Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver
Release Date: March 27, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
The Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of ‘The Force Awakens’ join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks new mysteries of the Force.
The second entry in the ongoing trilogy; ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi’ picks up promptly after the events that concluded ‘The Force Awakens’ and rejoins our resistance heroes across the Galaxy as Leia (Fisher), Poe (Isaac) and others attempt to both flee their base after being discovered by the First Order and do their best to make a significant dent in the Order’s forces as well. But when their enemy unexplainably manages to track them through hyperspace things begin looking especially grim. Meanwhile, Rey (Ridley) has come to face to face with legendary Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Hamill) but his adamant refusal to return and help the resistance causes an internal debate. Unwilling to leave the island without him, she soon also finds herself inexplicably force linked with Kylo Ren (Driver) which results in a new dilemma; all forming together the pieces for an unavoidable confrontation with the potential to change everything and spell victory or utter devastation for either side.
Written and directed this time around by talented filmmaker Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick) who does a magnificent job at the helm of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ capturing the heart, wonder and visual style of the franchise. The film also benefits from a pretty solid cast comprised of returning individuals from the classic trilogy, as well as many new favorites introduced in ‘The Force Awakens’ and plenty of newcomers; including Mark Hamill (Brigsby Bear), Carrie Fisher (The ‘Burbs), Adam Driver (Logan Lucky), Daisy Ridley (Murder On The Orient Express), John Boyega (Pacific Rim: Uprising), Oscar Isaac (Suburbicon), Andy Serkis (War For The Planet of the Apes), Domhnall Gleeson (American Made), Benicio Del Toro (Sicario), Kelly Marie Tran (XOXO), Anthony Daniels (Star Wars Episodes 1-VII) , Gwendoline Christie (TV’s Game of Thrones), Laura Dern (TV’s Twin Peaks: The Return) and more, nearly all delivering highly competent performances in each of their respective roles, particularly Hamill who is nothing short of outstanding back in the role of Luke, delivering a powerful and passionate performance through and through.
While any Star Wars fan is surely well aware (and likely a bit tired) of the conflicting opinions surrounding ‘The Last Jedi’; I definitely find myself among those who largely love it and while I certainly enjoyed ‘The Force Awakens’ for the most part albeit relying a bit too heavily on the formula of A New Hope and hesitant to take any chances or make any bold new moves within the universe, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is quite the opposite in that regard and after a somewhat too familiar previous entry, ‘The Last Jedi’ takes things in surprising and unexpected directions which was tremendously welcome. Refusing to simply provide the convenient answers fans desired on many subjects, in addition to taking the storyline to some drastically different and almost shocking directions (although tremendously welcome ones for the most part as far as I’m concerned) while still making certain to offer all of the necessary traits and some breathtaking action sequences that don’t disappoint. It’s a cleverly crafted and far more character driven entry that isn’t afraid to take surprising steps and go places fans won’t expect and while any diehard Star Wars fan is sure to have an issue or two (including myself) as a whole it forms together into a pretty fantastic installment in the franchise that I’ve only become more pleased with during my three viewings thus far. I would definitely encourage any fellow Star Wars fans that haven’t yet had the chance to check out ‘The Last Jedi’ and make up their own minds to make a point of doing so whenever you have the opportunity, it definitely did far more to satisfy this particular fan than ‘The Force Awakens’ which I still thoroughly enjoyed in its own right.
Overall, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is an impressive entry in the new trilogy that dares to shy away from the expected and take viewers in surprising directions on a journey that is far from what they might predict. The surprises and odd turns only help to keep things fresh and enthralling as you quickly realize Luke’s comment in the trailer quite adequately describes the film itself and this clearly isn’t going to go the way you think. Filled with spectacular and visually stunning action sequences and enough heart and new planets/characters to spare, it’s certainly an overall worthy addition to the saga that fellow fans won’t even want to consider missing out on. ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is definitely highly recommended, especially for fellow Star Wars fanatics who will want to be sure to make up their own mind and not let the various conflicting opinions deter you from doing so. It should be well worth your time and the cost of a rental at the absolute least for any fans that haven’t yet had the pleasure of the latest entry in the Skywalker saga.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding and provides a sharp, detailed and colorful presentation from start to finish, with no notable faults to be uncovered throughout. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit, fast moving and heavily populated sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation that should have no trouble whatsoever satisfying the fellow fans.
The Blu-ray release features a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack delivers a clean, crisp, and hard hitting audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to send the score, along with space battle effects, explosions, debris, nature elements and a great deal more consistently zipping throughout the various speakers, and always making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously remain clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a fantastic 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers across the board and contributes a great deal of additional fun to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is jam-packed with hours of noteworthy extras that should thrill fans, the entirety of which (with the exception of the Commentary track naturally) can be found on its own dedicated Bonus Disc. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Rian Johnson’, in addition to a feature length Behind the Scenes Documentary ‘The Director and the Jedi’ (running approximately 95 minutes in length) which includes an in depth look at bringing the film to life, including tons of behind the scenes footage, interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus more. We are also treated a collection of ‘Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Rian Johnson’ (running approximately 23 minutes altogether), in addition to a few extra Behind the Scenes Featurettes: ‘Balance of the Force’ (approximately 10 minutes), ‘Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only)’ (6 minutes) and ‘Scene Breakdowns’ for three key scenes in the film: ‘Lighting the Spark: The Space Battle’ (approximately 14 minutes), ‘Snoke and Mirrors’ (6 minutes) and ‘Showdown on Crait’ (13 minutes).
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