STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI 4k UHD and Blu-ray Review
The Video - 4k UHD
The Video - Blu-ray
The Audio - 4k UHD
The Audio - Blu-ray
Continuing after the events on StarKiller Base, The Resistance is on the run from the growing power of The First Order. General Leia has some plans for the group but it’s getting harder with their numbers diminishing how they are. After a large skirmish, Finn meets a mechanic named Rose and they figure out that their ship is being tracked in light speed. This has been keeping General Hux, Kylo Ren, and their armada on the heels of the rebels.
Rey has found Luke on the island from her dreams. This is where the First Jedi temple is and Luke was here to try to forget the Jedi rather than restart training. With the power he senses in Rey, he fears that she will turn out like Ben Solo.
STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI is written and directed by Rian Johnson. He has directed the sci-fi hit LOOPER so he has a background in this genre. This is the middle film in the trilogy and has the return of the characters from THE FORCE AWAKENS. Even though this is a sequel, there are a lot of plot points from the beginning of the trilogy that this movie either glossed over or, in some cases, completely ignores. What’s the story with Snoke? I thought Gwendoline Christie was showing her face in this one? Should Luke be so angry? These are questions that fans like myself were hoping would be answered or at least hinted to in this movie so when none of these things, it was a little disappointing. That being said, that doesn’t make this a bad entry into the series by any means and there is still another film left to explain things. We can always be hopeful.
The acting as a whole is strong and especially with the main characters. Mark Hamill might not be the Luke that the fans want but his range is what impressed me. He may not have been happy with the way his character was written but he didn’t phone it in as they say. He made sure that the fans of the franchise got everything that Hamill has to offer.
There is a lot more screen time with Carrie Fisher as General Leia. Its as if the filmmakers had an inkling that this might be her last chance to play the beloved princess and general. Getting to see her full performance was something special in hearts of her fans everywhere. Even the Kylo Ren character is less whiney and in slightly better control of his rage. He seems stronger but there is still conflict deep inside that he struggles with. Rey’s emotion with finding her place in the story is heartbreaking because she just wants to belong to something. Some of the moments with her are very sad and it just shows that Daisy Ridley has a long career ahead of her.
Mark Hamill – Luke Skywalker
Carrie Fisher – General Leia Organa
Adam Driver – Kylo Ren
Daisy Ridley – Rey
John Boyega – Finn
Oscar Isaac – Poe Dameron
Andy Serkis – Supreme Leader Snoke
Lupita Nyong’o – Maz Kanata
Domhnall Gleeson – General Hux
Anthony Daniels – C-3PO
Gwendoline Christie – Captain Phasma
Kelly Marie Tran – Rose Tico
Laura Dern – Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo
The video is a native 2160p HEVC presentation that looks spectacular. This movie is nothing short of great when it comes to the special effects. I do mean both practical and CG. With the practical, the objects or aliens on screen look sharp and very believable. There is a focus on the skin textures of the humans whether its their age or being battle worn. The coloring is brilliant and bold in practically every setting. The colors as well as the blacks against the white walls of the republic ships create a nice contrast. This is also due to HDR on the release. It brings out the strong colors that the filmmakers decided to go with like the various reds in Snoke’s personal chamber. Even two reds don’t conflict with each other. In the blacks of Kylo Ren’s costume, you can make out the difference in his robes and the armor that he wears. The blacks of space are vast and make a nice background for the various types of ships. Also, the bold reds on Crait from the speeders kicking up the minerals trails on what look like salt flats. The streaks of color are beautiful.
The video is a 1080p AVC presentation that is superb. The Blu-ray picture is just about as good as they can get. The greens and browns on the island have a lush and natural look to them. The stone huts on the island also have a natural coloring to them and the stone has a raw texture. This is the first time you get a good look at Snoke’s grey skin and it looks bad but in an awesome way. Other colors like the gold in Snoke’s clothing and the glowing lightsabers looks excellent. The CG effects in the darker scenes have clean lines and excellent looking contrasting.
The audio is a Dolby Atmos mix on the 4k UHD and it has some teeth. The score opens and prepares you for the opening of the film with fanfare. Alter the crawl, the ships that move in and out of focus wave overhead to give some scale of the evacuation. The slick movement by the leader of Black Squadron moves over the ship attacking him with little luck. The effects of explosions fills the speakers but one of the best moments to be heard is where Poe does a turn while being attacked. Engines growl in various sized ships with the LFEs getting some pretty heavy use. Dialogue is clear and prioritized nicely over the score and other effects that are constantly happening. To date, this is the best audio mix that has been on a home release of a STAR WARS film.
The audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that has a lot to offer. I’m surprised they didn’t go with an Atmos mix when it is on the UHD but this mix is exquisite. It is a bit “quieter” like AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON was where it is a softer mix. Either way, you get to hear the clean effects and movement in the sound field from aerial battles and the speeders at the end. The movement of vehicles and objects is smooth from the extra rear channels. The LFEs, like the Atmos mix, are throaty from the prioritizing of explosions, the score, and ambient engine noise.
SUPPLEMENTS & PACKAGING
-Audio Commentary: with Writer/Director Rian Johnson
-The Director and the Jedi: This hour and a half long featurette dives into the making of the movie. You get the perspectives of cast, crew, and others involved in the film.
-Balance of the Force: This looks at the force in the movie between all of the characters that use it or are sensitive to it.
-Scene Breakdowns: This looks at the making of the three scenes- Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle, Snoke and Mirrors, and Showdown on Crait.
-Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only): This is a look at Andy Serkis’ performance and bringing Snoke to life layer by layer.
3-disc set w/ 1 4k UHD and 2 Blu-rays
2160p HEVC H.265
HDR: Dolby Vision and HDR10
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
English Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
1080p AVC MPEG-4
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
THE BOTTOM LINE:
THE LAST JEDI really is a great addition to the STAR WARS family. There is a lot of action and story to move things a long. A few scenes could’ve been a little shorter or gone altogether but that’s just my opinion. The 4k UHD is flawless in both the audio and video with nothing to complain about at all. Even the Blu-ray is the best possible disc for the movie on the format. The list of extras is on the shorter side but between the commentary with Johnson and The Director and the Jedi, practically everything is covered. So whether you’re a fan or picking this up to watch for the first time, I highly recommend picking up the 4k UHD.