Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi is available starting today on Blu-ray. It’s been available on digital video since March 13, and we’ve been plumbing the depths of its special features in between repeated viewings of the main feature to find little things we missed the first time(s) around and catch the director’s enthralling commentary.
Whether you choose a disc or a digital purchase, it’s a must-have for the library of any Star Wars fan or film lover — and a good Easter basket stuffer. Read our review of the film itself if you still need persuading.
It’s the behind-the-scenes and bonuses that really bring it home, though. “The Director and the Jedi” is the star here, a full-length documentary about the making of the film and director Rian Johnson’s journey from picking up where J.J. Abrams’ Episode VII — The Force Awakens left off. It’s also a master class in digital and practical filmmaking that is likely to simultaneously inspire and intimidate creators.
It’s hard to watch without imagining where Johnson is going to go next in the unprecedented and mysterious new trilogy his achievement with The Last Jedi has bought.
“The Director and the Jedi,” with its look behind the curtain at Frank Oz’s return to the set as Master Yoda, is worth the price of this release alone.
Another documentary, “Balance of the Force,” tackles the film’s big cosmic questions.
One of the most surprising special features is a score-only cut of the film, so you can put it on and immerse yourself in the latest version of John Williams’ Far, Far Away instrumental interpretations and enjoy the amazing visuals without any of that pesky dialogue. (If only the prequels could get that same treatment.) Between the main feature, the director’s commentary option and this, there’s a version of the movie to fit whatever mood you’re in.
The Last Jedi’s many deleted scenes are presented as one reel, both with and without Johnson’s narration giving context as to where and how they did (and didn’t) fit into the complete product. With a runtime over 2 1/2 hours, it’s easy to understand something needed jettisoning, but there’s one long scene in particular that brings both depth and levity to Rey’s Jedi training, and begs to be included.
There’s also a lot more standard behind-the-scenes fare, such as breakdowns of scenes like the stunning space battle that sets the tone of the film early on, Supreme Leader Snoke’s big scene and the climactic Battle of Crait.
Many different editions of The Last Jedi are available, some with different exclusives. Also, don’t forget that Jason Fry’s novelization of The Last Jedi came out earlier this month; it’s on our nightstand (and should be on your shelf). Like many adaptations, it goes beyond the movie with scenes and tie-ins to the wider Star Wars canon you won’t see spelled out on screen (unlike many, it came so long after the film’s debut).