- Apr 24, 2006
- Charlotte, NC
- Real Name
- Matt Hough
An animated program taking place in the Star Wars universe some five years before the events of A New Hope, Star Wars Rebels is crammed full of the things Jedi fanatics love, and it’s no surprise that the series was an instant hit with viewers of all ages (though obviously focused on the male preteen crowd). Put together by people who know the Star Wars universe inside and out and dipping just enough into the old, familiar characters from movies gone by to ground the show while concentrating on a new ragtag group of insurgents against the Empire, Star Wars Rebels is enjoyable enough even for those of us who don’t sleep, eat, drink, and breathe the universe of George Lucas’ masterful creation.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 5.1 DD, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Run Time: 5 Hr. 31 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-raykeep case in a slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 09/01/2015
The Production Rating: 4/5
With the Empire making life miserable for all of the people who suffer under their rule, cells of insurgents have been gathering for some time attempting to do what they can to waylay the wicked masters of death and destruction. The show concentrates on an original group of five agitators: former Jedi Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.), his ace pilot (and sweetheart) Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), team muscle Zeb Orrelios (Steve Blum), demolitions expert/artist Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar), and an R1 droid they call Chopper. Into one of their missions drops fifteen-year old orphan/street thief Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) who gets scooped up by the rebels and with his own rebellion against authority and a natural dislike of rules seems to fit right in with the other members of the team. And, surprise, surprise, it doesn’t take long for Jedi Kanan to realize that Ezra has the Force within him and thus begins his instruction in mastering his power to become a Jedi Knight. But the lessons are sporadic since the Imperial Forces have several more than capable leaders out to stop the team: sneering Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo) and the even more menacing Grand Inquisitor (Jason Isaacs).
The fifteen episodes in season one are almost all jammed with action sequences, and those who adored the space fights in the live action Star Wars films and the continuous duels with light sabers between combatants will feel right at home with this series even though it's animated. Some of the missions the team goes on are traps set by the Empire which they quite gullibly fall for while occasionally a member of the team (including Ezra early on and Kanan in the season’s final three-episode story arc) get captured by the villains requiring ingenious subterfuges and dangerous infiltrations in order to make the rescues possible. And Star Wars fans will feel right at home with the use of many of the familiar tropes from the films: walkers, TIE fighters, light sabers, and the like. And though the primary cast members are all fresh new characters, expect cameos from some old favorites including R2D2 and C3PO, Lando Calrissian, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and, naturally, Darth Vader.
The voice cast is outstanding from the most important characters to the occasional word from a TIE pilot or a downtrodden villager. Freddie Prinze Jr. is especially charismatic as Kanan, and Taylor Gray evinces all of the traits one would expect of a fifteen-year old boy: headstrong, stubborn, enthusiastic but easily distracted, quick to take offense, get angry, or emotionally hurt. Steve Blum does a great job adding most of the comic relief (along with the droid Chopper) with his muscle-bound galoot who is hard on the outside and marshmallow soft on the inside. And the program’s two major villains voiced by David Oyelowo and Jason Isaacs sound viciously evil without overdoing the sinister qualities of their characters or sinking to stereotypical maniacal laughter to express their wicked natures.
Here are the fifteen episodes found on the two enclosed discs in the season one set:
1 – Spark of Rebellion, Part 1
2 – Spark of Rebellion, Part 2
3 – Droids in Distress
4 – Fighter Flight
5 – Rise of the Old Masters
6 – Breaking Ranks
7 – Out of Darkness
8 – Empire Day
9 – Gathering Forces
10 – Path of the Jedi
11 – Idiot’s Army
12 – Vision of Hope
13 – Call to Action
14 – Rebel Resolve
15 – Fire Across the Galaxy
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The transfers are framed at 1.78:1 and are presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Sharpness is outstanding throughout, and color depth and reproduction is beautiful and consistent with no blooming. The character animation will remind you of the in between examples one often sees on CG animated features as the movies are readying themselves for the final animation passes, but the look is consistent and quickly becomes the status quo for the series, and that doesn’t negate any of the really finely detailed background art or action sequences which get the more realistic CG treatment. The black levels of space are inky black and quite impressive. There is occasional evidence of banding in lighter colored backgrounds, but this anomaly occurs quite infrequently. Each episode has been divided into 5 chapters.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix is aggressively present in all available channels with thundering bass to give tremendous rumble to the LFE channel and split effects that provide the kind of immersive movie-like experience one takes for granted in theatrical sci-fi presentations but which he rarely gets in television productions. Dialogue has been well recorded and is mostly found in the center channel though there is an occasional bit of directionalized dialogue. The music by Kevin Kiner (with occasional themes based on the original scores by John Williams) also adds enormous presence to all of the scenes being offered in both the fronts and rears. A half point has been deduced from the score for the lack of a lossless high definition mix. Otherwise, this is reference quality work.
Special Features Rating: 4.5/5
Rebels Recon (81:12, HD): StarWars.com host Andi Gutierrez along with producers Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, the star cast, special effects supervisor Joel Aron, and art director Kilian Plunkett offers the on-line scoop on each of the program’s episodes from season one. Each of the programs offers a quick introduction to the episode’s plot, some background information on the production, and then presents previews for the next episode. The programs can be played all together or accessed separately.
Rebels Infiltrate Star Wars Celebration (4:03, HD): brief excerpts from the panel discussion held during the Star Wars Celebration event featuring executive producer Dave Filoni and star Freddie Prinze Jr.
Star Wars Rebels: The Ultimate Guide (22:05, HD): Freddie Prinze Jr. narrates a recap of the first season introducing each of the characters and discussing their journeys during the fifteen episodes.
Rebels Season 2: A Look Ahead (7:06, HD): producer Dave Filoni previews some character growth occurring during the second season via storyboards and then presents about three minutes of film clips from the upcoming season.
Star Wars Rebels Shorts (each one 3:02, HD): four brief and amusing stories featuring a member of the crew in a short adventure: “The Machine in the Ghost” features Chopper, “Art Attack” showcases Sabine, “Entanglement” spotlights Zeb, and “The Property of Ezra Bridger” focuses on everyone’s favorite sneak-thief.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Star Wars Rebels offers a fresh but familiar set of adventures for fans of the Force (young apprentice being trained by a Jedi master while enjoying the camaraderie and support of an eclectic group of friends), and this Blu-ray release of the first season offers outstanding picture and sound and some exhaustive bonus material. Recommended!
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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