on the Blu-ray for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Check out Kidzworld’s review.

By: Lynn Barker

A huge hit with fans old and new, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out to take home. The saga of Rey and Kylo Ren is just beginning and the mysteries of her birth, why she is so strong with The Force and why the rebirth of Jedi power revolves around Luke Skywalker will be revealed in future films. In this one….

BB8 with ReyBB8 with ReyCourtesy of Disney

Searching for Luke

Around thirty years after the Rebels destroyed the 2nd Death Star weapon (In Return of the Jedi), Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi, (Mark Hamill) has disappeared. Now the Empire has morphed Into The First Order and the Rebel Alliance has become the Resistance headed by Luke’s sister Leia (Carrie Fisher) now seasoned General Organa. She has been searching the galaxy for her bro Luke without success.

Han comforts LeiaHan comforts LeiaCourtesy of Disney

On Jakku

Resistance ace pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is sent by Leia to the desert planet Jakku to obtain a map of Luke's location. Stormtroopers under the command of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) land and ruthlessly destroy a village and everybody in it. They capture Poe but his droid BB8 escapes with the map hidden in his memory. Wandering, BB crosses paths with Rey (Daisy Ridley) a smart scavenger who was abandoned as a child and who feels sorry for him. Ren tortures Poe with the Dark side of the Force and learns about the map in BB8.

Kylo Ren summons the dark sideKylo Ren summons the dark sideCourtesy of Disney

Defection

Stormtrooper FN-2187 (they don’t have names) is fed up with the “kill everything that moves” orders and he quits, helping Poe escape. Poe names him Finn (John Boyega) and their stolen TIE fighter crashes back on Jakku. They encounter Rey and BB8 and The First Order starts firing on them. The three escape in the near-junked and abandoned Millennium Falcon and flee the planet.

Finn tells Poe he is on his sideFinn tells Poe he is on his sideCourtesy of Disney

Enter Han and Chewie

The Falcon breaks down, leaving them stranded but here come Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) who’ve been searching for their ship. Han reveals Luke’s efforts to rebuild the Jedi but that he gave up and disappeared after losing a particular student to the Dark Side.  After being attacked by two groups of pirates who rat out their location to The First Order, the group escapes.

Han SoloHan SoloCourtesy of Disney

Starkiller Base

At Starkiller Base, a planet converted into a superweapon capable of destroying entire star systems, Ren is told by Supreme Leader Snoke that he knows what he has to do to stop being drawn to the Light side of the Force.  Han takes the new Falcon crew to planet Takodana to get help to get BB8 to the Resistance before the bad guys get the map to find Luke. Maz Kanata (voice of Lupita Nyong’o), a wise old bar owner, will help.

BB8 at workBB8 at workCourtesy of Disney

The Vision

Finn decides he has lied to Rey about being a Resistance fighter and should go out on his own. Rey seems drawn to an old vault, opens a box and finds Luke’s old light saber that also belonged to his dad Anakin Skywalker (later Darth Vader). She gets a weird vision of her childhood that creeps her out. She runs away in horror.

Kylo Ren looks for Luke SkywalkerKylo Ren looks for Luke SkywalkerCourtesy of Disney

Finn joins the rebellionFinn joins the rebellionCourtesy of Disney

Another Battle and Enter Leia

The Starkiller device destroys the entire star system that houses the Old Republic Senate. The First Order and Ren arrives on Takodana and Han, Chewbacca, and Finn, who ends up with Anakin's lightsaber, are saved by a squadron of Resistance X-wing fighters led by Poe, but Rey is captured by Ren. Rey discovers that she can use The Force and resists Ren and escapes her cell with a Jedi mind trick. Han, Chewbacca, Finn, and BB-8 arrive at a Resistance base on D'Qar and are reunited with Leia and the droid R2-D2, who has been sitting dormant since Luke's disappearance.

Ace Resistance pilot Poe DameronAce Resistance pilot Poe DameronCourtesy of Disney

The Plan

Knowing their Rebel base is next for destruction, the Resistance plans to lower the shields on the Starkiller so fighters can disable it. Han, Chewie and Finn get to the Starkiller and find the escaped Rey. Together, can they disable the giant weapon? Can they kill Ren? Can anybody find Luke and what strange personal discoveries are ahead?

Director J.J. Abrams with Daisy as Rey on setDirector J.J. Abrams with Daisy as Rey on setCourtesy of Disney

Special Extra Features

  • Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey is the multi-part, “making of” documentary and it is a doozy. It begins funny with various cast members trying to keep the plot of the film secret early on. Carrie Fisher says “I looked better ten years ago. Why didn’t we do this then?” All the major actors worry if they are up to the task. George Lucas turns the company over to long-time Spielberg associate Kathleen Kennedy and Disney takes the reins.
  • We learn that the famous effects shop ILM is determined on not copying the old films but making a tribute to them. We hear from the writers, filmmakers and veterans of the original films (John Williams, Dennis Muren etc.) who are determined to make the old to new transition seamless. They will use real, on-set prop pieces and combine with CGI. The movie will be shot on film as the old ones were.

Stormtroopers gatherStormtroopers gatherCourtesy of Disney
  • Casting is covered and each major character is examined with comments by the actor who plays him/her. We see the BB8 droid being pushed around on camera by a guy in a green screen suit.. hilarious. We talk female stormtroopers and a female lead, see Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher’s first days on set and learn Mark Hamill’s feelings about Luke and we see outtakes from the original movie.  All-in-all, a really cool extra!
  • Shorter extras follow with The Story Awakens: The Table Read in which old and new cast members get together to go over the script with Mark Hamill reading the entire script to them. Kylo Ren actor Adam Driver is so impressed with the cast around him that he comments “I’m gonna get fired”. Harrison loves the whole new team. A lot of fun.

The famous script table readThe famous script table readCourtesy of Disney
  • In Crafting Creatures, we are shown alien creatures old and new and learn there were about 105 of them. Some are hand puppets like the Muppets, some are animatronic, some self-operated, some CGI and we see veteran Chewie Peter Mayhew getting massively hugged every time anyone sees him. Cute.
  • Building BB8 follows the development of the new droid from concept drawings to the many versions actors got to interact with. It all started with director J.J. Abrams drawing two circles..head and body. Fun!
  • In Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight, the very cool lightsaber fight between Kylo Ren and Rey is examined.. It’s all on a ginormous forest set that looks like outdoors. We see both actors training for it etc. Very cool.

Production Art of Rey and Kylo Ren's lightsaber fightProduction Art of Rey and Kylo Ren's lightsaber fightCourtesy of Disney
  • ILM: The Visual Magic of The Force, focuses on the legendary effects house’s approach to solving new challenges with today’s technology, combining live sets with CGI, creating new ships and duplicating, in detail, the old. Very interesting.
  • John Williams: The Seventh Symphony – depicts the magic of composer John Williams who has now created seven soundtrack scores for seven SW movies! He combines familiar musical themes with themes for new characters and admits creating Rey’s theme was the hardest.. a combo of gentle vulnerability and true tough strength!
  • Deleted Scenes – There are about six and all are nice to see but they are short and don’t reveal anything very new or enhance what exists in the film. My fave is one with Leia at Rebel HQ and another in which Stormtrooper Finn confronts a frightened villager.
  • Force for Change – profiles how fans and actors raised money for people in need via U.N.I.C.E.F. and how you might also help.

Great example of a Star Wars creatureGreat example of a Star Wars creatureCourtesy of Disney

Wrapping Up

Check out our original Star Wars: The Force Awakens Movie Review for our thoughts on the film. This home entertainment Blu-ray/DVD and Digital set covers a lot but again, where is the blooper/goof/gag reel?  We know there were line flubs, falling down etc. and, darn it, it is fun to see some of your fave actors and characters messing up!  Should have been included. There is also no voice-over commentary… I always love those in the rare cases when they are done by the actors rather than just the director.  Overall however, we go four stars on this “gotta-have-it” set.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Rating: 4

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Cover ArtStar Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Cover ArtCourtesy of Disney

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now available on Blu-ray + DVD!

 

Have Your Say

What kinds of extras would you just love to see on a Blu-ray or DVD of this film? Are you going to buy the movie to add to your home collection? Leave us a comment. 

 

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