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Blu-ray Review: A Star is Born Encore

June 4, 2019

By John Corrado

★★★★ (out of 4)

After becoming a hit in theatres, and winning the Best Original Song Oscar for “Shallow,” A Star is Born was re-released in theatres earlier this spring following its initial Blu-ray release, to include about twelve minutes of added footage. This “encore edition” of the film is now available on Blu-ray.

While the original cut was one of my favourite movies of last year, I really enjoyed this version as well. The added footage is actually quite good and doesn’t disrupt the already seamless flow of the movie, and it’s nice to see some extra moments here and there, with the changes ranging from certain scenes being extended by a few beats, to entirely new sequences that have been put back in.

While the twelve minutes of new footage wasn’t really needed in the original release, it does add a bit more breathing room to some of the scenes, particularly an extended sequence showing more of Jackson Maine’s (Bradley Cooper) rehearsal for the Roy Orbison tribute at the Grammys. We get an entirely new conversation between him and the young singer Marlon Williams, who is brought in at the last minute to replace him as the lead vocalist, and I think this scene really gives us a good idea of his headspace at the moment and makes us understand why he goes backstage and gets wasted before going on stage.

Several of the film’s musical numbers are also extended, and a few musical moments have been added back in. For example, the blazing opening performance of “Black Eyes” is now longer. We also get to hear Ally (Lady Gaga) performing the song “Is That Alright?” during the wedding sequence, which was already included on the film’s soundtrack release. The parking lot scene is a bit extended to show Ally singing more of “Shallow” for the first time. This is a moment that doesn’t really need to be extended, as it suggests that she has already written most of the song which downplays Jackson’s contributions to it, but the scene still works well either way.

An impromptu performance of “Midnight Special” that is sung on the tour bus, which was included on the original Blu-ray release as a bonus feature, is added back in. We get footage of Jackson performing “Too Far Gone,” another song that was included on the soundtrack, in the studio. There’s also a new scene, which was seen in the trailers, where Jackson and Ally write a new song called “Clover” on an empty stage during their first tour. It’s a nice moment between them, and I would love to hear a full version of the song. The zipline scene that was glimpsed in the trailer is also added back in here, and it’s a really cute moment that shows more of a sweet, playful side to their relationship.

Furthermore, Dave Chapelle gets a few more lines, and there is also a nice new scene with Jackson’s counsellor (Ron Rifkin) in rehab. While it’s a lot of little moments that have been added in, by and large I think they actually work quite well. When I saw the encore version of A Star is Born in theatres, it was my third viewing of the film after seeing it at TIFF and then again during its short release in IMAX, and I was still just as enthralled and moved by the story and performances. More casual viewers might not feel the need to double dip if they already purchased a copy, but the encore version is worth seeing for fans, and offers a more complete way to own one of the best movies of last year.

The Blu-ray also includes a selection of musical moments, which are essentially isolated versions of the performances from the film, as well as the original theatrical version. This special edition was inevitable considering the lack of deleted scenes on the original Blu-ray release and the amount of footage that was reportedly shot and ended up on the cutting room floor, but it’s a bit disappointing that the other bonus features from that release, which I reviewed right here, aren’t included on this disc. So there is still a chance for another special edition release in the future that includes both versions of the film as well as the bonus features. The set also comes with a regular DVD that houses just the theatrical cut.

A Star is Born: Special Encore Edition is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release. The encore version is 147 minutes and the theatrical version is 136 minutes, both are rated 14A.

Street Date: June 4th, 2019

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2019 4:20 pm

    Terrific review. Not yet decided which version to buy, but this detailed analysis really makes it a pleasure to choose. Great movie, great review.

    Like

  2. June 5, 2019 12:21 am

    Thanks for your kind words, and I agree about this being a great movie! I think it really comes down to whether you want the extra scenes or the bonus features on the first release, but I do really like the extended version of the film. 🙂

    Like

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