Star Wars The Force Awakens: Collector’s Edition review

Is the Force strong in this new Force Awakens release with added features?

This Collector’s edition arrives in time for the holidays with new featurettes, commentary and deleted scenes. Since you’ll have likely watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens to death by now – in any case, if you want our full review you can read it here – we’ll concentrate on the bonus features.

First up, the sole commentary track from JJ Abrams proves to be as enlightening as you’d expect from a man who has to rank among 21st century cinema’s most pivotal individuals. From delving into the psychology of the characters in scenes like Han Solo and Kylo Ren’s fateful last meeting and the climatic lightsaber battle, to interesting bits of trivia (Selma director Ava DuVernay suggested certain rewrites, and it seems like most of Abrams’ friends and family had cameos), a lot is packed in.

On the featurette side, plenty more overlooked areas of filming are covered. In ‘Foley: A Sonic Tale’, the methodology of the film’s sound effects are discussed, and ‘Sounds Of The Resistance’ takes us back to Skywalker Sound, emphasising the importance of replicating the saga’s classic noises, from Chewbacca’s roar to the hum of the lightsaber.

‘Dressing The Galaxy’ makes the point that in any other film, a Star Wars extra would probably be the most iconic character, such is the excellence of designer Michael Kaplan, and ‘Inside The Armory’ talks us through the film’s various weapons, with special attention paid to the replication of Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber. Best of all is ‘The Scavenger And The Stormtrooper’, an extended back-and-forth between Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, culminating in an epic freestyle rap and dance number.

One of the surprise revelations to come out of it is just how many of the film’s better moments (Poe’s bantering, the bloody handprint on the Stormtrooper helmet, Finn and Rey’s first meeting) were actually the product of reshoots. It should provide reassurance for those troubled by the much-publicised changes that Rogue One has gone through.

As far as deleted scenes go, there are three in addition to what was included on the previous Blu-ray release: ‘Unkar Plutt At Maz’s Castle’, which sees Simon Pegg’s Jakku-dweller journey to Takodana to catch up with Rey and encounter Chewbacca; and ‘Tunnel Standoff’ and ‘Leia & The Resistance’, both of which are pretty self-explanatory.

Even though there’s still not quite as much as we’d hoped for, this is still strong in the Force. Go buy it, you should.