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Category:    Home > Reviews > Adventure > Action > Space Opera > Science Fiction > War > Comedy > Drama > Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016/Lucasfilm/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016/Lucasfilm/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)

Picture: B+/B- Sound: A/B Extras: B Film: B+

Simply put, Rogue One (2016) is a landmark in the history of Star Wars. An experiment on behalf of Lucasfilm, which is now under the care of mega-film producer Kathleen Kennedy to see if Star Wars spin-off films could work for fans or met with harsh criticism, much as the prequels did.

Unlike last year's The Force Awakens (2016), which took place later down the timeline, this Star Wars film is set in between Episodes 3 and 4 - serving as a lead-in A New Hope and filling in some narrative gaps that George Lucas left open. In this case, the formation of the Rebel Alliance and the stealing of the Empire's Death Star Plans, which ultimately end up in the hands of Princess Leia (the late, great Carrie Fisher.) In this film, Jyn Erso (Jones) - whose Father helped create the plans - ends up working with the rebellion.

The other ''first'' for Rogue One is the fact that no Jedi Knights make an appearance, with the main character being Felicity Jones' Jyn Erso - a strong and intelligent warrior who isn't quite sure what side she should be on. Also risky for the film is the inclusion of the late actor Peter Cushing into the role of Grand Moff Tarkin, a motion captured performance which resurrected a late actor from the dead - crafting a performance that he didn't necessarily play, having died decades ago. (If only Christopher Nolan would have done this for this third Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, with Heath Ledger as the Joker character which was originally intended to be included, that film could have been much different.) Also worth noting (SPOILER!!!!!) is the inclusion of a digitally recreated young Leia, which had the blessing of the actress before she passed in December.

Knocking the ball out of the park is Director Gareth Edwards (2014's Godzilla, Monsters) who lends his unique (and wide lensed, particularly remarkable ones just revived by Tarantino's Hateful Eight) visual style to the Star Wars universe and creates some astonishingly well crafted characters (both human and otherwise) and successfully mixes them with faces from previous outings.

Starring in the film along the lead in Felicity Jones are Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Forest Whitaker, Jimmy Smits, and a great performance by Mads Mikkelsen to name just a few. James Earl Jones also returns as the voice of cinema's greatest villain, Darth Vader, who has a few outstandingly strong moments in Rogue One, namely a vicious slaughtering of Rebels that made me giggle with delight.

The high definition presentation of Rogue One in 1080p high definition looks incredible with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 (the first all-Ultra HD digital shoot of a film in the series, lensed by Director of Photography Greig Fraser, ACS, ASC (Zero Dark Thirty, Let Me In, Killing Them Softly, Lion, Foxcatcher)) and a great sounding, lossless 7.1 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) track that sounds stunning, even as a mixdown from the 12-track theatrical release. Skywalker Sound has done its usual state-of-the-art work with the sound mix here and the incredible score by Michael Giacchino (the first composer to fill in for John Williams on a Star Wars film) is captured in great detail. This pushes the limits of the format and one can only look forward to an inevitable 4K UHD release in years to come when Disney begins to support the format.

Also in this edition is the standard definition DVD with an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track; both of which are average for the format and pale in comparison to the clarity of Blu-ray.

A digital UV copy is also included.

Special Features (on its own disc) include...

A Rogue Idea - Hear how ILM's John Knoll came up with the movie's concept - and why it's the right film to launch the Star Wars stand-alone films.

Jyn: The Rebel - Get to know Rogue One's defiant, resourceful survivor, and hear what it was like for Felicity Jones to bring her to life onscreen.

Cassian: The Spy - Diego Luna shares insights into his complex, driven character, who becomes a hero through selflessness, perseverance and passion.

K-2SO: The Droid - Explore the development of this reprogrammed Imperial droid, from initial pitch and character design through Alan Tudyk's performance.

Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills - Go deeper into the relationship between these two very different characters, with Chinese superstars Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen.

Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary - Forest Whitaker and Riz Ahmed reflect on Saw Gerrera, the broken Rebel leader, and Bodhi Rook, the Imperial pilot who defects.

The Empire - Meet a dangerous new Imperial adversary... and cross paths once more with the most iconic villain of all time.

Visions of Hope: The Look of "Rogue One" - The filmmakers describe the challenges and thrills of developing a bold new look for the movie that can fit within the world of the original trilogy.

The Princess & The Governor - See what it took to bring the vibrant young princess of Star Wars: A New Hope, as well as one of her most memorable foes - back to the screen.

Epilogue: The Story Continues - Filmmakers and cast celebrate Rogue One's premiere and look forward into the future, to the Star Wars stories yet to be told.

Rogue Connections - Uncover Easter eggs and film facts hidden throughout the movie that connect Rogue One to the Star Wars universe.


Target Exclusive: 5-disc set includes collectible packaging with interchangeable character covers and exclusive bonus content (Blu-ray 3D + two Blu-ray + DVD + DVD exclusive content + 2 additional bonus features + Digital HD + collectible packaging)

Best Buy Exclusive: 4-disc set with exclusive SteelBook packaging (Blu-ray 3D + two Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD + SteelBook packaging)

Wal Mart Exclusive: 3-disc set with exclusive K-2SO packaging and two Galactic Connexions trading discs (two Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD + K-2SO packaging + two Galactic Connexions trading discs).

While I'm sure another edition of the film will pop up towards the end of the year with more unearthed extras, Rogue One is probably one of the more well received films by both critics and fans in the Star Wars universe in recent years.

- James Lockhart



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