Star Wars: The Last Jedi 4K Ultra HD Review
Today I had my first chance to check out the Star Wars: The Last Jedi 4K Ultra HD release of “The Ultimate Collector’s Edition.” This disc set comes with three discs. The first disc is the Ultra HD 4K disc of the film. The second disc is the Blu-ray 1080p version of the film and the third disc contains the extras in 1080p. I won’t delve too deeply into the merits of the film as by this point you probably know where the film sits with you.
The playback of this set is the superior way to watch the film. There’s no question there. The question about the 4K disc for me pertains to the hassle using a disc over the streaming option. For what it is worth, the disc comes with a streaming copy but that copy is 1080p. I find that practice to be strange. If I’m buying a 4K film why would I ever want to stream the movie in 1080p if I have 4K capabilities? To ad insult to injury the movie is available in 4K streaming so the exclusion of the UHD streaming copy feels a little like “double dip” bait to me. Of course, if you’re not lazy it really isn’t an issue but less face it, we’re all lazy. I see the disc option being used when we sit down as a family to watch a film together. But I watch Star Wars so often I generally use the streaming options to watch chapters of the films while I clean the house or have lunch.
In reality, I have no complaints about this disc set. I have never seen a Star Wars film look so good in my home. Star Wars: The Last Jedi Ultimate Collectors Edition has left me wanting The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and George’s six films in 4K right now.
My final complaint is the release didn’t include a 3D version of the film. Is it really the “Ultimate Collectors Edition” if it is missing something we know exists? “Ultimately” those words such as “Ultimate” amount like buzz words fans clammor towards rather than having an actual substance or meaning behind them. Generally, 3D releases are 1080p releases and that would have made that 1080p Blu-ray disc a little more palatable in the 4K era.
The Last Jedi Menus and Options
I was delighted to see a little porg on on the loading screen when I put the disc into my Xbox One X. The artwork for the backgrounds on the menus is rather beautiful but it is also static on the resume screens. The main menu itself is pretty nice, however, showing an edit of the theatrical poster with some of the important moments from the film playing to the left side of the screen. The menus consist of “Play,” “Scene Selection” and “Settings.” The Settings simply has subtitles and disc language options. The scene sections menu is pretty nice but only lets you pick from three scenes at a time once you’re inside the menu. All in in all, it is pretty standard and what you would expect.
On my really good Samsung television I could see a slight increase in the contrast quality and color vibrancy over the UHD streaming version of the film. However, on my more middle tier 4K television I could not really see a huge leap from streaming to disc. So if your 4K isn’t exactly stellar, you might want to take that into consideration as to whether you buy the 4K disc over the 4K streaming option, in my opinion.
The Last Jedi’s Extras
You must watch The Director and the Jedi. The documentary moves us closer to the types of extras Lucasfilm used to offer on their releases when George Lucas ran the company. There’s some brutal moments where you see Mark Hamill getting into character and sobbing while Rian Johnson consoles him after a difficult sequence. The narrative of the documentary focuses on Rian and Mark’s interactions and how Mark had a hard time with his character having to die in the film. This documentary is up there with The Phantom Menace’s The Beginning and Attack of the Clones’ From Puppets to Pixels.
The 14 deleted scenes are good and they’re gonna leave fans asking why such great content was cut. But if they watch the 14 deleted scenes with the optional Rian Johnson commentary, he’ll explain why. I found the cut scenes fun, I was happy to have seen them, and I generally think they weren’t needed in the theatrical cut of the film. Some of the moments end up in various forms in the novelization and are therefore canon so you get a chance to see them play out beyond your imagination. I suggest watching the without commentary and then with the commentary to get the most value out of the experience.
If you’re a huge fan of the film you’ll enjoy the additional features. One I really enjoyed shows Andy Serkis performing Supreme Leader Snoke on set without the CGI model and you can see exactly how much of his performance ILM captured on screen. I don’t want to give too much way but the extras feel really healthy and it doesn’t feel like they just tacked on a few things to pacify the consumer. The extras are meaty and well done.
My biggest complaint is once again the 4K release doesn’t have 4K extras. It sucked back when Blu-ray extras were holdovers from DVD releases in 480p and it sucks today. I can understand smaller productions having limited release options on that front but from Lucasfilm and Disney it is slightly unacceptable as they have the means but have opted not to ensure the longevity of this release on that front.
The Last Jedi Packaging
The box art is really nice. The slip cover is embossed. There’s never been a 4K release before so I can’t complain that it doesn’t match the other releases. I do hope the the future releases of Han Solo: A Star Wars Story, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens will sit beside this release nicely on the shelf. But I think consumer trends dictate those cosmetic choices so I’m not holding out for to much hope there on that front. That said the disc art is well chosen and nicely embodies the film’s heart.
The film’s commentary is insightful and worth your time. I know I’m a broken record here but to watch the commentary you have to use the 1080p disc. That’s really lame. It made me not want to watch the commentary first. I saw Last Jedi a lot in the theater and I could have watched it with the commentary first in 4K had the option been there.
You’re going to want to connect your digital copy to the Movies Anywhere so you can experience an extra off the set that is the isolated score version. I’ve heard varying accounts that bitrate of the score on this release is rather low and questionable for such a feature. But I haven’t been able to verify those claims. I hope if that is the case they make it available at an acceptable bitrate.
Closing Thoughts on The The Last Jedi Ultimate Collectors Edition
The set is worth your time and money. This set is hands down the best release since Disney purchased Lucasfilm. The movie if beautiful. The movie is brilliant. The movie looks great. What matters in this set delivers. There’s a lot to nitpick and I surely have done so in this write up, but I don’t mean to discourage you from picking it up. It is a must own release. The only question is if the disc version is for you or the UHD Vudu release. The very slight increase in quality on a great television makes the disc version worth owning but does that trump the ease of in-demand streaming? That’s for you to decide. Hell, I suggest getting both if you can afford such luxuries.
This set made me thirsty for the other 8 feature length Star Wars films in 4K and that alone speaks volumes.