Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Review

A welcome return to both the fresh and the familiar 4 Stars

Star Wars: The Force Awakens brings the universe of these beloved characters and stories alive once again with a swiftly paced and involving adventure that reboots the franchise joyously with enough mix of the familiar and the novel to please most movie fans.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)
Released: 18 Dec 2015
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 135 min
Director: J.J. Abrams
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Cast: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver
Writer(s): Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt, George Lucas (based on characters created by)
Plot: Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a ragtag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.
IMDB rating: 8.4
MetaScore: 81

Disc Information
Studio: Disney
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 2 Hr. 16 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy
Case Type: black keep case with leaf in a slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: ABC
Release Date: 04/05/2016
MSRP: $39.99

The Production: 4/5

As 2015 slowly drew toward its close signaling to movie fans across the globe that the seventh Star Wars feature was about to arrive in theaters, the question on the minds of nearly everyone was whether the new film would be closer in feel and spirit to the brilliant original trilogy or the trying, disappointing prequel series. Most breathed a sigh of relief when J. J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened revealing a movie which beautifully captured the innocence and larkish tone of the 1977 original and with some fresh new characters embarking on an interstellar adventure in a comfortable, known universe and joined by some familiar faces from decades ago. The film’s worldwide acclaim suggests that in the hands of these masters, the follow-up movies should prove to be as entertaining and as popular as those of the original trilogy.

A scrappy scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) and a First Order Storm Trooper Finn (John Boyega) who has bolted from the ranks get drawn into the latest plot of the reigning evil power First Order to destroy planets hostile to their takeover and once and for all wipe away any vestiges of the Resistance and the Force. To do that, they must find the long vanished Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), but the only one who has a map of his whereabouts in the galaxy is a rogue pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) who has hidden the map on a drive inside tiny droid BB-8. Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) has commanded General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and his enforcer Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) to do anything and everything possible to carry out his orders by using their weapon of mass destruction, but Rey and Finn join up with the Resistance still being overseen by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Also coincidentally getting brought back into the fight, some for reasons personal as well as professional, are Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew/Joonas Suotamo), and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels). Rey especially feels a kinship to the Rebels and begins to sense that the Force is indeed within her.

Director J.J. Abrams created the screenplay along with screenwriters Michael Arndt and Lawrence Kasdan (who helped fashion the best of the Star Wars films The Empire Strikes Back), and they’ve created a story that is at once both familiar and fresh. We’re going to have a heroine as the focal point of this trilogy, and yet there is much about the character of Rey that is as wide-eyed and full of wonderment as Luke Skywalker was in the first two films of the original trilogy while retaining his fighting spirit and search for the truth. If many of the characters retain similar paint strokes to original characters in the first three films: Poe’s confidence is similar to Han’s, Snoke’s sneering evil is a carbon copy of Palpatine’s, Ren’s dark suited menace a younger but similar force to Darth Vader’s, we do have Finn’s renegade Storm Trooper (who was trained as, of all things, a sanitation worker) that’s a new presence and energy in the story. Similarly, those who loved the Millennium Falcon or the light sabers or the different wing ships and destroyers and Death Star as well as the cantina with its colorful collection of aliens won’t be disappointed by this new effort in the least. Director J.J. Abrams keeps the story moving at a fast clip and stages all of the space chases, dogfights, and attacks on the new Death Star to keep viewer interest maximized, and he uses some of the same old-fashioned narrative crawl, wipes, and iris-ins that George Lucas employed in his original movie while also retaining John Williams to write the stirring score and many of the same sound designs originated by Ben Burtt that give this film the familiar sounds of the originals.

The four younger members of the cast all do first-rate jobs establishing characters that we’re certain and eager to see in the upcoming sequels: John Boyega as Finn, Daisy Ridley as Rey, Adam Driver as Ren, and Oscar Isaac as Poe. Of the older generation, Harrison Ford takes the major portions of the spotlight as the older but unfazed by time Han Solo, his quips as fast as ever and his chummy relationship with Chewbacca as flip and feisty as ever. Carrie Fisher isn’t as smooth and effortless as her older co-star in recreating her original role of Leia, but there’s warmth there and genuine affection with Ford’s Han joined as they are by a shared regret that’s one of the film’s surprise revelations. Lupita Nyong’o gives a wonderful motion-capture performance as cantina owner Maz Kanata, and Domhnall Gleeson is imperious and properly unctuous as General Hux. Max von Sydow pops in for an early visit as Lor San Tekka, and Mark Hamill has a few quiet moments as the elusive Luke Skywalker, the years turning him into almost an Alec Guinness clone.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

The film is presented in its theatrical 2.40:1 aspect ratio and is offered in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. Shot on film, the imagery here is very sharp and very inviting with exceptional detail while color quality is superb with especially inviting skin tones. Black levels are first-rate while contrast is exceptionally consistent to produce a reference quality picture. The movie has been divided into 50 chapters.

The film was also converted to 3D for many of its theatrical engagements, but Disney has opted not to release the 3D version at the present time.

Audio: 5/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix is exactly the reference quality immersive aural experience one expects from a Star Wars film. Dialogue has been exceptionally well recorded and has been placed in the center channel. John Williams’ Oscar-nominated score fills the fronts and rears with melodies both familiar and enticingly new, and the atmospheric effects pan across and through the soundstage continually to match the dogfights, explosions, creature sounds, and other expected noises common to the franchise.

Special Features: 4/5

All of the bonus material is contained on its own disc in the set.

 Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey (1:09:14, HD): a documentary-length feature that details the making of the film from the first press conference held by producer Kathleen Kennedy in 2013 through the pre-production process, the filming, and post production work. Along the way, director J. J. Abrams, production designers Rick Carter and Darren Gilford, writers Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt, composer John Williams, sound editor Matthew Wood, producers Bryan Burk and Michelle Rejwan, director of photography Dan Mindel, and actors Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Simon Pegg, and Lupita Nyong’o make comments on the production.

The Table Read (4:01, HD): Cameras record Mark Hamill reading the stage directions and the entire company taking part in their first gathering together going through the script.

Crafting Creatures (9:34, HD): Creature effects creator Neal Scanlan introduces us to the various means utilized to create the creatures of Star Wars. Included are the actors who voice the characters and the puppet masters who control the puppet and animatronic creatures in the movie.

Building BB-8 (6:03, HD): Writer-director J. J. Abrams shows his original drawing of the new droid for the movie, and we then meet Matt Denton who is in charge of electronic design and puppeteers Brian Herring and Dave Chapman and actors Anthony Daniels, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac who interact the most with the creation in its various incarnations.

Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight (7:02, HD): J.J. Abrams compliments the craftsmen who created the gorgeous indoor soundstage forest set for the climactic fight scene. Production designers Rick Carter and Darren Gilford and actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Adam Driver also add their comments on the experience.

ILM: The Visual Magic of the Force (7:55, HD): Producer Kathleen Kennedy along with director J.J. Abrams praises the various departments of ILM who created the visual effects for the movie. Special effects supervisor Ben Morris also adds some comments.

John Williams: The Seventh Symphony (6:51, HD): the Oscar-winning composer comments on his delight in being able to once again add his voice to the film while behind-the-scenes shots show him conducting the orchestra and being praised by director J.J. Abrams for his efforts.

Deleted Scenes (4:15, HD): six scenes may be viewed in montage or separately.

Force for Change (3:22, HD): Kathleen Kennedy discusses the use of Star Wars for charitable initiatives with this film’s donations being given to Unicef.

DVD/Digital Copy: disc and code sheet enclosed in the case.

Overall: 4/5

Star Wars: The Force Awakens brings the universe of these beloved characters and stories alive once again with a swiftly paced and involving adventure that reboots the franchise joyously with enough mix of the familiar and the novel to please most movie fans. Recommended!

Published by

Matt Hough

author,editor

126 Comments

  1. I can't wait for my copy to arrive today!  The review just stirs up excitement at the prospect of seeing the "Star Wars" universe through different eyes!

  2. Having watched this in 3D in the theaters, I am very happy to have watched it in 2D at home. IIRC it was shot on film, in 2D and converted afterwards so given that, I am not in the "no 3D no sale" category. While the 3D conversion was handled well, nothing in my theatrical 3D experience was overwhelming or game-changing, and the 2D presentation just "looks more filmlike" for lack of a better phrase. It feels more like Star Wars OT.A/V quality was awesome, as would be expected. Only a bit underwhelmed with the extras. The hour-plus doc was nice, I could have used another like that. Or a commentary. Glad they put the 4 minutes of deleted scenes in there, but also glad that all the scenes were cut. The film is much stronger for their omission.

  3. As much as I want this movie I am tired of buying movies only to turn around in 6 months to a year and buy it again so I will wait for it to come out on 4K UHD.  I am hoping that it will include ether a Dolby Atmos track or DTS-X track when it arrives on 4K UHD blu-ray.

  4. Travis as well as you know The Force Awakens, that's how well I knew The Empire Strikes Back in the summer of 1980. I saw it 5 times in one day (back then they didn't kick you out after a single showing). I probably know EMPIRE better than any other movie.

  5. I played the first few minutes of it and it's no "San Andreas or Mad Max" in reference to sound. I guess I'm spoiled now, but I'm hoping for something like those two in the future.

  6. I was in Walmart today, and they had lots of copies, but not one BB8 slipcover which is their exclusive. The website says "pickup only", so I'm assuming you have to order online for in-store pickup?

  7. Got mine from Amazon today, as promised. I've only quickly perused the disc which looks great.

    One oddity: while sitting at my computer this afternoon, I popped in the DVD (no BR player on the computer) and watched the opening. When it got to the end of the scrolling text, the player (VLC) stopped, I suppose to accommodate the branching for the Spanish crawl. I checked it with Windows 10's DVD player and that played it smoothly.

    Harry

  8. I am already thinking of how I can design a custom case for ALL my Star Wars discs…the BD set, the three DVDs of the OT unaltered, the special features DVD with Empire of Dreams, and the two BDs for Episode VII, as well as space for movies to come….hmmm.

    As far as episode VII, my BD looks wonderful.

  9. Well, let me be more specific. I'd love to know the numbers on disc release day: how many folks bought the movie digitally when Amazon was offering it a few days before the DVD release compared to preorder disc sales as of day of disc release.

  10. Well, let me be more specific. I'd love to know the numbers on disc release day: how many folks bought the movie digitally when Amazon was offering it a few days before the DVD release compared to preorder disc sales as of day of disc release.

    First the movie has to come out in theaters!:)

  11. Has anyone noticed that the end credits are a few minutes longer than they were in the theatrical version? And they've replaced the more up-tempo version of Rey's theme (one of my favorite parts of the score) with what sounds like the concert version.

    Weird; I wonder if it's just that some names had to be added.

  12. Has anyone noticed that the end credits are a few minutes longer than they were in the theatrical version? And they've replaced the more up-tempo version of Rey's theme (one of my favorite parts of the score) with what sounds like the concert version.

    Thank you. I was going to ask if anyone had a bootleg to compare it to but I was positive that the Blu-ray end credits had more music and a different take on the Rey theme.

    I assumed (but could be totally wrong) that they added the music so they could slow the credits down slightly to let people's names be on screen a little bit longer.

    EDIT: The more I think about it, they probably re-did the credit roll at a little larger size so they could be read easier on a TV vs. a movie theater screen and that necessitated the extension of the music.

  13. I'd be curious to see the sales numbers for episode VIII on disc versus streaming.

    I'm not sure we're talking about the same movie. I'm talking about episode 7, come and gone in theaters.

    Adam was having a little fun with the typo in your first response — you typed Episode VIII, not Episode VII.

  14. I watched this upon arriving home yesterday evening.  Ate dinner "after"! 

    Spectacular is a good word for it.  Breathtaking is another.   There is hardly a quiet moment.  The last time I was enthralled by a film with this kind of energy was when I saw "Aliens".   I'd add that "Gravity" has a similar intensity, but it lacked believeability for me.

    The John Williams score was both warmly familiar and refreshingly different.  Loved hearing the old themes and enjoyed the new.  All the characters are wonderful (yet, the son of Solo and Leia resembles NEITHER of them!!!).

    I'm eagerly anticipating the next film!!!

  15. Thank you. I was going to ask if anyone had a bootleg to compare it to but I was positive that the Blu-ray end credits had more music and a different take on the Rey theme.

    I assumed (but could be totally wrong) that they added the music so they could slow the credits down slightly to let people's names be on screen a little bit longer.

    EDIT: The more I think about it, they probably re-did the credit roll at a little larger size so they could be read easier on a TV vs. a movie theater screen and that necessitated the extension of the music.

    I don't remember exactly what speed the credits rolled at in theaters, but on the Blu-ray, they don't look any slower or larger than a normal movie's would. However, this wouldn't be the first time that's happened (though I imagine it is pretty rare). I think early video releases of The Abyss had a longer credit roll than the theatrical version.

    But it's a Star Wars movie on a home entertainment format; you've got to change something, right? 🙄

  16. One sweet looking film.  I picked it up yesterday and watched it and the picture was great.  The 7.2 surround sound was immersive and some good bass.  I would definitely give it a 4.5 out of 5 for video and sound.

  17. Watched this last night.  I thought the audio and video quality was really nice, but it felt a little underwhelming seeing it in 2D after having seen it in 3D multiple times in theaters.  I don't usually watch 2D versions of 3D movies, and this was a good reminder of why.  If I had never seen it in 3D or known that it was in 3D, it might not have bothered me, but each time something happened in the movie where I knew there was a corresponding 3D effect (starting with the way during BB-8's first intro, he originally pokes his head out past the screen to say hi to the audience), I felt like it was missing something.

  18. Lucasfilm could do the opposite of what happened with Star Trek Into Darkness here: release the 3D version with changing aspect ratios for the IMAX scenes. That would be reason enough for a double dip. Plus, the passage of time could always yield more special features including (gasp!) a special BD exclusive preview of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

  19. I was talking to someone who just bought the DVD (not the Blu-ray) and they said that non-removable Spanish subtitles came up at the top of the screen during the handful of times that there's subtitles for the alien languages in the movie. I figured this was a player glitch or something they did wrong in the menu so I took a look at my copy of the DVD that came with the Blu-ray and the non-removable Spanish subs came up for me as well. Anyone else seeing this on their DVDs too?

    It's not like I'm really going to use the DVD so I'm won't be kept up at night but that sucks for people who only have the DVD.

  20. I was talking to someone who just bought the DVD (not the Blu-ray) and they said that non-removable Spanish subtitles came up at the top of the screen during the handful of times that there's subtitles for the alien languages in the movie. I figured this was a player glitch or something they did wrong in the menu so I took a look at my copy of the DVD that came with the Blu-ray and the non-removable Spanish subs came up for me as well. Anyone else seeing this on their DVDs too?

    It's not like I'm really going to use the DVD so I'm won't be kept up at night but that sucks for people who only have the DVD.

    Not for me. I checked my DVD and it plays as it should.

    Harry

  21. Has anyone noticed that the end credits are a few minutes longer than they were in the theatrical version? And they've replaced the more up-tempo version of Rey's theme (one of my favorite parts of the score) with what sounds like the concert version.

    Weird; I wonder if it's just that some names had to be added.

    I thought something was different about the end credit sequence but figured I was just imagining it. Nice to know i still have my wits when it comes to music, at least.

  22. I thought about holding off on this release for the later version with the probable commentary, but decided not to and I'm glad. In 24 hours I feel I have already gotten my money's worth in the quality of the transfer and the quality and quantity of the special features.

    My wife is grooving on the special features in a way I haven't seen in a while. It's nice to see.

  23. I thought about holding off on this release for the later version with the probable commentary, but decided not to and I'm glad. In 24 hours I feel I have already got my money's worth in the quality of the transfer and the quality and quantity of the special features.

    I'm happy with what I've seen of the bonus features too – watched the first half of the documentary last night.

    I was a little surprised that I had such a visceral response to seeing it in 2D, after having seen it so many times in 3D theaters.  I thought I'd be just a little bothered by it as an intellectual exercise but that it wouldn't make a difference, but the movie really didn't feel like the movie to me for large portions of it.  Could've just been that I wasn't really in the mood to see it, but I don't think that's it.. it just didn't feel like the movie that I had seen so many times.  For better or worse, 3D has a way of helping to focus my attention on the screen, and without that, I just never got into it.  I am really, truly hoping that Disney will honor their words from their press release and put out a 3D version later in the year.  It's so strange that they behave like this now – they're the only studio out there where when I see a 3D movie in theaters, I actually have to worry about whether or not I'll have the chance to see it in that format again.

  24. Has anyone noticed that the end credits are a few minutes longer than they were in the theatrical version? And they've replaced the more up-tempo version of Rey's theme (one of my favorite parts of the score) with what sounds like the concert version.

    Weird; I wonder if it's just that some names had to be added.

    What are you basing this on? Memory? Comparison to the album? The film always ran longer than the soundtrack album, that's why I'm asking.

    Neil

  25. When I saw the credits last night, my first impression were that they were SMALLER than I expected even given the reduction in screen size. And then I was watching them and thought they went on longer than I remembered. But it was a passing thought, something I wouldn't have given a second thought to if not for Bryan's comment.

  26. The last track on the soundtrack (The Jedi Steps and Finale) is how the music played in the theatrical version. I've seen the movie at least every other week since it's come out & always stayed through the credits and I'm 100% positive that the music has been altered. And when I say 100% positive, I don't mean that I'm pretty sure, I mean that I'm sure on a level that I'd bet the farm, bet my life and bet my family and friends' lives on it. 🙂

  27. What are you basing this on? Memory? Comparison to the album? The film always ran longer than the soundtrack album, that's why I'm asking.

    Neil

    I saw it a few times in theaters and specifically remembered the "Rey's Theme" section of the credits music, as it was a uniquely orchestrated version that was a little heavier on the brass and faster in tempo than the concert version. I admit the soundtrack album solidified that in my mind, but that was how it sounded in the movie, too.

    If more people needed to be credited, then I'm glad they were. I just wish they'd found a different way to edit the music, so as not to remove that particular segment of it.

  28. I admit the soundtrack album solidified that in my mind, but that was how it sounded in the movie, too.

    I just heard the soundtrack for the first time yesterday (it was on sale at Target when I got the Blu-ray) so my memory wasn't influenced by it.

  29. We viewed our BD of the movie last night followed by the documentary.  (Just made a night of it!)

    It was a really incredible experience viewing and hearing this on my home system. 

    My first "Home Theater" consisted of a 55" Pioneer 16:10.7 set combined with a Dolby Pro-Logic surround system.  (This set was optimized for LD playback; it didn't support DVD’s anamorphic 16:9 mode.). And the first movie we viewed on that primitive set up was "Star Wars: A New Hope SE" in Widescreen.   We couldn't get over then how close we came to replicating the theater experience at home.

    We felt the same way last night viewing this movie on our 120" FP System with 7.1 surround sound. 

    We love viewing classics like "Ben-Hur" and "My Fair Lady" on our home theater; but for me it was built to view Star Wars first and foremost.  Everything else is secondary.  And this was Star Wars!!

    Oh, yeah:  We'll be repurchasing this again in December!!

  30. This review is tagged with "Atmos". But the movie isn't in Atmos and the review doesn't mention it one way or the other. This is confusing.

    ?

    If it was tagged with Atmos, it wasn't I who tagged it.

  31. I really wish the people who are holding of for the 3D release could just … hold off and not feel the need to tell us all about it.

    I enjoyed the documentary, and only wished it was longer.  It's interesting comparing it to the Episode 1 documentary from the DVD, which is fascinating in it's own way, watching as George Lucas makes one creative misstep after another while none of his minions have the nerve to tell him that he's driving his franchise right off a cliff.

    As for Atmos, I don't even know what that's all about. I dismantled my amp and speakers last year, as I just lost interest and the majority of the movies I watch are older anyways and don't need a dozen speakers blasting at top volume.

  32. I really wish the people who are holding of for the 3D release could just … hold off and not feel the need to tell us all about it.

    I enjoyed the documentary, and only wished it was longer.  It's interesting comparing it to the Episode 1 documentary from the DVD, which is fascinating in it's own way, watching as George Lucas makes one creative misstep after another while none of his minions have the nerve to tell him that he's driving his franchise right off a cliff.

    As for Atmos, I don't even know what that's all about. I dismantled my amp and speakers last year, as I just lost interest and the majority of the movies I watch are older anyways and don't need a dozen speakers blasting at top volume.

    We voice our opinion about the 3D and not buying so that when any (insert any studio) executives browse the internet forums about their product, they can see that there are a number of us who won't "settle" and want the presentation we experienced at the theater.  Disney will never change their stance on home 3D releases if they don't know there are a number of us interested in that format.  

    As for Atmos, it is the top of the line soundtrack they created for this movie and those of us who have an Atmos capable system want to be able to take advantage since it's the best presentation available for this movie.   The track exists, so why not include it?  

    This bluray has gotten fantastic ratings for both picture and sound, and the majority think the movie is really great as well and we just want that little extra performance to get the most enjoyment possible.

  33. Isn't 3D dead anyways? It seems to me that the public grew weary of this gimmick years ago, and now we're finally seeing hardware and software companies accepting this and scaling back dramatically on their offerings.

    Like all corporations, Disney motivated primarily by financial considerations based on real data. I don't think they spend their days hanging out in forums looking for advice.

  34. Isn't 3D dead anyways?

    Not really.  Theatrically speaking, more people saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens in a 3D format than did in a 2D format.  2D discs always outsell their 3D counterparts, but there's still money to be made.  HTF's own Bob Furmanek's 3D Film Archive has been putting out more than ever of late, not less.  I'd agree that the numbers aren't as huge for 3D as they were for "Avatar" in 2009, and it's definitely true that electronics manufacturers aren't pushing it nearly as heavily as they were five years ago, but I don't think it's dead.  I think it's just settled into a niche in home consumer land, the way Dolby Atmos and UHD BD discs are.

    Is the Digital Copy UV or something else?

    Something else – it's Disney Movies Anywhere.  DMA links with multiple services, including iTunes, Amazon, and Vudu.

  35. Interesting. I wonder if the big 3D numbers for TFA were because of the large percentage of screens it was playing on, especially for the advanced and early screenings. I saw it in 3D the first weekend not because I wanted to but because I had no choice.

    Not really.  Theatrically speaking, more people saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens in a 3D format than did in a 2D format.  2D discs always outsell their 3D counterparts, but there's still money to be made.  HTF's own Bob Furmanek's 3D Film Archive has been putting out more than ever of late, not less.  I'd agree that the numbers aren't as huge for 3D as they were for "Avatar" in 2009, and it's definitely true that electronics manufacturers aren't pushing it nearly as heavily as they were five years ago, but I don't think it's dead.  I think it's just settled into a niche in home consumer land, the way Dolby Atmos and UHD BD discs are.

    Something else – it's Disney Movies Anywhere.  DMA links with multiple services, including iTunes, Amazon, and Vudu.

  36. Interesting. I wonder if the big 3D numbers for TFA were because of the large percentage of screens it was playing on, especially for the advanced and early screenings. I saw it in 3D the first weekend not because I wanted to but because I had no choice.

    In the end, it's probably because people wanted to.  I've heard anecdotal evidence on both sides about people seeing it not in their preferred format due to availability.  (MikeSF frequently reports that his local theaters barely schedule 3D showings even though he wants the 3D, so he's stuck seeing it either in 3D at odd times or in 2D at more common showtimes.)  Here in NYC, a lot of theaters stayed open 24/7 running it the first weekend, constantly adding shows, so it was always fairly easy to get into as long as you didn't have your heart set on a specific time.

    Pretty much all of the IMAX 3D showings were sold out in advance, and at the very least, I would think that everyone who saw it in IMAX 3D did so out of choice and not necessity. 

    If people were only seeing it in 3D because they had no choice, that might have inflated the first weekend numbers a little, but I would assume that by the second weekend, that was no longer an issue in most places.

  37. Isn't 3D dead anyways? It seems to me that the public grew weary of this gimmick years ago, and now we're finally seeing hardware and software companies accepting this and scaling back dramatically on their offerings.

    Like all corporations, Disney motivated primarily by financial considerations based on real data. I don't think they spend their days hanging out in forums looking for advice.

    I think the public would rather have digital downloads instead of physical media, but I'm going to hang on for dear life to get the best quality movie experience I can in my home.

  38. I don't and won't stream. I don't want to purchase something at the same price as physical media that is stored somewhere else that I have to rely on an in internet connection to access, that is of lesser quality, that I can't resell, give or share if I wish, and that could disappear without warning. I also don't want to watch movies on teeny-tiny tablets in a way that I'm sure no director ever intended.

  39. So back the the review of this disc, I thought the volume of the special effects track was lower than normal.

    I neeeded to turn the volume up about 7 ticks higher than usual for this.

    I have a Denon and 30-35db is normal. I needed to go to 25db for the sound level to seem loud enough.

  40. So back the the review of this disc, I thought the volume of the special effects track was lower than normal.

    I neeeded to turn the volume up about 7 ticks higher than usual for this.

    I have a Denon and 30-35db is normal. I needed to go to 25db for the sound level to seem loud enough.

    It did seem a little on the soft side when I was watching as well.

  41. Somebody really needs to do a proper survey as to whether not theaterical 3D has had any effect whatsover on consumer 3D and vice versa. Frankly I don't think the two have any corolation or bearing on each other at all.

  42. Somebody really needs to do a proper survey as to whether not theaterical 3D has had any effect whatsover on consumer 3D and vice versa. Frankly I don't think the two have any corolation or bearing on each other at all.

    I have no interest in theatrical 3D or gone format. I don't own a 3D tv.

    I saw a couple of 3D films and overall I felt that I didn't enjoy the film more by viewing in the format. Plus the added cost.

    So I stick with 2d.

    I did see mission impossible rogue nation in IMAX. I felt the same about that format but might go again to another film in the format.

    I plan on seeing Alice through the looking glass and Star Trek beyond but I will not see them in 3D.

    Anyway I don't have anything against the 3D format, but it's not for me.

  43. The sound is not as extreme as some recent Blu-ray mixes, or some older films on BD such as T2, which sounded close to system failure the first time I listened to it (the playground nuke scene) at reference level. The Force Awakens sounds comfortable, but effective, to me, but still at the lower end of reference level.

  44. Isn't 3D dead anyways? It seems to me that the public grew weary of this gimmick years ago, and now we're finally seeing hardware and software companies accepting this and scaling back dramatically on their offerings.

    Like all corporations, Disney motivated primarily by financial considerations based on real data. I don't think they spend their days hanging out in forums looking for advice.

    From Deadline a few weeks ago.

    "A whopping 57% of TFA's gross is from 3D! who said 3D was dead??

    AvatarOf course, in this era, what has propelled Force Awakens to this B.O. benchmark faster than Avatar is the immense supply of 3D and digital screens. Since 2010, digital screens — which enable exhibitors to program more showtimes at a moment’s notice to meet demand — have shot up 168% to 41,518. Of that amount, 39% or 16,146 are 3D digital. Rentrak’s PostTrak reports that 45% of all audiences watched Force Awakens in RealD3D, 42% in 2D, and 12% in Imax. "

  45. Again… just because theatrical 3D is thriving doesn't mean blu-ray 3D is too. There is no evidence to suggest the former has had close to the trickle down effect to the consumer market that many had hoped. Please stop making this false equivalency.

  46. I love real IMAX, but haven't been impressed with the faux-IMAX offered to most theaters, and don't think the format is that suitable for narrative films.  For short documentaries, etc. it can't be beat.

    I have no interest in theatrical 3D or gone format. I don't own a 3D tv.

    I saw a couple of 3D films and overall I felt that I didn't enjoy the film more by viewing in the format. Plus the added cost.

    So I stick with 2d.

    I did see mission impossible rogue nation in IMAX. I felt the same about that format but might go again to another film in the format.

    I plan on seeing Alice through the looking glass and Star Trek beyond but I will not see them in 3D.

    Anyway I don't have anything against the 3D format, but it's not for me.

  47. And to be clear(er)er, I don't think theatrical 3D has any negligible effect on home 3D. Two separate beasts.

    I sure hope a 3D blu of SWTFA IS released in December. There still has not been any definitive word.

  48. If there's one thing Disney knows how to do, it's how to market a concept and sell us practically the same thing over again.

    I'm sure we'll see a new Special Edition of TFA in December, in 3D and 2D flavours, with commentary and expanded extras, including tie-ins with Rogue One.

    I sure hope a 3D blu of SWTFA IS released in December. There still has not been any definitive word.

  49. I don't think it diminishes or cheapens the film, just the way it is watched which is Completely the fault of the viewer. If you didn't see this in a theater, at a minimum it needs to be watched on the largest screen at home possible. NOT on a phone, tablet or airplane. If that's your first time viewing it, you haven't seen it.

  50. The more I watch TFA the more I like it. There are so many layers to it.

    One thing I missed, maybe someone can explain: How does Starkiller Base renew its energy once the sun is depleted? It's a planet. Does it move? Where did it get its energy for the first attack on the Republic if it uses up the sun each time it fires? If it had survived and wiped the Resistance out, where would it have gotten energy for its next blast? The sun was gone. The only thing I can see is that it sucks suns dry from long distance…?

  51. Star Wars TFA doesn't really count as it was filmed and finished in 2D. The 3D was added in post-production for the parallel 3D release.

    I feel that to release a movie presented in one format theatrically and then brutally chopped down for home viewing (widescreen/pan-and-scan; 3-D/2-D; IMAX/my tiny cell phone) diminishes and cheapens the film.

  52. One thing I missed, maybe someone can explain: How does Starkiller Base renew its energy once the sun is depleted? It's a planet. Does it move? Where did it get its energy for the first attack on the Republic if it uses up the sun each time it fires? If it had survived and wiped the Resistance out, where would it have gotten energy for its next blast? The sun was gone. The only thing I can see is that it sucks suns dry from long distance…?

    I thought it would just start sucking suns in other systems dry but you piqued interest so I took a look at Wookieepedia and the answer is that the planet can move via hyperspace. That's not stated or even implied in the movie but that's the way that the LFL story group looks at it. Before anyone points out the scientific impossibility of any of that, the whole idea is pretty crazy. 🙂

    http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Starkiller_Base

  53. Thanks Travis. Yeah, my first reaction to the whole thing was, "Oh, cool!" But any way you slice it, it can't work. If you sucked a sun dry, the gravitational chaos alone would wreck more havoc than the planets you destroy with your weapon. And the idea that a planet can move is nuts. How? Even if you explain it, there's that darn thing called gravity again. I guess SW has always been light on the science. But it always did take into account basic physics: You can't breathe on an asteroid (inside a giant space slug) without a mask, etc.

    I like the movie a lot, but they needed a single line in there to explain away SOMETHING.

    Still, after many, many viewings, I continue to consider this easily the third best SW film ever made. My order: 5,4,7,6,3,2,1.

  54. Thanks Travis. Yeah, my first reaction to the whole thing was, "Oh, cool!" But any way you slice it, it can't work. If you sucked a sun dry, the gravitational chaos alone would wreck more havoc than the planets you destroy with your weapon. And the idea that a planet can movie is nuts. How?

    I like the movie a lot, but they needed a single line in there to explain away SOMETHING.

    Still, after many, many viewings, I continue to consider this easily the third best SW film ever made. My order: 5,4,7,6,3,2,1.

    I guess you could say that since they had the science to make a hyperspace engine that moved the Death Star and have enough shielding that that it didn't fall apart that a big enough hyperspace engine and shielding would do the same for a planet. Though I'm sure that ignores a ton of science that should even apply to a galaxy far, far away. As long as it worked to move their weapon and let it remain functional, the First Order probably wasn't too concerned with the effect that movement would have on the planet or its ecosystem.

  55. Star Wars TFA doesn't really count as it was filmed and finished in 2D. The 3D was added in post-production for the parallel 3D release.

    Sure it does. It was released theatrically in 3D so that's what counts. Almost all current 3D films are converted after they are finished, and if done properly like TFA, Titanic, Gravity etc. it's near the quality of a native 3D film.

  56. I had no interest in home 3D until I bought my OLED tv with passive 3D.   Glasses are cheap, I already had a 3D bluray player, and I was able to pick up a bunch of used discs for a reasonable price.   Our living room tv was 3D capable, but I wasn't about to spend $50 on a pair of glasses and new movie prices are ridiculous.   Iron Man 3 in 3D was $50 last I looked.  

    So for me, price is why I balked at home 3D.   I'm sure a lot share my opinion.

  57. I had no interest in home 3D until I bought my OLED tv with passive 3D.   Glasses are cheap, I already had a 3D bluray player, and I was able to pick up a bunch of used discs for a reasonable price.   Our living room tv was 3D capable, but I wasn't about to spend $50 on a pair of glasses and new movie prices are ridiculous.   Iron Man 3 in 3D was $50 last I looked.  

    So for me, price is why I balked at home 3D.   I'm sure a lot share my opinion.

    3D bluray are regularly on sale. And the most I've paid on release day is $27.99. Plenty are on sale under $20 right now.

    I expect the 3D blu of SW TFA to retail at about $24.99

  58. Consider this: 3D is thriving in the theaters because theater chains have it in their best interest to show movies in 3D to charge a price premium. I wanted to see Star Wars in 2D. I live in Los Angeles, no shortage of movie theaters here. Guess what? The number of 3D vs. 2D showings was like 10-to-1 in favor of 3D for SW:TFA. And guess what else? The ticket prices were considerably higher for the 3D showings. Those 3D sales numbers for SW:TFA were high, but not because consumers are preferring 3D over 2D, but that in many places, they didn't have a choice. The only places near me showing 2D were lower-quality theaters, so in my case, if I wanted to see a great presentation of SW:TFA, I had little choice but to see it in 3D.

  59. That's much like I stated earlier. Theaters have a pretty small profit margin. Indeed most of their profit comes from the concession stand and they're always eager to grab a bit more. Nearly every advance ticket theater in my area was 3D and all of the reserved-seat theaters were as well. I don't know it it was good or bad 3D but it seemed dark and hard to follow in spots and the extra visual info didn't really add anything, IMHO.

    Consider this: 3D is thriving in the theaters because theater chains have it in their best interest to show movies in 3D to charge a price premium. I wanted to see Star Wars in 2D. I live in Los Angeles, no shortage of movie theaters here. Guess what? The number of 3D vs. 2D showings was like 10-to-1 in favor of 3D for SW:TFA. And guess what else? The ticket prices were considerably higher for the 3D showings. Those 3D sales numbers for SW:TFA were high, but not because consumers are preferring 3D over 2D, but that in many places, they didn't have a choice. The only places near me showing 2D were lower-quality theaters, so in my case, if I wanted to see a great presentation of SW:TFA, I had little choice but to see it in 3D.

  60. I had no interest in home 3D until I bought my OLED tv with passive 3D.   Glasses are cheap, I already had a 3D bluray player, and I was able to pick up a bunch of used discs for a reasonable price.   Our living room tv was 3D capable, but I wasn't about to spend $50 on a pair of glasses and new movie prices are ridiculous.   Iron Man 3 in 3D was $50 last I looked.

    So for me, price is why I balked at home 3D.   I'm sure a lot share my opinion.

    This and the availability issue for me. Around these parts you have to go of your way to get a 3D blu-ray player outside of the internet and even then it still costs 2X as much for what has become an unsupported niche format and you still have to buy the glasses separately so that's another 40 bucks wasted depending on which tv you bought because its all proprietary!

    In other words, 3D Blu-ray has become the second coming of laserdisc.

  61. I believe that the disc for this movie uses the theatrical mix which should be played back at reference.  Most home releases these days use near field mixes that are meant to be listened to at around -10dB.  Because of this they sound a lot louder than theatrical mixes but might have less dynamic range.

  62. Not here to preach, but as someone who suffers from some mild hearing loss and a moderate sufferer of Tinnitus, I strongly urge all of you not to watch movies (includes the peaks) much above 85 db as recommended by the medical community.  Get a sound meter and test it out.  Tinnitus 24/7 is not fun – no – it sucks! (and there is no cure), trust me, and it's related to hearing loss which for me came from loud home theater and car stereo days as a teenager.

    Here are some noise exposure limit guidelines.

    http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/ultimate-headphone-guide-articles-headphones-and-hearing-safety#2pcWyFfGUJfG2th2.97

  63. Not here to preach, but as someone who suffers from some mild hearing loss and a moderate sufferer of Tinnitus, I strongly urge all of you not to watch movies (includes the peaks) much above 85 db as recommended by the medical community.  Get a sound meter and test it out.  Tinnitus 24/7 is not fun – no – it sucks! (and there is no cure), trust me, and it's related to hearing loss which for me came from loud home theater and car stereo days as a teenager.

    Here are some noise exposure limit guidelines.

    http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/ultimate-headphone-guide-articles-headphones-and-hearing-safety#2pcWyFfGUJfG2th2.97

    I suffer from tinnitus too since I was about 12 and I echo Dans comments. People have committed suicide in extreme cases. Protect your ears.

  64. Agreed. My 18 year old son always questions why I ask him to wear earplugs when going to a concert, then complains about the effects afterwards. Kids.

    On another note, the lower mastering of Lucasfilm titles is not a new thing. LFL has a history of mastering sound at reference levels to preserve dynamic range. When Episode III came out, letters accompanied the prints with instructions as to where levels should be set to preserve reference quality audio. On a Dolby Digital processor, it was 7.0.

  65. Reminds me of the famous digital audio music compression issue. Everything ends up at the same level, which is good for lower volume settings, but there is very little dynamic range, which is found in the real world.

  66. I actually invested in high end In Ear Monitors (IEM) from Westone a few years back. The kind that truly eliminate ambient noise (well, reduce it by 27db). What I found, when Apple Earbuds became the rage with the release of the iPhone, was since they didn't isolate noise at all, people (primarily kids) would listen to their music at 110db+ (being an HT fan, I have an SPL meter and can confirm). That's well above OSHA standards for potential for hearing loss.

    When I bought my Westone UM3X, I found I could listen at comfortable levels since it was attenuating ambient noise. When I put my SPL meter to the Westone, I found I was listening on average at 85db. Much, much safer on your hearing.

  67. I put the BD of TFA in my BD player the day it came out. Either the movie or special features disc have been the only thing in my player since that day until I changed it tonight.

    I saw the movie seven times on BD and the special features three times. I think the reason I like it so much, fundamentally, is because of what isn't in the movie: the backstory.

    When we left ROTJ, it was all one happy dance, but now, Han and Leia are on the outs, their son betrayed Luke and killed all the Padawans; Luke, someone I thought would never quit, took his marbles and went home. The irrepressible R2 is depressed. I don't mind all the retreads in the movie because of the underpinning of darkness in the TFA. Han's fate reinforces it. The film's sobering underbelly is something I think will make this movie stand the test of time for me.

    I like it even more than I did on opening night, and I liked it a lot.

  68. The last track on the soundtrack (The Jedi Steps and Finale) is how the music played in the theatrical version. I've seen the movie at least every other week since it's come out & always stayed through the credits and I'm 100% positive that the music has been altered. And when I say 100% positive, I don't mean that I'm pretty sure, I mean that I'm sure on a level that I'd bet the farm, bet my life and bet my family and friends' lives on it. 🙂

    I went to the theater and saw TFA once more since it was leaving theaters and I recorded the end credit music. Comparing that recording to the soundtrack and the Blu-ray, I've conclusively answered the questions about the end credits music (conclusive to me anyway) and long story short, the Blu-ray absolutely alters the end credit music.

    More in-depth and more difficult to clearly explain, the soundtrack's 'Jedi Steps And Finale' is close to the theatrical end credits music but it cuts out about 2:15 worth of music (starting about about 6:20 on the soundtrack) before returning to the music as it is heard in the theatrical version. The Blu-ray end credits have a longer alternate (from the theatrical music) version of 'Rey's Theme' and it adds music (similar to the track 'Scherzo For X-Wings') and the rest of the music from the theatrical cut end credits is present on the Blu-ray (including the 2:15 worth of music that wasn't present on the soundtrack).

    The Blu-ray's version of 'Rey's Theme' runs about 1:10 longer than it does in the theatrical credits and the 'Scherzo' music runs about 1:41. That additional 2:51 accounts for the Blu-ray running 2:18:06 rather than the rounded-up 2 hour and 16 minute run time of the theatrical cut.

    EDIT: The closest you can get to the theatrical cut's end credits music would be to take the soundtrack track 'Jedi Steps And Finale' until about 4:12 and match it to the music on the Blu-ray at about 2:11:56.

  69. Great work Travis! How strange that this would be altered!? I wonder what the cause/reasoning behind it is?

    I remember enjoying the rendition of Rey's theme in the end credits of the theatrical cut.

  70. Great work Travis! How strange that this would be altered!? I wonder what the cause/reasoning behind it is?

    They altered the credits to make them a little more readable, so they just needed to cover the extra time.  I did notice in theaters that it seemed like the credits were a little more tightly packed than usual, and went by on the fast side when the scrolled by.  Although I don't have a copy of the theatrical version to watch them side by side, it seems that the ones on the disc are either a little larger and/or slower.

  71. Oh no, J.J. already bitten by Lucas revisionism bug! I can see the press release justifying the change now: technology for proper end credits as the director intended were not available for theatrical release, and has now fixed on home video release. Next change will be Rey shooting at Kylo first, to further justify his emo-angst driven turn to the Dark Side.[/sarcasm] 😆

  72. I wonder if all the theatrical showings have the same credit scroll and music.

    It wouldn't be unreasonable for the 3D to be different from the IMAX or the vanilla 2D.

    Even in '77, there were different mixes for the original Star Wars, depending on when and where you saw it.

    Maybe the Blu matches one of the TFA versions

  73. I wonder if all the theatrical showings have the same credit scroll and music.

    It wouldn't be unreasonable for the 3D to be different from the IMAX or the vanilla 2D.The comparison I made was from a 2-D DCP. For what it's worth, I saw it multiple times in IMAX 3-D, 3-D and 2-D and my memory is that it was the same in all of them but I have no proof for that beyond something fallible like my memory.

  74. I wonder if all the theatrical showings have the same credit scroll and music.

    It wouldn't be unreasonable for the 3D to be different from the IMAX or the vanilla 2D.

    Even in '77, there were different mixes for the original Star Wars, depending on when and where you saw it.

    Maybe the Blu matches one of the TFA versions

    I saw the movie in IMAX 3D, RPX 3D with Dolby Atmos, and regular 2D, and all of them featured identical running times and credits.  The only version that ran slightly longer – and not really – was the IMAX version.  Their DCP had a five second additional credit after the movie finished with the contact information for IMAX and an email address to offer feedback – they run that credit after every one of their showings.

  75. As previously stated in this thread, Disney has already announced that the IMAX 3D (and possibly Ultra HD) versions would be coming in late November/early December as part of the promotion for "Rogue One".

  76. As previously stated in this thread, Disney has already announced that the IMAX 3D (and possibly Ultra HD) versions would be coming in late November/early December as part of the promotion for "Rogue One".

    I don't think anything has been announced other than a 3D version is coming in November. No clarification as to what "version" that is.

  77. The weird thing about the credits on the Blu-Ray is just how small the scrolling text is.

    The credits right after the movie ends are roughly the same size on the other Star Wars movies. But once it switches to the scrolling end credits, the font is much smaller than the previous six movies (and any other movie I can recall).

  78. I don't think anything has been announced other than a 3D version is coming in November. No clarification as to what "version" that is.

    Did they even say November? I just remember them saying a 3D version is "coming"… and not necessarily on BD. <_<

  79. The weird thing about the credits on the Blu-Ray is just how small the scrolling text is.

    The credits right after the movie ends are roughly the same size on the other Star Wars movies. But once it switches to the scrolling end credits, the font is much smaller than the previous six movies (and any other movie I can recall).

    Yes, and the font is much much smaller than it was in the movie theater. Plus, as has been said here before, there appear to be a ton of names no included in the theatrical version.

  80. Was at Costco and picked up the Star Wars: Force Awakens Blu-ray and turned the box over to see the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 audio listed.  And I though mmmm nice and then I put it down and told myself I was not going to buy the title twice.

  81. Isn't 3D dead anyways? It seems to me that the public grew weary of this gimmick years ago, and now we're finally seeing hardware and software companies accepting this and scaling back dramatically on their offerings.

    Like all corporations, Disney motivated primarily by financial considerations based on real data. I don't think they spend their days hanging out in forums looking for advice.

    Yet Disney releases 3D Blu-rays in Foreign markets.

    And there has been 4 titles released or announced so far this year, and That's just classic 3D. The format is not dead yet.

Leave a Reply