Another year, another Star Wars movie. Boy, I never thought there would be a time where I could say that. I have to admit, I was distraught when Disney announced they had acquired Lucasfilm and their plan was to create a film universe akin to that of their Marvel franchise. Though Disney has done a magnificent job with the Marvel Universe, I feared for my beloved Star Wars franchise in their hands.
So far, it hasn't been Earth shattering (good or bad), but it's been decent. Admittedly, every time a new movie comes out I walk away from the theater with a sour taste in my mouth. However, the films quickly grow on me with additional viewings. It's as if my system is in such shock over what I've seen the first time around that I simply can't process it all until further viewings.
The same thing happened with The Last Jedi. When I left the theater I hated the film. I felt like it was the worst in the franchise. Then I watched it a few times when it was released digitally and, well, it grew on me. It's not my favorite, but it's not the worst.
Naturally, since I collect the various home video releases of Star Wars, The release of The Last Jedi is an important day to me. However, unlike most films which get released mass retail, Star Wars always seems to have multiple versions, multiple covers and retail exclusives. Everyone wants a slice of the Star Wars pie - Including most of you. But, which slice do you want? Let's take a look at all the various releases to see which one is right for you - Unless you're like me and the answer is, "All of them!"
If you're looking to keep your library digital, you've been waiting longer than you have to. It's been available on your favorite media streaming devices since March 13, 2018.
It features quite a few bonus features - Which you'll also find on all the physical media versions. As such, I'll list them here since none of the exclusives or physical releases have anything different from one version to the next. The features are;
The Director and the Jedi
Balance of the Force
Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle
Snoke and Mirrors
Showdown on Crait
Andy Serkis Live!
Additionally, digital versions will have a one of a kind special feature - The ability to play the movie only with John William's score. No dialog, no sound effects. Just music.
Digital versions can be watched in both standard and high definitions - Depending on how high tech your "system" of choice is.
The first physical release is the standard DVD edition. No fuss, no frills. Just the movie presented in widescreen. Not one special feature to be found on the disc.
What was interesting was how many retailers have given up on DVD's in general. Best Buy wasn't even offering this version for sale on its website at the time of this writing.
Should you want this one, you can find it at Target and Walmart for about $17.99 (currently on sale). However, the standard retail price is around $19.99.
An interesting note about the DVD version is that this is the only version available to date which doesn't have the artwork obscured by a bunch of busy designs and symbols - As you'll see on the various Blu-Ray versions. Even when the Blu-Rays are removed from their slipcovers you can't escape all the busy nonsense going on.
If you're looking to up size your experience to Blu-Ray, you'll find your options are lucrative.
The Blu-Ray release features (of course) the Blu-Ray, a bonus disc and Digital HD download code for viewing on your favorite online source. Unlike prior Star Wars releases, you will notice the absence of the DVD in this pack. That's an interesting choice on behalf of Disney, but yet at the same time I have to admit that I've always been that guy who asks, "Why do I need three versions of the movie in one package?"** Typically when I buy a Blu-Ray that has a DVD inside, the DVD never gets viewed once.
**Star Wars is exempt from that statement
I'm honestly not a big fan of the cover for the Blu-Ray. As mentioned above, it's too busy and really detracts from what would otherwise be a nice packaging of the film. Equally, I'm curious as to why Disney suddenly changed the design for the packages from the prior released The Force Awakens. The Last Jedi would have looked great with that black slipcover look with the original poster artwork on the actual Blu-Ray. Oh well. Consistency has never really been big in Star Wars releases unless the films are released as a set.
For those of you looking for uber picture quality, The Last Jedi is the first Star Wars film in the franchise to be released in a 4K format.
The downside to this is that due to the different formats in which this movie was filmed - I.E. 35mm film and digital, these subtle differences from shot to shot are screamingly noticeable. The other downside to this is that there really isn't all that much difference from the standard Blu-Ray format to that of the 4k version. That's not to say the 4K version is bad - Rather it means the Blu-Ray was simply processed to the best quality possible.
Additionally, there are some potential audio issues for those who don't have a maximum capacity and quality audio set up. The perfect example of this is the dialog which seems excessively low in correlation to the sound effects which often times down it out.
In short, I really only recommend this one for people with top notch equipment. Otherwise you're really not going to get the benefit from this version.
With that said, if you really want the best bang for your buck, for a few dollars more you will not only get the 4K version of the film, but also the Blu-Ray and Digital HD download. Additionally, you'll also get the bonus disc which features all the bonus features noted above. That there may make it worth the price of admission - Even if you don't currently own a 4K set up, but plan to do so in the future.
For those who pre-ordered the Blu-Ray (either 4K or standard) directly from the Disney Store, you of course got Disney's annual dredge of exclusive lithographs.
Honestly, these don't impress me and never have. Sorry, but lithographs aren't a selling point for me - Even as an exclusive for a home video release. Perhaps if the lithographs were shrunken down and packed inside the case I'd bite. But as a stand along "thing" - Yeah, not interested.
***UPDATE - Disney Club's version of the film is actually a Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD combo. It comes in the same package / slipcase as the standard edition noted above, but you know...different cause it has the DVD inside. Please note you cannot buy this version from Disney Stores directly. This was only available through their club.
Speaking of exclusives - Let's talk about the retailer versions.
Target packaged a Blu-Ray, DVD (Hey, there's the DVD!), HD Digital and bonus features disc combo pack with a forty page book which contained exclusive behind the scenes photographs from the movie. In addition to the book you also get a really nice exclusive cover for the combo pack which features the artwork for the IMAX poster.
You also get an exclusive price of $29.99 - Which is the same price of the 4K combo pack sans the 4K disc.
If you're in to behind the scenes photographs and / or books, this could be the set you're looking for - Especially if you don't mind not getting the 4K version.
You won't find any bonus features on the bonus features disc that you can't get from any of the versions (with exception to the DVD) as noted above.
I am honestly surprised that Target didn't create a second exclusive pack which would have featured the 4K disc, Blu-Ray and HD Digital version. After all...
That's exactly what Best Buy did for their SteelBook exclusive.
For those of you looking for either the standard or 4K versions, you can get them both in SteelBook fashion.
Much like the Target exclusive, the Best Buy version of the standard Blu-Ray features the Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital HD and bonus features disc. The 4K version features that particular version of the film as well as the Blu-Ray, HD Digital and bonus features disc.
Regardless of which version you choose, you'll get the artwork from the foreign posters of The Last Jedi. All of this will of course come printed on a very nice solid steel case.
Rogue One last year and many expected them to do the same for The Last Jedi. Well, they did...Sort of.
It didn't help matters that the only sign of a Walmart exclusive was via their Canadian website. An exclusive for Walmart, but only available in Canada? This was very sad news for us who don't live there.
Despite what I felt would be a futile attempt, I made my way to Walmart this morning in the good ol' US of A - Which turned out to be a good idea. They did indeed have the exclusive multi-cover version available which features all of that fantastic artwork from the character movie posters. It is worth noting it's not as thick as the prior released Rogue One. It's also not as well thought out design wise.
While the Rogue One Version had cards which slid in sideways in an actual holder, the cards for this particular version simply get slid in front of the Blu-Ray case in a standard slipcover. Meaning if not careful, it will slip out the bottom. There is however a solution to this which I actually really like. You can fit the cardboard backer and front tab inside the slipcase and doing so not only adds a little something extra to the front of the package, but also keeps the cards inside.
While the actual cover for the actual Blu-Ray case is no different than that of the standard Blu-Ray edition (artwork wise), there is one added facet which may make this set desirable to people - Well, with the exception of having multiple covers. That facet is that this version also includes a DVD of the film along with the Blu-Ray, HD Digital and bonus disc. If Walmart would have had the foresight to include the 4K version as well in this set, this would have been the no brainer version to buy - If you're limiting yourself to just one particular release.
The real question is will you buy enough to display all the various covers?
I'm also curious to see if The Last Jedi will follow suit like The Force Awakens and pop out a 3D version for USA residents in the next few months. Because we all know how well that marketing plan sat with people who had already purchased the movie.
Regardless, there you have it. The round up of The Last Jedi on Blu-Ray, DVD and 4K. Which one suits your fancy?
Before heading on my way, here's the round-up of what I got;
7 Copies of the Walmart Exclusives - 6 to display, 1 to keep sealed
3 copies of 4K - 2 in slipcase with different stickers and 1 out of the slipcase
3 copies of the Blu-Ray / Digital - 2 in slipcase with different stickers and 1 out of the slipcase
2 Target Exclusives - I'll open one eventually to flip through the book
2 Best Buy Exclusive Steelbooks of the Blu-Ray / Digital
2 Best Buy Exclusive Steelbooks of 4K
1 Disney Movie Club Exclusive Blu-Ray / DVD / Digital with Lithographs
1 Blu-Ray / DVD / Digital without slipcase
2 standard release DVD's