Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Review

What’s old is new again in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a calculated sequel by J.J. Abrams designed as much to propel the core Star Wars story forward as recycle the magic of Star Wars: A New Hope to reignite a franchise that had otherwise gone mostly dormant. It succeeds on both counts, but its massive box office success works a little against the Blu-ray home video release as material has clearly been deliberately held back for future home video special editions.

My movie review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens covers spoiler-free impressions of the film and those impressions stand true upon yet another viewing on Blu-ray. The Force Awakens is what it needed to be in order to put Star Wars back into business and top of mind. Despite its success, there’s still plenty of room for improvement — and much-needed creative exploration — in the next installments.

The Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD combo pack is a curious release that is altogether satisfying but like the film makes you yearn for what’s coming next. That’s not to say bonus features are skimped on as they’re clearly not. There simply has to be more fly-on-the-wall behind-the-scenes stuff sitting on a digital drive at ILM and Lucasfilm, patiently awaiting its public reveal.

Highlighting the extras is Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey, a documentary that buzzes through many stages of production and ideas that shaped the eventual finished film. What’s presented is wholly captivating despite each thematic focus feeling like it could have been expanded into its own in-depth documentary. You’re guaranteed to be a fan of all the film’s talent by the time it ends and will hope to one day share a pint with Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac in an Irish pub near Skellig Michael.

What should have been the star attraction are seven Deleted Scenes offering an idea of what ended up on the cutting room floor. Rather than captivate, these scenes of varying degree of completion are offered with zero context from the filmmakers and fail to impress. The best of the bunch involving an encounter under Maz Kanata’s besieged castle is reserved as a digital extra requiring some extra work from the Blu-ray to gain access to.

Here’s the complete rundown of extras included:

  • Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey
  • The Story Awakens: A Table Read
  • Building BB-8
  • Crafting Creatures
  • Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight
  • John Williams: The Seventh Symphony
  • ILM: The Visual Magic of the Force
  • Deleted Scenes

Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Blu-ray looks great and the 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix sounds incredible as you would fully expect it to. A big reason for that is Disney and Lucasfilm chose to put the film on one disc by itself and all the bonus features on a separate disc, a dying blueprint in the realm of home video.

Should The Force Awakens ever be released on 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray, and we presume it will one day, then the all-black packaging on this Blu-ray combo pack might prove a little confusing.

I’d still be satisfied with getting to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Blu-ray whenever I want at home even if there wasn’t a single bonus feature on the disc. Though more extras are inevitable in the future, especially with a Blu-ray 3D version on tap for this fall, this first version should more than satiate the heightened demand for The Force Awakens.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray review
out of 5

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