STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – Digital HD Review by John Strange

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – Digital HD Review by John Strange
In 1977, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope came in to our lives.  We met Luke (Mark Hamill), Leia (Carrie Fisher), and so many more; characters that came to be like family to many of us.  Slowly over the years we lost character after character until we were down to only a handful left.
When we lost Han (Harrison Ford) at the hand of his son, Ben Solo/Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode VII) it hit many people very hard.  Coming into episode VIII we had many reasons to be fearful and excited at the same time.  This time around we have a director who is new to helming a film in this series.  Rian Johnson has an impressive resume in the director's chair.  BUT he was also writing the script.
The decision sounded like mistake until you consider that Mr. Johnson is a Star Wars FAN.  One who even had the action figures when he was younger!  His script for episode VIII is perhaps one of the top three Star Wars scripts ever because he knew the characters and wanted give us and them the story we need at this point to allow us to deal with the story moving forward.
That story is a series of stories interwoven to allow us to flow with them until he has us ready for the climactic battle and the introduction of a brand new hope for the future.  One of those stories brings Rey, fresh from her battle with Kylo Ren, to the remote island on a planet WAY off the beaten path to confront the last remaining Jedi Master, Luke Skywalker.  Her mission is to get him back into the fight.  His plan is to never return to that life.  He belief is that the time of the Jedi Order is past.
On the to the next story, Admiral Leia (Carrie Fisher) is leading the remains of the rebel fleet, now down to a pitiful few ships, in an attempt to escape the forces of the First Order under the command of General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson).  Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) leads the fighters and bombers against the First Order fleet.  He and the other pilots manage to destroy a dreadnaught but at the cost of every bomber and too many fighters.
Our third story revolves around Finn (John Boyega) and Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) as they rush to find a way to break the tracker the enemy fleet is using to track our good guys.
Interspersed in all of these stories we see Kylo Ren and Rey connect with each other's minds.  We know that following their first battle, Jedi/Sith master Ren against someone who had never held a light saber before, the two would have to meet again.
This film is wonderful and bittersweet at the same time.  The story is perhaps one we need in order to move forward but it also hurts to see our friends leave us.  Thankfully, Rian Johnson's story is well written and his direction is spot on.  He decision to use practical effects rather than CGI wherever possible enhanced the movie immensely.
I can make that statement because I watched all of the many hours of extras we are blessed with upon entering the code into Movies Anywhere.  I marveled at the reasons behind decisions for deleting scenes from the film, lighting space battles, and a multitude of other battles, and interactions between important members of the story.
The film is 2 hours and 31 minutes long.  That is not a short movie.  But it was originally longer.  How do I know?  I watched the several hours of extras which included the director's commentary of the film (another 151 minutes, but well worth every minute).  This is new, the first time I have seen he filmmakers add the commentary track to the digital HD offering.  I hope they keep that up!
The deleted scenes option has been updated allow us to either watch the scenes "as is" or watch them with the director's commentary.  EXCELLENT! We also had "scene breakdowns" where we learn about the ideas behind and the methods used to shoot several key scenes.  But perhaps the best extra of all, we got a score only version of the movie (yes, another 151 minutes long!)!  This allows you to truly hear John Williams excellent score without a bunch of character speeches getting in the way!  I see theaters like Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas using this for special showings!
After reading this review, you may have figured out that, yes, I liked the movie.  For Star Wars fans, this is a MUST WATCH.  On the big screen Star Wars: The Last Jedi was great but the information that we get on the home version amplified this exponentially!  And for the 10 or 15 of you who aren't fans, you will probably enjoy the film but since you would never admit that to anyone, I will let you slide. 
Great film, excellent presentation.  This Digital HD delivery is the best I have ever received.  The difference between the Blu-ray/DVD and the Digital HD offerings is only one or two featurettes.  It looks a lot different because the videos are packaged differently.  Whichever offering you purchase, you will love it.
Directed By:
  • Rian Johnson
  • Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro
Digital HD:
  • Featurettes:
    • Rebel Rose
    • Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only)
  • Scene Breakdowns
    • Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle 
    • Snoke and Mirrors
    • Showdown on Crait
    • Balance of the Force
    • The Director and the Jedi
  • Deleted Scenes (With and without audio commentary)
  • Audio Commentary with Director Rian Johnson
  • Score Only Version of THE LAST JEDI
  • Featurettes:
    • Score Only Version of THE LAST JEDI
    • Bomber Design – Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle
    • Evil Intentions – Snoke and Mirrors
    • World of White and Red – Showdown on Crait
    • Carrie Fisher and Rian Johnson – The Director and the Jedi
    • The New Walker – Showdown on Crait
    • The Director and the Jedi Trailer
    • Creating Crystal Foxes – Showdown on Crait
    • Peace and Purpose – Showdown on Crait
    • Kylo's Choice – Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle
    • Secrets Explained – The Last Jedi
    • Becoming Rose
    • Worlds of the Last Jedi
    • Training Montage
    • The Evolution of the Crystal Fox
    • Directing The Last Jedi
    • Star Wars: The Last Jedi Behind the Scenes
    • The Last Jedi Panel Highlights – Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017
  • Deleted Scenes
  • 152 Minutes
  • Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release Date:
  • 03/27/2018
  • A/1 (U.S. and Canada only)
MPAA Rating:
  • PG-13
Selig Rating:
Selig Rating Scale:
BRAND NEW: Should add to your DVD collection at any cost
SALE ITEM: Worth owning, but try to catch it a sale
SECOND HAND: Plan to get it, but wait to buy it used
RENTAL: Worth taking a look at, but not owning
COASTER: Pick it up at a garage sale and use it for drinks
PULL!: Makes a great Trap Shooting target
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