Our Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray review explores the set’s impressive special features
With a theatrical debut that pulled in more than $2.063 billion at the worldwide box office, J.J. Abrams‘ massively successful seventh chapter of the Star Wars saga comes home on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, April 5. ComingSoon.net got a special early look at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray and we’ve gone through the disc’s extensive collection of special features. Although you probably already know whether or not you’ll be adding the Force Awakens Blu-ray to your collection this week, the Star Wars franchise is a bit infamous for double and triple dipping when it comes to home video releases. Here’s a look at everything that’s included (and what’s missing) from the inaugural Force Awakens Blu-ray and DVD release.
We’ve also got four bonus feature clips from the Force Awakens Blu-ray, all of which you can check out in the players at the bottom of this page.
A three-disc combo pack includes an HD version of the film on the first disc, a DVD version on a second with a third Blu-ray disc set aside entirely for supplemental material. If you’ve somehow waited for The Force Awakens Blu-ray to check out the film for the first time, beware of the package artwork as the back cover includes a photo of Sir Not Appearing in This Film.
Outside of the film itself (which arrives with flawless HD picture and sound), the major draw of the Force Awakens Blu-ray comes in the form of a feature-length (70 minute) documentary titled Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey. It explores the making of the film from its earliest days through production. For Star Wars fans, this feature alone is worth the price of admission. It’s jam-packed with behind-the-scenes footage and neat bits of trivia (Oscar Isaac actually talked Abrams out of killing off Poe Dameron!). Fans that followed the making of The Force Awakens between the time it was announced in the fall of 2012 and its release late last year should really enjoy seeing the curtain pulled back.
Fans are likely to find a pleasant nostalgia in looking over the last two years and seeing certain Star Wars moments from alternate angles. The thrill of finally getting to go backstage continues through six different featurettes: The Story Awakens: The Table Read, Crafting Creatures, Building BB-8, Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight, ILM: The Visual Magic of the Force and John Williams: The Seventh Symphony. All six segments (running between five and ten minutes apiece) play almost as supplemental chapters to Secrets of The Force Awakens, but immediately reveal their own charms. The first cast read through of the script, for instance, became such a memorable still photo back in 2014. New footage on The Force Awakens Blu-ray offers video from that very same room and it’s a sheer delight to experience the first steps in such a massive journey alongside a cast that has so quickly become integral to the Star Wars mythos.
The unfortunate double edge to the disc’s features is that, as good as the documentary is, it’s hard to not want more, especially when we know it’s out there. There are major areas of The Force Awakens‘ production that wind up glossed over. Screenwriter Michael Arndt, for instance, joins and then exits pre-production in the space of about three documentary seconds and there’s zero mention of Harrison Ford’s unfortunate on-set injury. It’s easy to understand why certain things get skipped, but it does result in the sense that the Secrets doc is somewhat less than definitive.
There are, however, lots of great secrets shared on The Force Awakens Blu-ray features disc and fans are offered some priceless treats from the production archives. Highlights include Daisy Ridley’s original audition tape (check out the video clip at the bottom of this page for a look). There are also so many great alien designs that are barely glimpsed in the final film that you’ll have fun just pausing the disc to explore all the new characters and creatures. If you’re looking for Constable Zuvio, however, you’re out of luck. While the set does include six quick deleted scenes, we still don’t get to see the already infamous peg warming Black Series action figure character in action.
There’s also a brief look at the Force For Change campaign that played out during production. The video, which runs for about three minutes, plays more like a PSA than anything. It would have been nice to include even more Force For Change material, as it led to quite a few fun videos featuring the film’s cast and crew. Those are, admittedly, readily available online, but their inclusion would have been a nice touch. Likewise, the Force Awakens Blu-ray leaves out the film’s great trailers and there’s no tease for this December’s Rogue One.
Overall, The Force Awakens Blu-ray offers a great set, albeit not necessarily the definite take the film deserves. That being said, this Force Awakens Blu-ray offers a better than average collection of bonus material and, if history is any indication, we might not see the excellent Secrets doc return for future editions. After all, the excellent 2004 Empire of Dreams documentary (about the making of the original trilogy) was only ever available on the initial DVD release of the Star Wars saga and the massively entertaining From Star Wars to Jedi doc has never officially appeared since the days of VHS. While Disney has hinted that a 3D version of the film will be available later this year, anyone who wants to add the 2D version of the film to their collection will find a lot to love with the combo pack.