Fans were promised Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 3D by Lucasfilm and Disney before the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray made its debut earlier this year. We all knew the double-dip would exceed the first release, which it naturally does. Yet who can resist picking up the first release of the first new Star Wars movie in over a decade and first to feature Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and briefly Mark Hamill in over 30 years?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray is the type of physical disc set that stands out in a collection. It packs a whopping four discs in an inch-thick hardcover case with lenticular cover; the feature film on four formats: Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital; and some all-new bonus features including the highly sought-after and totally worth it J.J. Abrams commentary.
I already covered the adventures of Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order in my first Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray review. The new Collector’s Edition includes everything found in that two-disc set so let’s focus on what’s new in the bigger 3D package.
I didn’t watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 3D theatrically so this Blu-ray 3D is my first viewing experience. If you’re focused squarely on the 3D and not worried about a one-to-one comparison with the 2D Blu-ray then there’s a lot to be excited about. The 3D presentation is solid throughout and includes some standout moments such as Kylo Ren stopping Poe’s blaster bolt in the opening sequence and Kyro Ren holding his lightsaber against Rey’s throat.
Looking beyond the 3D reveals the menace that almost all Blu-ray 3D titles are plagued by. Black levels are muddied and colors are watched out compared to the brighter and crisper 2D presentation. This difference is less apparent if you don’t watch the 3D version shortly after watching the 2D version.
Jumping to the 2D Blu-ray disc is where the J.J. Abrams commentary resides. What makes this commentary a must-listen experience is the humility Abrams brings to it. This is a humble man who took on a challenge that would leave anyone stressed beyond belief not to mess up. Abrams isn’t afraid to point out his mistakes or things he would have done differently, or even credit others — like Steven Spielberg — for their specific input. Those moments are wonderful to hear.
Three new deleted scenes join the previous seven, one of which was available previously as an online exclusive. The gem here is a sequence where Unkar Plutt confronts Rey at Maz Kanata’s castle only to have Chewbacca step in and rip Plutt’s arm right out of its socket. The extended version of the previously teased scene in Maz’s underground tunnels is also presented in full.
If you pay attention to the Abrams commentary you’ll notice he points out many other cut sequences that still haven’t seen the light of day. Ready for a triple-dip?
The remaining new bonus features delve into the making of the film with two featurettes dedicated to sound design, highlighted by new interviews with the new young stars, Ridley and Boyega. The first two listed below were previously available exclusively in the Target edition.
- The Scavenger & The Stormtrooper: A Conversation with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega
- Inside the Armory
- Foley: A Sonic Tale
- Sounds of the Resistance
- Dressing Up the Galaxy
Sadly none of the trailers or TV spots made it into the Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Collector’s Edition. Then again they’re all available online at the official Star Wars YouTube channel that’s easily accessible from most devices.
Apart from knowing there’s more material waiting to be shared, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Collector’s Edition is a worthy upgrade from the first release and should tide us over until the hopefully inevitable 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition down the road.
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