Cast: Vanessa Marshall, Freddie Prinze Jr., Steve Blum (VOICES)
Release Date: Now Available On Blu-ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
In the first groundbreaking season of Star Wars Rebels, young hero Ezra Bridger joins the clever but motley crew of the starship Ghost in their resistance against the Empire. As the series begins, Imperial forces have occupied a remote planet, ruling with an iron fist and ruining the lives of its people. Ezra and his new rebel friends — Hera, Kanan, Sabine, Zeb and Chopper — embark on daring adventures in their fight against oppression across the galaxy, receiving help from familiar heroes such as Lando Calrissian, Ahsoka Tano, and Jedi Master Yoda. Pursued relentlessly by the Imperials and a Jedi hunter called the Inquisitor, this tenacious ragtag band of rebels will find itself in the crosshairs of none other than Darth Vader when season one closes in a shocking two-part finale.
The latest ‘Star Wars’ animated series ‘Rebels’ takes place in the gap occurring between the films ‘Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope’. ‘Star Wars Rebels’ follows the close-knit crew of a ship that makes their way throughout the galaxy where needed, doing everything in their power to thwart the dastardly operations of the Empire and helping those in need whenever and wherever possible. Upon coming in contact with an unusual young boy named Ezra, they soon discover the boy has special talents and before long Ezra finds himself part of the crew and being trained in the ways of the force by Kanan, a Jedi padawan who managed to escape the destruction of the Jedi and keep his gifts from detection for so many years, while on occasion casually using them to their advantage when absolutely necessary. Soon this ragtag group of Rebels finds themselves in a much larger fight as they begin to attract the empire’s attention, and as the empire begins to take drastic steps to stop them, the real fight begins.
‘Star Wars Rebels’ is a solid addition to the galaxy, introducing us to some new and notable characters who fans are sure to fall in love with, while including no shortage of characters from previous entries in the world of ‘Star Wars’ which provides just that much more of an enjoyable experience. With solid animation, powerful characters and no shortage of action-packed adventure (kept generally quite family friendly) worthy of the name ‘Star Wars’, this new addition to the recently ever-expanding universe is sure to provide a great deal of fun for fans both young and old. Being an enormous Star Wars fanatic myself, I will surely be revisiting the first season of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ on Blu-Ray time and again, in addition to anxiously anticipating the upcoming second season of the series set to resume in October. ‘Star Wars Rebels’ only continues to improve as it moves along and it’s definitely not something the fellow ‘Star Wars’ fans out there will want to miss out on, I would highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t yet done so.
Fans of ‘Star Wars Rebels’ and the ‘Star Wars’ galaxy in general will definitely want to make certain to pick up a copy of ‘Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season One’ on Blu-Ray to add to their collections. While some fans (such as me) will surely be disappointed with the inclusion of lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks on the episodes and the overall absence of lossless audio presentations, the Blu-Ray release nonetheless delivers breathtaking high definition video presentations on each episode of season one in addition to a number of great extras including a sneak peek at what to expect from Season Two, ‘Rebels Infiltrate Star Wars Celebration’ and more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below) making this a definite must own for fellow fans.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season One’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the show’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on all of the first seasons episodes. The video presentations look phenomenal, delivering a bright, sharp and beautifully detailed animated presentation on every episode, holding up impressively during the numerous fast moving and darkly lit sequences which are so common on the series, never causing anything occurring on screen to be negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. There may be occasional instances of banding, but far more minimal than we see on most animated releases. Overall, these are quite the impressive high definition video presentations; they should easily thrill the fans.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossy 5.1 channel Dolby Digital soundtrack on all 15 Season One episodes and the lack of lossless soundtracks on the episodes is certainly disappointing. The included lossy multichannel soundtracks maintain a steady bitrate of 640 kbps and they sound pretty decent as a whole, delivering a fairly clean and aggressive audio presentation on each episode, consistently utilizing all five available channels to surround the viewer with any number of fitting action oriented auditory elements, plus no shortage of spacecraft whizzing past the viewer in any given direction, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to be rendered inaudible. That being said, these soundtracks certainly feel as if they could have offered a great deal more in their lossless form, unable to avoid the impression of seeming contained and limited in a number of heavily active instances. Overall, as far as lossy soundtracks go, these 5.1 channel Dolby Digital soundtracks hold up nicely, nonetheless they are a disappointing and distinctive step down from what we’ve come to expect on most Blu-Ray Season TV releases these days.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season One’ includes a solid collection of extras. Included on the release is ‘Rebels Recon’ which consists of 14 Inside the Episode Featurettes which explore each episode (running approximately 81 minutes altogether). The release also includes a summary of the first seasons key moments hosted by Kanan in ‘Star Wars Rebels: The Ultimate Guide’ (approximately 22 minutes), ‘Rebels Infiltrate Star Wars Celebration 2015’ (4 minutes) and ‘Rebels Season 2: A Look Ahead’ (7 minutes). Lastly, we are treated to the four character-focused animated shorts released prior to the series premiere, they run 3 minutes apiece and include: ‘The Machine in the Ghost’, ‘Art Attack’, ‘Entanglement’, and ‘Property of Ezra Bridger’.