Long ago, in our galaxy here on Earth, George Lucas created a world that has spawned other worlds and inspired our imaginations, challenged us to think, and, for some, encouraged our faith. In 1977, that film (and this author) came into existence, changing what we know about movies, special effects, and science fiction. Last year, nearly forty years later, that story’s next chapter was unveiled in grand form, toppling box office records and establishing that The Force still matters in the world today.
Here at ScreenFish, we’ve already said plenty about the seventh installment of George Lucas’ fantasy about another galaxy and its struggle with good and evil.
I previously wrote that Our History Matters and how revisiting Star Wars was about seeing old friends; Arnaldo wrote that the newcomers made the film; Alan wrote that Luke was like the Apostle John; Mark Sommer wrote about the fan reaction to the film. But if you’re buying the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD, then you probably want to know about how awesome the special features are. I’ll highlight two specific areas before running through each of them.
First, in “Force For Change,” Kathryn Kennedy explains how the Star Wars series generated a charitable initiative through auction that allowed people (from 125 countries) to make an effort to be in the film. The funds went to UNICEF – to make a difference around the world in children and communities. The actors and crew were themselves involved – Malala Yousafzai shows up! – proving that everyone can be a force for change!
Second, there are six deleted scenes. We see how Finn’s ‘awakening’ takes place in more than just running away in “Finn and the Villager” (my favorite), as well as more with Carrie Fisher in “Jakku Message” and the Finn/Rey combo in “Snow Speeder Chase” which wasn’t finished but still entertains. Overall, none of them really detract anything from the film by not being there, but it’s still fun to see more Star Wars!
“Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey” – An hour-long dissection of how the film came to be, divided into four chapters. One of the most fan-favorite moments for me? Hearing Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher share their insecurities – or doubts – about undertaking another Star Wars film.
“Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight” – From the background of the scene (down to the last drop of paint) to the practice bouts at Julliard School, fans can see how the (best) scene of the movie came about. Fan favorite: Listening to John Boyega and Adam Driver talk about what it was like to battle (in the snow!) with lightsabers.
“The Force Awakens: The Table Read” – J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan introduce the way that the table read unfolded – including the fact that Mark Hamill read the narration and story direction. Fan favorite? Hearing the mutual respect that the old school actors have for the next generation including Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. While both sides see the genius of Abrams, their glowing response about the other generation showed the bond of the story and its power.
“Crafting Creatures” – The artists who put together the physical representation of all of the ‘aliens’ and those who voice or move them share how they developed the back stories for each figure (especially at Maz Kanata’s cantina). 105 creatures! Fan favorite: watching them put Paul Kasey together inside his suit.
“Building BB-8” – The fan-favorite robot who joined the duo of C3P0 and R2D2 in the pantheon of robotic awesomeness received his own screen background. Fan favorite: seeing what BB-8 could’ve looked like to recognize how genius it is that he’s round and rolling now.
“John Williams: The Seventh Symphony” – The mind behind the scores of the Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Harry Potter films (and basically anything tied to Steven Spielberg) gets his own featurette – and dishes on high Rey was particularly difficult. Fan favorite: He’s EIGHTY-TWO and still working the musical emotions of millions of people!
“ILM: The Visual Magic of the Force” – Fans will see how the visual (action) of the story transferred from inside the minds of the artists to what we see on screen. Fan favorite: Lupita Nyong’o as Maz! (Sorry, Andy Serkis).
Star Wars The Force Awakens is available now on Digital HD, and available on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, April 5, everywhere that movies are sold!