Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. As expected, the film came with a fine transfer.
Sharpness looked strong from start to finish. Even wider shots came across as accurate and well-defined, so anticipate no problematic softness.
The film lacked jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. No signs of source defects emerged either.
In terms of palette, Rise went with a fairly typical emphasis on teal and amber, though some other hues materialized as well. I’d like a broader array of hues, but given the choices on display, the hues looked solid. The disc’s HDR added some punch, though the limitations of the palette meant that factor didn’t bolster the colors a bunch.
Blacks appeared dark and dense, while shadows seemed smooth and well-depicted. The HDR gave zing to contrast and whites. No issues arose via this appealing presentation.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack worked well, though as occasionally occurs with discs from Disney, it came mastered at a somewhat low level. I’ve read complaints about that with other Disney releases and tended to find the issue overstated, but it seemed more obvious here.
Though the slightly anemic volume level tended to depend on the scene or element involved. Music felt too quiet much of the time, and some effects followed suit, but other effects packed a loud punch.
I deducted a point due to this erratic sense of volume, but the soundtrack remained compelling overall. Like all Star Wars movies, Rise boasted a dynamic, active soundscape from start to finish.
All the channels brought a lot of activity, and the elements seemed well-placed and integrated. Material crossed the spectrum in a concise way and gave us a wide, involving soundfield with lots of action on display.
Audio quality worked well, with speech that felt accurate and natural. Despite the slightly low volume, music still came across as well-rendered and full.
Effects fared best of all, as that material seemed accurate and robust, with clean highs and deep lows. I wish the track didn’t suffer from slightly inconsistent volume, but otherwise this turned into a very enjoyable mix.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The 4K’s Atmos mix felt a little more expansive, though it shared the volume issues with the BD’s DTS-HD MA audio.
Visuals showed an upgrade, as the 4K appeared better defined and showed darker blacks. Colors got a more modest boost than anticipated, mainly because so much of Rise went with less than vivid tones. Still, the 4K UHD turned into the more appealing rendition of the film.
All of the set’s extras appear on a second Blu-ray disc, and the big attraction comes from The Skywalker Legacy, a two-hour, six-minute, 11-second documentary. It presents comments from writer/director JJ Abrams, producers Michelle Rejwan and Kathleen Kennedy, writer Chris Terrio, production designers Kevin Jenkins and Rick Carter, executive producer Callum Greene, editors Stefan Grube and Maryann Brandon, 1st AD Tommy Gormley, visual effects supervisors Patrick Tubach and Roger Guyett, visual effects producer TJ Falls, makeup designer Amanda Knight, hair designer Lisa Tomblin-Fitzpatrick, supervising standby props Sonny Merchant, stunt coordinator Eunice Huthart, production sound mixer Stuart Wilson, HOD sculptor Conrad Lindley-Thompson, special creature effects supervisor Neal Scanlan, costume designer Michal Kaplan, 1st AD (Jordan) Tamir Naber, creature movement choreographer Paul Kasey, supervising art director Paul Inglis, animatronic designer Rebecca Simm, art director Claire Fleming, puppeteers Mike Quinn, Damian Farrell, Liam Cook, Claire Roi Harvey and Lynn Robertson Bruce, drapesman Alex Lewry, VFX trainee Ali al Khadra, 2nd unit director Victoria Mahoney, SFX lead senior technician Phil Ashton, director of photography Dan Mindel, set decorator Rosemary Brandenburg, workshop supervisor Martyn Doust, composer John Williams, CFX supervising animatronic designer Gustav Hoegen, CFX electronics design & development supervisor Matthew Denton, dialect coach Jill McCullough, ILM visual effects art director Chris Voy, Lucasfilm designer supervisor James Clyne, property & weapons master Jamie Wilkinson, supervising sound editor David Acord, assistant art director Laura Miller, special effects supervisor Dominic Tuohy, supervising sound editor Matthew Wood, draughtsperson Chris Vincent, and actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Billy Dee Williams, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Arti Shah, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billie Lourd, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford, Ian McDiarmid, Aidan Cook, Sally Guinness, Richard E. Grant, Geff Francis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Nigel Godrich, Keri Russell, Shirley Henderson, Naomie Ackie, Denis Lawson, and Dominic Monaghan.
Archival footage provides Original Trilogy-era comments from Ford, Hamill, Fisher, Daniels, filmmaker George Lucas and concept designer Ralph McQuarrie. We also find vintage shots from the sets of those films.
“Legacy” examines story/characters, cast and performances, sets, locations and production design, various effects, stunts and action, creature and costume design, photography, music and audio, and general domains.
Though the title may imply a broad view of the entire nine-film “Saga”, expect “Legacy” to mainly focus on Rise. We do get visits to the Original Trilogy and an occasional nod to the Prequel Trilogy, but Rise dominates, along with some glimpses of the other entries in the Sequel Trilogy.
Also don’t expect “Legacy” to follow the standard “A to Z” progression one would usually get from a “making of” program. Some of that comes from the inclusion of the glimpses of earlier shoots, but it also stems from the program’s decision to simply take the Rise production in a semi-loose manner.
This can feel disjointed, and I admit I prefer more linear documentaries. Still, “Legacy” offers a ton of good information, and it proceeds at a breezy pace. Ultimately “Legacy” delivers an engaging program.
A few featurettes follow, and Pasaana Pursuit fills 14 minutes, 16 seconds with notes from Abrams, Daniels, Guyett, Mahoney, Isaac, Ridley, Boyega, Fleming, Falls, Huthart, Tuohy, Brandon, ILM animation supervisor Paul Kavanagh, action vehicles fabricator John Randall, virtual production supervisor Kaya Jabar, assistant stunt coordinator Marc Mailley, stunt performers Joe Kennard and Luke Tumber, SFX lead senior technician Phil Ashton, SFX senior technician Phoebe Tait, storyboard artist David Allcock, and 2nd unit 1st AD Stewart Hamilton.
As implied by the title, “Pursuit” provides a look at elements related to a big action scene. It throws a lot of good nuggets at us to become a satisfying overview.
Aliens in the Desert goes for five minutes, 59 seconds and features Abrams, Greene, Naber, production manager (Jordan) Martin Joy, production supervisor (Jordan) Diala Raie, Princess Raiyah bint al Hussein, production coordinators (Jordan) Nada Atieh and Erin Duffy, supervising location manager Mally Chung, UK/Jordan construction paramedic Rachel Bucknor, location managers (Jordan) Saeb Abu Ragheb and Duncan Broadfoot, Royal Film Commission Former Managing Director George David, and Prince Ali bin al Hussein.
“Aliens” discusses the location shoot and challenges related to work in the desert. While some of this brings useful material, too much of it feels like a commercial intended to draw movie crews to Jordan.
With D-O: Key to the Past, we find a five-minute, 33-second clip that includes notes from Terrio, Jenkins, Acord, Wood, Ridley, standby art director Peter James, CFX concept designer Jake Lunt Davies, and puppeteers Brian Herring and Dave Chapman.
“Past” looks at the design of a spaceship and a droid. It delivers a short but interesting synopsis.
Warwick & Son goes for five minutes, 37 seconds and offers info from CFX senior animatronic designer Morna MacPherson, and actor Warwick Davis. This primarily looks at how Davis returned to reprise his role as Wicket the Ewok.
The program includes the “Son” part because Davis’s kid also worked on Rise, but it doesn’t focus much on him. While not packed with substance, “Warwick” manages to give us a charming enough view of the veteran actor.
Finally, Cast of Creatures occupies seven minutes, 46 seconds and brings remarks from Scanlan, Abrams, Boyega, Davis, Cook, MacPherson, Denton, Hoegen, Falls, CFX concept designer/senior sculptor Luke Fisher, puppeteers Claire Roi Harvey and Tom Wilton, CFX paint finish design supervisor Henrik Svensson, animatronic designer Becky Simm, asset and environment supervisor Elvin Siew Xiangyou, and CG supervisor Nihal Friedel.
Here we get insights related to the design and execution of various alien beings. It’s too short to dig into the topic as well as I might like – we could get a couple hours on the subject – but it still provides fun notes.
With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, a decades-long saga concludes in a moderately satisfying manner. That feels like faint praise for a film with such high expectations, as Rise becomes an enjoyable but not entirely fulfilling finale. The 4K UHD offers excellent picture and audio along with a solid selection of supplements. While not the classic one might hope to find, Rise still does enough to work.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of THE RISE OF SKYWALKER