When Star Wars: The Force Awakens came to home video last March, something was missing. While Disney had previously abandoned 3D Blu-Ray releases, Star Wars fans expected to have a chance to own the film in the deepest format possible. From the initial press release, Disney had hinted that there was not a disturbance in the force and that a 3D release would be available before year's end. Arriving just in time for the gift giving Life Day season, they will hold true to their promise on November 15th.
Arriving in a deluxe Collector's Edition package, Disney hopes to appeal to diehard Star Wars collectors in addition to 3D TV owners. With a lenticular cover, satin-finish box, exclusive new bonus features plus everything from the previous release, this is the definitive version of The Force Awakens... so far.
Owners of the previous Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-Ray are probably wondering if they should upgrade to this Collector's Edition. If you own a 3D TV, then absolutely! This film was made to be seen in 3D and watching this way makes it even more obvious. The Millennium Falcon dives towards the screen before a narrow turn, lightsabers protrude as Rey and Kylo Ren duel, and the Star Wars logo flies back into the recesses of space in this impressive 3D conversion.
Those looking to add to their collection of Star Wars bonus features will be most intrigued by the exclusive feature-length commentary. Nearly 40-minutes of less impressive featurettes get added to the already voluminous collection of bonuses from the previous release. With collectable packaging that occupies just as much shelf space as Fox's Complete Saga, you can give Disney's first venture into the Star Wars universe the deluxe treatment in your movie collection.
All three formats present Star Wars: The Force Awakens in its original 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio. This is a fixed ratio and the presentation does not expand during the IMAX enhanced scenes.
The 3D disc adds a great deal of depth to the film and truly enhances the Star Wars experience. Both Blu-Ray versions deliver amazing detail and color representation. Both are so expertly produced that there's literally nothing to nitpick over. The included DVD is identical in every way to the previous release.
Both the 3D and 2D Blu-Ray discs feature the same audio options. A DTS HD-Master Audio 7.1 surround track is the default mix. My subwoofer was so overworked it was sweating by the end of the film and all of the speakers are expertly used to bring you into this world. Other audio options include a 5.1 English track plus a 2.0 descriptive track for the visually impaired, plus French and Spanish 5.1 mixes.
On DVD, 5.1 mixes are available in English, French and Spanish along with the 2.0 descriptive track.
The new bonus features are mostly found at the end of the Bonus Features menu rather than at the forefront. Not counting the commentary track, there are nearly 40-minutes of new bonus features exclusive to this Collector's Edition.
- Audio Commentary (2:18:05) - J.J. Abrams shares his fandom for Star Wars, as well as some fascinating production stories. He also points out where many of the deleted scenes would have been placed, including some that are exclusive to this set.
- Foley: A Sonic Tale (4:02) - The foley artists on The Force Awakens share some of their secrets in this featurette from Skywalker Ranch.
- Sounds of the Resistance (7:15) - The iconic alien and droid noises in The Force Awakens are explored, including BB-8's voice acting inspiration, Bill Hader.
- Dressing the Galaxy (6:27) - Costume designer Michael Kaplan discusses expanding the Star Wars universe with new costumes and characters created for the film.
- The Scavenger & the Stormtrooper: A Conversation with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega (11:45) - The two stars of The Force Awakens sit down for tea to reminisce about their spent on the film and favorite memories from the set. With lots of behind the scenes footage, it's much better than it sounds and is one of the best new features.
- Inside the Armory (8:17) - Prop master Jamie Wilkinson leads this feature about the weapons in The Force Awakens.
- Deleted Scenes (2:07) - Three new deleted scenes can be found tacked on to the deleted scenes sub-menu.
- Leia and the Resistance (0:17) - Leia talks with a member of the resistance in this short bit of dialogue that was cut.
- Unkar Plutt at Maz's Castle (0:50) - Unkar confronts Rey in Maz's castle and gets in a fight with Chewbacca with some unfinished previz effects
- Tunnel Standoff (1:00) - Han, Fin and Chewie get ambushed by stormtroopers in the tunnels under Maz's castle.
All of the bonus features from the previous release are also included on the bonus disc.
- Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey (1:09:14) – This four-part documentary tells the story of how The Force Awakens came to the screen, featuring interviews with George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver. The documentary begins with pre-production, casting and the table read and then covers all aspects of principal photography, retelling the film’s story along the way.
- The Story Awakens: The Table Read (4:01) – The creative team and cast reflect on the infamous table read along with clips from that momentous event.
- Crafting Creatures (9:34) – Meet the puppets, animatronics and costumed performers that populate the extras and supporting cast in The Force Awakens, including Warwick Davis, Simon Pegg and Peter Mayhew.
- Building BB-8 (6:03) – Learn what makes BB-8 tick in this behind-the-scenes feature about his creation.
- Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight (7:02) – From the sets to the choreography, the climactic lightsaber fight between Rey and Kylo Ren was an epic undertaking to film.
- ILM: The Visual Magic of the Force (7:55) – The technical wizards at Industrial Light and Magic “fill in the storytelling gaps” in this featurette about the computer effects in the film.
- John Williams: The Seventh Symphony (6:51) – John Williams talks about his approach to scoring the seventh Star Wars film, including the challenge of incorporating new themes into the iconic music from the original trilogy.
- Deleted Scenes (4:15) – Six deleted scenes are presented individually or with a “Play All” option.
- Finn and the Villager (0:31) – During the opening, stormtrooper Finn stumbles upon an innocent villager.
- Jakku Message (0:47) – General Leia could have been introduced earlier in the film in this deleted scene.
- X-Wings Prepare for Lightspeed (0:22) – This brief scene features dialogue before the X-Wings take off.
- Kylo Searches the Falcon (0:50) – Kylo searches an abandoned Millennium Falcon for any crew members.
- Snow Speeder Chase (0:48) – Rey and Finn outrun stormtroopers in this deleted race through the snow.
- Finn Will Be Fine (0:23) – A medical team takes care of Finn as Rey watches.
- Force For Change (3:22) – Kathleen Kennedy shares how Star Wars fans have changed the world and how Force For Change was created to help the Unicef Innovation Labs.
There isn’t a single bonus feature on the DVD. That disc is strictly the movie and nothing else.
Packaing & Design
This Collector's Edition features a black satin-finish chipboard box with a recessed lenticular cover. The discs are in a folded booklet that features three images on the outter folds and one wide one on the inside. A removable cardboard backing wraps around the base, which you can keep or discard. All four discs are on individual, overlapping spoindles. Two inserts are found inside, a BB-8 shaped digital copy card and a separate code that adds the exclusive bonus features to your Disney Movies Anywhere digital copy.
3D fans can finally own Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 3D while super fans can now gain access to a feature commentary, exclusive deleted scenes and more behind-the-scenes footage. If you fall into both categories, upgrading your copy is a no brainer. But if you don't, you will have to decide if it's worth $30 to buy this film... again.