STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER – A Blu-ray/DVD and Digital HD Review by John Strange

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER – A Blu-ray/DVD and Digital HD Review by John Strange

I am old enough to have seen Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in theaters during its first amazing run.  It was an experience that has dwelt with me for all of these decades.  The Skywalker Saga from the mind of George Lucas, presented to us by the combined genius of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas engendered a whole new generation of special effects-driven films.

The series has continued to grab our souls for forty-four years and nine films (plus additional feature films and several animated TV series).  That the series has come to its conclusion is both amazing and totally heart-breaking.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a film that works as part of the series and as a standalone film.  The story is one of redemption and good’s victory over evil.  We see Rey complete her ascension to the ranks of the Jedi masters.  We see, via an amazing amount of special effects, the final performance of Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa.

As with all of the Star Wars films, there is a plethora of subplots, all wrapped around the central theme/plot.  These subplots bring us the conclusions of so many character’s stories.  Finn, Poe, even Kylo Ren/Ben Solo see their destinies fulfilled.

Exotic worlds, eye-popping alien creatures, and droids are blended into the story using exceptional special effects that only the magicians behind this series can produce.  Some are CGI but some of them of the best of these effects are what are called “practical” effects where special effects maestros work with some, forgive me, crazy stunt performers (men AND women) to do real-life stunts that are often blended into the film using CGI to remove cables, wheels, whatever.

But in the end, the story is the same as that of the first film, good versus evil.  That no matter what evil does, somehow good will always prevail.  And I loved seeing Mr. Billy Dee Williams return as General Lando Calrissian, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, and of course, Carrie Fisher one last time.

All of this wrapped in the music from the amazing John Williams.  Which the filmmakers celebrate in one of the digital bonus featurettes.  I loved the first film’s score and with each film, I grew to love the music more and more.  This featurette, “The Maestro’s Finale”, is the filmmaker’s homage to the man and his music.

Every featurette included with the film is a window into the minds and hearts of the filmmakers and talented casts and crews.  From a look at how they created the landspeeder chase (“Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase”) to the creatures and droid of the film (“Aliens in the Desert”, “Cast of Creatures”, and “D-O: Key to the Past”) to a great piece on Warwick Davis and his son’s history with the series (“Warwick & Son”) we are given a great farewell to the series.

But the best extra is also the longest at over two hours.  “The Skywalker Legacy” is an excellent documentary about the entire series and includes portions of several of the shorter featurettes.

This film and it’s home entertainment package is a full-fledged 5-star experience!  Check it out!

 

Directed By:

  • J.J. Abrams

Cast:

  • Carrie Fisher (archive footage), Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Greg Grunberg, Dominic Monaghan

Extras:

Blu-ray

  • The Skywalker Legacy – The story lives forever in this feature-length documentary that charts the making of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
  • Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase – Dive into the making of the movie’s epic landspeeder chase and discover how this spectacular sequence was brought to the screen.
  • Aliens in the Desert – See what it took to create the Pasaana desert scenes, from the sheer scale and complexity of the shoot to its colorful details.
  • D-O: Key to the Past – Explore the ship that connects Rey to the mystery of her missing parents and get to know the galaxy’s newest, irresistible droid.
  • Warwick & Son – Warwick Davis, who played Wicket in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, dons the Ewok costume once more; this time joined by his son Harrison.
  • Cast of Creatures – The team behind the film’s memorable creatures reveal the puppetry, makeup, prosthetics and digital magic that bring them to life!

Movies Anywhere

  • “A Look Back: Lando’s Journey”
  • The Skywalker Legacy – The story lives forever in this feature-length documentary that charts the making of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
  • Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase – Dive into the making of the movie’s epic landspeeder chase and discover how this spectacular sequence was brought to the screen.
  • Aliens in the Desert – See what it took to create the Pasaana desert scenes, from the sheer scale and complexity of the shoot to its colorful details.
  • D-O: Key to the Past – Explore the ship that connects Rey to the mystery of her missing parents and get to know the galaxy’s newest, irresistible droid.
  • Warwick & Son – Warwick Davis, who played Wicket in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, dons the Ewok costume once more; this time joined by his son Harrison.
  • Cast of Creatures – The team behind the film’s memorable creatures reveal the puppetry, makeup, prosthetics and digital magic that bring them to life!
  • The Maestro’s Finale – Composer John Williams reflects on his body of work for the Star Wars saga and shares insights on scoring Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. (Digital Exclusive)

Vudu

  • “Legacy”
  • The Skywalker Legacy – The story lives forever in this feature-length documentary that charts the making of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
  • Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase – Dive into the making of the movie’s epic landspeeder chase and discover how this spectacular sequence was brought to the screen.
  • Aliens in the Desert – See what it took to create the Pasaana desert scenes, from the sheer scale and complexity of the shoot to its colorful details.
  • D-O: Key to the Past – Explore the ship that connects Rey to the mystery of her missing parents and get to know the galaxy’s newest, irresistible droid.
  • Warwick & Son – Warwick Davis, who played Wicket in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, dons the Ewok costume once more; this time joined by his son Harrison.
  • Cast of Creatures – The team behind the film’s memorable creatures reveal the puppetry, makeup, prosthetics and digital magic that bring them to life!
  • “End of the Saga”
  • The Maestro’s Finale – Composer John Williams reflects on his body of work for the Star Wars saga and shares insights on scoring Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. (Digital Exclusive)

Specifications:

Runtime:

Feature:

  • 142 Minutes

Extras:

Blu-ray

  • 166 Minutes

Movies Anywhere

  • 178 Minutes

Vudu

  • 188 Minutes

Studio:

  • Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Release Date:

Digital:

  • 03/17/2020

Blu-ray/DVD:

  • 03/31/2020

Region:

  • A/1 (U.S. and Canada only)

Website:

MPAA Rating:

  • PG-13

Selig Rating:

Film Rating:

  • 5 Stars

Bonus Features Rating:

  • 5 Stars

Picture Quality Rating:

  • 5 Stars

Audio Quality Rating:

  • 5 Stars

 

Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars: Should add to your DVD collection at any cost

4 Stars: Worth owning, but try to catch it a sale

3 Stars: Plan to get it, but wait to buy it used

2 Stars: Worth taking a look at, but not owning

1 Star: Pick it up at a garage sale and use it for drinks

0 Stars: Makes a great Trap Shooting target

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