Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

When I originally reviewed the film in December, I initially gave it a great review. Upon a secondary viewing, my thoughts on the film have changed slightly. The final chapter of the Skywalker saga is finally here. J.J. Abrams returns to the director’s chair once again. But one of the main criticisms people had with both of Abrams’ Star Wars films is that he takes a lot of inspiration from the original trilogy. With The Rise of Skywalker, he decides to take inspiration from Return of the Jedi. Much like The Force Awakens, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As I said before, it brings a familiarity to the universe and gives Star Wars fans everything that they want in a finale.

Unfortunately, The Rise of Skywalker spends most of its runtime seemingly trying to undo all of the story building developed in The Last Jedi. This is one aspect of the film that might turn off those who enjoyed The Last Jedi. But for those of us who didn’t like the last film then this film is definitely for you. But because of all of that retconning, the film does move at a rapid pace. Even at a lengthy runtime, there isn’t a lot of room in the film to let things breathe. It goes from one setpiece to the next setpiece with little regard for further character development.

Instead of developing the ensemble cast, the film decides to focus on both Kylo Ren and Rey. While pundits might scoff at the idea of Rey’s storyline it gives us the concrete answers to questions that were set aside in The Last Jedi. We finally were given answers to why her connection to the original trilogy is so strong. As a result, it gives us a lot of surprises and makes the Skywalker saga come full circle. Not to mention, it also gives us some epic setpieces with the climactic battle against Palpatine’s forces.

Overall, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker isn’t the kind of finale that Star Wars fans wanted. After all, the lack of leadership in steering the ship has led to an uneven trilogy. In a world where we’re spoiled by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, people demand more quality in their connected films. Regardless, The Rise of Skywalker has plenty of crowd-pleasing moments and throwbacks that should please fans.

Movie Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Video

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Joonas Suotamo, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, and Daisy Ridley

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with an HDR10 transfer and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The picture has a slightly linear contrast which gives little depth to the picture. However, there is a stark contrast between both brightness and black levels. The bright areas illuminate off the screen—blinding you (in a good way) in the process. At the same time, the video transfer has a fabulous grayscale. Depending on the scene, the blacks could go from a lighter shade of black to a deep dark black. The colors themselves are bold and highlight all of the colorful worlds that you visit in the film. Thanks to the film being shot in native 4K, the details are crisp all-around. You’re also able to distinctly see the film grain. Overall, this is a fantastic video transfer.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Audio

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos and a core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. This review will reflect Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker‘s Dolby Atmos track. The audio mix is as fast-paced and dynamic as the film itself. For one thing, the sound effects dynamically pan all over the soundstage. Not to mention, the sound effects are accurate to what’s happening onscreen. So effects like laser blasts or the side of the screen the lightsaber ignites will all play the sound effect on that side of the soundstage. Although overhead effects rarely show itself during the course of the film, it begins to come to life during the climactic battle on Exegol.

Since the film runs at a rapid pace, there isn’t a ton of quiet moments in the film. However, the times that there are, you can hear the subtle atmospheric effects. The audio mix also plays John Williams’ final Star Wars score quite well. It sounds dynamic and complements the audio mix well. It doesn’t overpower the rest of the audio mix. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the dialogue. The dialogue is distinct but at times it can be drowned out by some of the enveloping sound effects. To top it all off, the subwoofer rumbles with authority every time Rey or Kylo Ren uses their force powers. Overall, this is such a fun mix.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Special Features

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Billy Dee Williams

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc doesn’t have any special features on it. However, you can find the following special features on the Bonus Features Blu-ray disc:

  • The Skywalker Legacy
  • Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase
  • Aliens in the Desert
  • D-O: Key to the Past
  • Warwick & Son
  • Cast of Creatures

Much like the release of The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker features a feature-length documentary about the making of the film. The difference is that “The Skywalker Legacy” is both a making-of documentary AND an original trilogy retrospective. The documentary uses sections of the Rise making-of and parallels it with behind-the-scenes footage from the original trilogy. It’s a truly wonderful documentary that I still believe this is how all behind-the-scenes featurettes should be done. It’s incredibly well-edited and informative. Some bittersweet emotions will rise as you’re watching this, that’s for sure.

If that wasn’t enough, the other featurettes in this release are made with the same quality and care as “Skywalker Legacy”. In other words, all of these featurettes are a must-watch. So be sure to set aside a few hours if you’re going to watch every single featurette on the Bonus Features disc.

Special Features Rating: 5/5 atoms


Overall, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a satisfying but flawed end to the iconic Skywalker saga. Both the video and audio are first-class and the special features are the best in its class. It’s a masterclass in how you should develop featurettes for home video.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1569 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.