By Kyle Luther, Contributing Writer
It seems like only yesterday that I was waiting in line for three hours to see the midnight screening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” surrounded by die-hard fans wearing replica Boba Fett armor. Four months later, on April 5, Disney released the Blue Ray and DVD of the film — though is it worth it? (Spoilers ahead.)
The bonus content on the DVD is separated into seven categories: the journey to the “Force Awakens,” the secrets of the film, costume and creature design, fight choreography, special effects, a piece highlighting the John Williams score, and the first table-read of the script with all actors present.
For most fans, the deleted scenes will be the biggest draw, and for the most part they do not add much to the final cut. What you saw in the theater was pretty much director J.J. Abrams’ vision for the film. However, there is one deleted scene in particular, involving the villain Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), that adds further context concerning his relationship with his father. When Han (Harrison Ford), Chewie (Peter Mayhew) and Finn (John Boyega) are sneaking around the First Order Base, Ren boards the Falcon, taking a moment in the cockpit to remember his past on the ship. The scene allows for the viewer to imagine and speculate on whatever his youth and to wonder how he fell to the dark side.
Watching the segment on the making of the film is like watching what it would be like if you made a “Star Wars” movie with friends. The crew drops what they are doing to get a glimpse of Ford entering the Falcon and Abrams always has a wide grin on his face, the look of a kid in the candy shop. Everyone sits in awe as Mark Hamill reads the script out loud and the younger actors gush about having scenes with Han and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher).
The cast interviews focused heavily on the three new leads: Daisy Ridley, Boyega and Driver, who all in one way or another related the experience of feeling pressure to live up to the original films. Driver, in particular, worried about not having any new ideas for his character, and Boyega joked that he felt like he could be fired at any moment early on.
During the lead up to the film, Abrams, LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy and all the actors reassured fans in numerous interviews that the film would have practical effects, without excessive computer graphics. Now there’s proof, from Ridley running through the Abu Dhabi desert avoiding explosions to animatronic puppets, the “Force Awakens” crew went to extensive lengths to make sure this film fit with the aesthetic of the first ever “Star Wars” film, “A New Hope.”
This isn’t to say the movie didn’t have some computer enhancements. Characters such as Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) were done through motion capture technology. Many fans will also get a kick out of seeing Driver and Boyega ferociously fighting with glowing sticks intercut with the finished light saber effect.
The behind the scenes features will definitely please “Star Wars” fans who will be able to witness all the time and effort put into making sure the end product was worthy of its pedigree and it will interests casual fans who might want to see the film making process of one of Hollywood’s biggest films ever.