Carl pushes play on the Blu-Ray release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi Not a Blu-ray of the First Order.
Oh Disney, what have you done?
After the fantastic Blu-ray release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story last year, I was looking forward to getting The Last Jedi on all the formats I could. Disney’s release of Rogue One was outstanding. The picture quality was sublime and the sound was fantastic, nearly blowing out the speakers on my home entertainment system. With this in mind, I was eager to try out The Last Jedi. It surely had to be on the same level of excellence as before, right?
I’m bitterly disappointed to report that the release of The Last Jedi on Blu-ray and DVD is a complete letdown. I purchased the Region Free Blu-Ray from the States again as I did last year with the intention of sitting down in my darkened front room and letting Star Wars engulf me again. I was so looking forward to seeing the film crystal clear in my own home and to have the sound and score making my windows shake again. To hell with my neighbours, this was Episode VIII! It had to be as large and as loud as I could make it! I opened the packaging with glee and placed the disc into my Blu-Ray player, sat down on my sofa with both snacks and beer at the ready, all set to be blown away again.
Only I wasn’t. The picture quality is atrocious. It varies from dark and unwatchable to clear and finally settling on grainy. I couldn’t believe it. This has got to be the worst representation of a Star Wars film on Blu-Ray of all time. I can understand that the film should be seen on the big screen and will eventually lose SOME of its brilliance on home formats but this is unacceptable. It’s Star Wars for heaven’s sake. It SHOULD look amazing but it loses nearly 75% of its power on home release. It reminded me of the Blu-ray I have of the original pilot episode of Airwolf. The picture and sound on that disc are no better than a VHS cassette. As it was made in the early 1980’s, you can forgive it for the poor representation but The Last Jedi was made last year! Why is it this poor?
The sound I was expecting to blow my windows out wasn’t there either. I was really looking forward to watching my favourite scene, the Millennium Falcon roaring through Crait with the classic John Williams score screaming along with it, giving it the accompaniment it deserves in my own home. Instead, the sound is tinny and utterly disappointing. It has no ‘Oomph’ to it at all.
The U.S Release:
I find the U.S Blu-Ray releases superior to the U.K ones, with some exceptions. The picture quality is usually sharper, cleaner and more vibrant than its British counterpart. This let me down hugely. With that in mind, I purchased the U.K release with the intent of never opening it, to let it sit proudly in my collection for all time in a virginal state. However, after viewing the U.S release, I reluctantly opened my U.K copy to see if it was any better. The answer is yes, it is but not by much. The faults are still there but the picture looks a little sharper, the colours a little more vibrant but it wallpapers over the Blu-Rays faults. The sound is no better than its American cousin and again is a total letdown. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the film. It’s two and a half hour runtime still is a joy to watch. The division it caused with Star Wars fans isn’t going to be solved anytime soon but it’s still the eighth instalment of something that I first experienced back in 1977.
To me, it’s a fantastic film, one that takes what you expect to happen and turns it on its head, going in directions we never saw coming or expected and is all the better for it. That’s why it split the fans. Many expected it to be something they are used to. It went its own way and many fans didn’t like it deviaing from the norm. It was a bold choice to go in the direction they did. Sadly, the home release of the film won’t win the detractors over.
The DVD fares little better and is that despicable thing film lovers hate, the dreaded Vanilla release. The DVD has no special features at all. Whereas the Blu-Ray has them in abundance, the DVD is a barebones release. DVD may be a dying format but the fans deserve more.
Could the digital release save the day? Sadly, again the answer is no. The film is no better on digital format than it is on a disc. I can’t believe Disney has released the film in such a disappointing way. It’s redeeming feature is having a score only version of the film, giving fans John Williams’ full score for the film to enjoy. As the complete score hasn’t been released on CD or digital download, this version is a joy for the fans of the film. The special features are where the disc’s strengths lie. From the in-depth behind the scenes segments to the deleted scenes, this is a treasure trove for the fans.
Watching the film on disc, I did the ultimate unthinkable. Seeing the poor picture quality and the lacking sound, I found myself hoping the film would end. This is unacceptable! For such a huge Star Wars fan like myself, wanting the film to end is a travesty. I was expecting to watch the film and then start it again. Instead, I watched the film, took the disc out, put it back in its case and put it away in my library, never to grace my Blu-Ray player again. This never ever happens. Sadly, It has this time. I can’t bring myself to watch the film in such a poorly delivered state again. Disney has thrown the film onto a disc and let it go without any real care and attention. This is a devastating blow for the fans of the film and one they will be hard pressed to atone for.
Disney, you should hang your head in shame.
My rating: 6/10 (The special features on the Blu-Ray raised its mark by a point)
Until next time…
May the Force be with you, always.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!