Cue the music, tee up the scrolling text and grab your trusty light sabre, because Star Wars: The Force Awakens is upon us. With the name confirmed, cast announced, release date come and gone and the Force memory of the fun-filled 7th entry in the series on the big screen still strong with this one it’s time to start thinking about adding it to the DVD, Blu-ray or digital download collection. You can check out the trailer below if for some reason you’ve missed all of the media attention the film has had, but for now the clock is ticking for the return of the Jedi masters and their Sith nemeses to home entertainment.
With the mixed reception of the Episodes I-III under George Lucas’ watch, the fact that Lucasfilm is now in the hands of the Walt Disney company and the associated trepidation fans of the series have for the prospect of new trilogy, the opening movie had a lot to do to win everyone over. The good news is that the film went on to be much more well received by fans, critics and movie-goers alike, and the release was one of the big movie events of the decade.
Cinema: Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens had its UK release date on Thursday the 18th December 2015 followed by the US release on the 18th December 2015, and if you’d bet your last Imperial Credit that it would be one of the most talked about films for the next year or so, you’d be laughing all the way to the Mos Eisley Cantina by now. It was a credible contender for 3D viewing with impressive visuals and CGI effects translating well from the trailer below to the wonder of the cinema.
DVD, Blu-ray and digital download: The DVD, Blu-ray and digital download release date for the epic reintroduction to the Star Wars series has been confirmed as the 18th April 2016 in the UK following on from its earlier release in the US on the 5th April 2016.
The film is set many years after the fall of the Empire and the triumph of Luke Skywalker over the Dark Side of the force, thanks in no small part to the sacrifice of his father, Darth Vader, who gave his life to save Luke and kill the emperor. The peace that follows is pierced by the appearance of a new Sith force to deal with and the original character, including Han Solo, Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, Chewbacca and R2-D2, must find a new hope to carry their torch into the dark clouds that abound.
The cast is made up of a fair few new faces, which has been a trademark process for each of the trilogy series to date. The young actors that have brought the film to life include John Boyega (Attack The Block) as former Storm Trooper Finn, Daisey Ridley as Rey, Gwendoline Christie (The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus) as Captain Phasma and Adam Driver (Inside Llewyn Davis) as Kylo Ren.
However, there are a number of more recognisable stars that have been cast in the movie with Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, Ex-Machina) as Poe Dameron, Andy Serkis (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Supreme Leader Snoke, Domhnall Gleeson (Dredd, Black Mirror, Ex Machina) as General Hux, Lupita Nyong’o (The Jungle Book) as Maz Kanata and the legendary Warwick Davis (An Idiot Abroad The Short Way Round).
Most of you will know already that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker are returning to their roles as Luke, Leia, Han, C-3PO (Oh honestly, R2), Chewwie (Arghhaahhh) and R2-D2 (beep beep beep bob beep).
Having done such an impressive job with Star Trek: Into Darkness, J.J. Abrams was given the helm of the director’s chair for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He’s also one of the movie’s producers, alongside Kathleen Kennedy (The Adventures Of Tintin) and Bryan Burke, who’s worked alongside Abrams on everything from Cloverfield and Super 8 to both of the rebooted Star Trek movies. Abrams has also co-written the screenplay with Lawrence Kasden, who wrote both Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and The Return Of The Jedi, as well as Indiana Jones: Raiders Of The Lost Arc.
Obviously, the new movies build on the original storyline developed by George Lucas and he’s involved in the production of the latest installment as a creative consultant. John Williams is also back in charge of the music for the movies, having done such an epic job on every single one of its predecessors, creating some of the most widely recognised themes in the history of cinema.
DVD and Blu-ray special features
With the Blu-ray and DVD release date looming, here’s a look at the extras and special features that will be bundled with the film.
- Secrets Of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey
- The Story Awakens: The Table Read
- Crafting Creatures – see how some of the crazy creatures came to life in the film
- Building BB-8 – arguably the most lovable new addition to the Star Wars universe since Wicket comes to life in this making of feature
- Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight
- ILM: The Visual Magic Of The Force
- John Williams: The Seventh Symphony
- Deleted Scenes
- Force For Change
We had a mix of excitement and minor trepidation ahead of the release of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, but things turned out well in the end. The teaser trailer below had a lot to be positive about, and that went on to be the case with the film itself, which had a sort of return to the mix of the reality of natural environments with futuristic technological advancements that was such a big part of the original movies.
We loved the intro scene for Kylo Ren stalking through a snowy forest before unleashing his hilt embellished light sabre and he went on to be a significant figure in the success of the film. The Millenium Falcon is a thing of beauty soaring over the desert and it was a real pleasure seeing it up on the big screen, but that only a part of what made the film so much fun.
The bright young cast coupled with the excitement of seeing the old faces back on the big screen together once again worked very well, and the strength of the plot and the J.J. Abrams-inspired delivery is pretty effective. With Lawrence Kasden and John Williams in the frame as well, there was always going to be at least some genuine flashes of genius to look forward to, but as it turned out there was as much genius is the new as there was with the old and trusted. Read our full Star Wars: The Force Awakens review for more details.