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The latest news on all things 4k Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Gear.
Coming Soon to Streaming: VERONICA MARS, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, and More
Private eyes, lions, witches, and wardrobes all headline this week's crop of streaming news and teasers.
New Poll Asks Viewers to Help Choose Sony's Next 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Releases
The studio has launched a new survey asking users to help decide future 4K releases.
HDD Attends 2019 Value Electronics TV Shootout
The event pitted the year's top displays against each other in a side-by-side competition in order to choose the new "King of TV."
The Story of Stephen King's THE SHINING Continues in First DOCTOR SLEEP Trailer
"I don't know about magic. I... I always called it the shining."
Samsung Unveils The Wall Luxury MicroLED Modular Display With up to 8K Resolution
The company's latest MicroLED screen has been revealed.
Marvel Is Remastering All of Its MCU Films in 4K Ultra HD
The studio is prepping its entire catalog of movies for 4K release.
Sony XBR-65A9G OLED Wins 2019 Value Electronics TV Shootout
A new "King of TV" has been crowned!
Calculating High-Def Digest's "Overall Score" (A Small Change)

A lot has changed since High-Def Digest started reviewing movies in 2006. We've changed with the times, naturally, but remain focused on sharing our subjective movie opinions as well as our objective analysis of video presentations, audio mixes, and bonus materials. Back in the halcyon days of DVD and physical media, multi-disc boxed sets with hours of special features were much more common. Here in 2019, most studios release a handful of featurettes, a few trailers, and maybe an audio commentary or two. The best releases still have in-depth documentaries, but they're pretty rare. 

What does this have to do with review scoring, you might ask?

Before today, we calculated our Overall Score by giving equal weight to Story, Video, Audio, and Special Features. But, in an era where Special Features are less common, or non-existent, it feels like Special Features carry too much weight. It's not like you're going to skip buying a great movie with demo-worthy audio-video because the bonus featurettes are on the light side, right?

As such, we plan to treat Special Features a bit like extra credit. To be clear, we're still going to grade the Special Features and let you know if they're good, bad, or somewhere in between. As fellow movie collectors, we understand how a fantastic set of bonus materials can be a value-add, or make a re-release worthy of a double-dip. (Longtime readers may recall our old HD Exclusives section, which was created to cover Blu-ray special features not on the DVD. That section was also treated like extra credit.)

So here's how our system works, starting today:

We now calculate our Overall Score by averaging Story, Video, and Audio. 

BUT if the Special Features are --

  • Lackluster, we knock said Overall Score down by 0.5 stars
  • Good, we leave said Overall Score unchanged
  • Amazing, we bump said Overall Score up by a 0.5 stars

Admittedly, this is more subjective than what we've been doing, but based on a few experiments, this adjustment should course-correct scenarios where Special Features tank the Overall Score of otherwise worthy 4K, 3D, & HD releases. Ultimately, the goal is to make our Overall Score reflect whether or not you should buy a disc or digital download. And we hope this quick note lets you into our process, explaining how we work and why this choice was made.

Thanks so much for your time and readership!

HELLBOY (2019) Dated and Detailed for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray
The hellborn hero returns to home video this July.
Coming Soon to Blu-ray: GOOD OMENS, THE FLASH, and More
Angels, demons, superheroes, and more are all coming to Blu-ray.
Father's Day Gift Guide 2019: Home Theater Products & Gadgets
Father's Day is just around the corner, and you know what that means, right? Lots of great deals on TVs, sound bars, and other home theater products, gear, and gadgets!
Disney+ Announces New CHIP 'N' DALE Series and MONSTERS AT WORK Details
The animated chipmunks are heading to Disney+.
AVENGERS: ENDGAME Dated for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray
The star-studded Marvel Cinematic Universe movie looks to be heading to home video in August.
Anna & Elsa Journey Into the Unknown in Enchanting New FROZEN 2 Trailer
Elsa, Anna, and Olaf will return to theaters in November.
THE SWAN PRINCESS Announced for Blu-ray (and Digital 4K HDR)
The 1994 animated musical will make its Blu-ray and 4K digital debut this October.
Samsung Details CRG5 Curved Gaming Monitor with NVIDIA G-SYNC Support
The company's newest curved monitor has been revealed.
Microsoft Reveals New Details for Project Scarlett Next-Gen Xbox Console with 8K Support
More details have been announced for the upcoming video game system.
Coming Soon to Streaming: JESSICA JONES, TRANSPARENT, and More
The final season of Marvel's last Netflix show will start streaming later this month.
Theme Park Review: Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy...

Obi Wan's words ring in my mind as I walk through the tunnel, transporting myself from a nostalgic incarnation of the American west into the remote space outpost of Batuu. Like many young people, I grew up wanting to run off with Luke Skywalker to far-off galaxies. To grab a drink in the Mos Eisley Cantina. To board the Millennium Falcon for adventures unknown. And today I'm finally doing those very things in a very real place.

(All images captured with a Nikon Z7 and NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F2.8 zoom.)

Welcome to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, Walt Disney's newest land, now open to the public at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. Yes, technically we're still waiting on a ride to open before it's finished, and if you're more of a Disney World vacationer, the Florida Galaxy's Edge won't launch until this fall. But if you're in Southern California this summer, you can walk yourself right into your favorite galaxy far, far away. 

You can gobble the food, guzzle the drinks and, yes, even fly the Falcon with five of your best friends.

I took my family earlier this week and wanted to share a few first impressions.

(The Batuu Market)

Yes, It's a Mall, But...

Walking from Frontierland into Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge literally takes my breath away. I've been excited to visit, but standing inside, fully immersed, is something different and special. I'm not watching a movie or reading a book. I don't have to imagine anything. It's all just... here.

Check out these droids waiting for repair. Or the speeders at the mechanic shop. Here's a robot operating a massive barbecue grill at the local market. The First Order is here too, patrolling the city for the Resistance. Their red and black flags blazing symbols of fascist occupation.

Part of me knows this is nothing but a (very fancy) mall designed to sell clothes and toys and food and drink -- this is the business of show, after all -- but the artistry and craftsmanship on display are extraordinary. Every single square inch of this place brims with story and (fabricated) history and I'm a sucker for it all. Even the bathrooms are beautiful.

It makes me forget I'm only a hundred meters away from a massive parking structure.

Flying the Falcon (Galaxy's Edge Rides)

Galaxy's Edge will eventually have two major attractions. Unfortunately, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance doesn't open until later this year, but know this much: Disney Imagineers called it the most epic attraction they've ever created. For context, I'd say Avatar: Flight of Passage is the most bonkers Disney ride available today, so I'm excited to see if Resistance meets or tops it.

(Coming soon! Where You Will Wait)

For now, though, the only Galaxy's Edge attraction is Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run. Imagine Star Tours with six riders sitting in the Falcon's cockpit where two act as pilots, two play gunners, and two become engineers. That's right, you're not just riding along, you're interacting while being judged in the process and on your mission's success.

(Chewie... we're home.)

In my opinion, as a ride, Smuggler's Run is just okay. I'm not a big fan of Star Tours because it's less immersive as, say, an IMAX (which is why Flight of Passage is so impressive) or even a real rollercoaster. That said, I was an engineer, which involves pressing eight buttons as they light up, so maybe it's more fun when you're the pilot. The imagery was gorgeous, naturally, and the cockpit bounces and jounces and all those fun things.

(I let the Wookie win)

To me, though, the most emotionally fulfilling part was simply being inside the Falcon's corridors. It's like walking into a favorite dream. Just like the city of Batuu, the precision and attention to detail are crazy-good. You can even sit at the infamous Dejarik board and get your picture taken while you wait for your mission.

Dagobah Drinkin' (Galaxy's Edge Food & Beverages)

From portable food carts selling snacks and custom Coke bottles (see above) to space cocktails and desserts, there's plenty to drink and eat in Batuu.

Ronto Roasters sells American style roasted pork and grilled sausages while a droid monitors a massive forge roasting all the yummy space meats.

(The Milk Stand)

The Milk Stand offers both A New Hope inspired Blue Milk and The Last Jedi style Green Milk. But don't worry, you don't have to milk any sea cows to enjoy either wone. In fact, they're not actually milk at all. They're a frozen, fruity coconut/rice milk concoction more akin to a smoothie.

Kat Saka's Kettle sells a fiery-red popcorn-based Outpost Mix.

Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo offers a variety of vegetarian and meat dishes, from salads and ribs to veggie loaf and beef pot roast. It's definitely the full dining experience in Galaxy's Edge but, alas, you can't enjoy your meal with a beer.

(Oga's Cantina Menu)

If you are craving an adult beverage, Oga's Cantina boasts a variety of space cocktails, bubbling virgin drinks for kids and teetotalers, and a few custom beers crafted by Blue Point, New Belgium, Ballast Point, and Sierra Nevada. The drinks and glassware are as visually interesting as the cantina itself, which is already the most popular attraction in Batuu. Is it worth the long wait? I think so. There are a few food snacks as well, but I would have liked to enjoy my Dagobah Slug Slinger and Gammorean Ale with something from Ronto Roasters. Oh well.

(Dagobah Slug Slinger aka The Space Margarita)

(Oga's Cantina)

IMPORTANT TIP: space is limited. If you want to get a drink at Oga's Cantina, you need to register. My advice: find this line as soon as you enter Galaxy's Edge, then wander around waiting for them to text you.

(Oga's Cantina Droid DJ)

Choose Your Side, Your Droid, and Your Creature (Galaxy's Edge Merch)

Batuu feels like a city divided. It may be a remote outpost on the edge of the galaxy, but the First Order controls most of the city, from the spaceport to the market. But The Resistance is here too, just outside the market in the Old Outpost, an open space surrounded by canyon walls and desert plants. There's also a speeder and an X-wing Starfighter.

The point is, though, that Galaxy's Edge encourages guests to become heroes or villains or both.

(First Order Cargo)

First Order Cargo is the place to get your stormtrooper uniforms and First Order enlistment posters. The store is metallic and clean (and a little fascist).

(Resistance Supply)

Meanwhile, Resistance Supply is the place to get your Resistance toys, t-shirts, and pilot uniforms & helmets.

(Droid Depot)

In the Droid Depot, you get to hand build your own robotic friend as parts appear on a conveyer belt reminiscent of modern Sushi restaurants. Here too you get to choose Resistance or First Order droids, or you can pick up a pre-assembled favorite, like R2D2 or BB8.

In Savi's Workshop, you get to make your own lightsaber (take that, Harry Potter wands!).

(Dok-Ondar, I presume)

In Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities, your light vs dark side choices continue. With more stunning production design that includes the above creature, you can choose between blue Resistance artifacts and red First Order gear. 

(Creature Stall)

And lastly, over in the market, you'll find several more shops. The Creature Stall sells Kowakian monkey-lizards and other space pets. Black Spire Outfitters sells legitimately gorgeous Jedi-style robes. There are others, of course, but I started losing track.

Aside from the outrageous prices (make a budget and stick to it or face crushing debt!), what struck me most about the merchandise was the quality and variety. Each place you wander, you can buy cool "limited edition" Star Wars merchandise and memorability.

Before You Go (A Few Tips)

Reservations are required to enter Galaxy's Edge through June 23, 2019. I scored mine by booking a night at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels. With a confirmed reservation in hand, you actually have to first go to Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrow Land to pick up a color-coded bracelet, and then you can walk over Galaxy's Edge. It's a little cumbersome, but you can go two hours before your reservation and we didn't face any lines or waiting during this process. Disney was ready and well organized.

Starting June 24, 2019, anyone with a Disneyland ticket can enter Galaxy's Edge, which I suspect will lead to more crowds. Unfortunately, you won't be able to access Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge during Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning. And the land won't have any FASTPASS services, which is a bummer.

Final Thoughts

Like every new land created by the talented Disney Imagineers, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is a stunning testament to functional world-building. My favorite lands remain Cars Land in Disney's California Adventure and Pandora in Disney's Animal Kingdom, but Galaxy's Edge is right up there. It's an astonishing accomplishment that is as close as we can ever get to stepping into Star Wars.

Heck, they even pump in sounds of spaceships taking off or flying over the city. It's so impressive.

Still, I wouldn't come to Disneyland just to see this one land. Yes, it's filled with an infinite number of small details and even the stores feel like mini-attractions unto themselves. But with only one ride (or even with two), there isn't a full day's worth of activities once you get your fill of the incredible production design. 

In that sense, if you don't live in Southern California, it might be best to wait until Galaxy's Edge has both rides running and remind yourself to enjoy the rest of the resort at the same time. Or perhaps the Florida incarnation will work better for you.

Regardless, Star Wars Galaxy's Edge comes highly recommended for Star Wars fans, Disney nerds, and theme park aficionados of all ages. See it for yourself. This is the one you've been waiting to see your whole life.

DARK PHOENIX 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray & Blu-ray Pre-Orders Live
Marvel's mutant superheroes are heading to 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray.

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