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Blu-ray Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


I saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in the theater like most people, and while I loved the look and feel of the movie I wasn't excited by the story or the characters. Sometimes an attitude towards a film can be affected by the mood of the watcher at the time of the viewing, so I was hoping that was the case with me. Plus, sometimes it takes multiple viewings to really "get" a movie. I just recently got this movie on brilliant high definition blu-ray and I have to say that my opinion didn't change a whole lot after this second viewing. I did like it a bit more but I think that's only because the first time I didn't really understand what was going on for the first half of the movie. Unlike the other Star Wars films, this one has no opening crawl. Mildly disappointing, but I understand the decision and am fine with it. My dislikes really started after the opening sequence after the opening scene ends and we begin to jump around to a bunch of locations in a very short amount of time.

It starts out in the past with the main character, Jyn Erso, as a kid. She's being rescued by a friend of the family after hiding from imperials. After that sequence, which is about 6 minutes, we get the title of the movie, Rogue One, and are moved to a scene with her now an adult and in what looks to be a prison cell. Nothing really happens in this scene and about 45 seconds later we're out in space looking at a trading output in the Ring of Kafrene. Is this where the prison is? We're taken inside this outpost and it doesn't look anything like the prison so I guess not. Instead, we're introduced to a new character. His name is Cassian Andor, but we don't know that yet. At this point he's just some guy with a thick blue coat who's talking to some other panicy guy that's dropping a bunch of names that I don't recognize. So I really don't get much out of that scene. Two minutes later and now we're somewhere else, a moon called Jedha, and we're introduced to some other nameless guy, a defector pilot, who really wants to meet with some other guy. That scene lasts about a minute and now we're looking at a planet called Wobani. Jyn is here, but in a prison transport, not a prison cell, and she gets rescued by rebels. That whole scene lasts about a minute and then we're on to another location, Yavin 4. The first time watching this movie I was just baffled and had no idea what was going on. So many scenes in such a short amount of time that didn't add up to anything comprehensible. The second time through I knew the story so I was able to follow what was going on, but even then it felt too disconnected. Slow down!

The next issue I had with the movie is that I really didn't like the main character, Jyn. In the scene I described above briefly, we find her shackled in the back of a prison transport. The door is blown open, the stormtrooper guards are shot, and the rebels move into the transport with one of them going directly to Jyn Erso and asking if she wants to get out of here. She nods yes, he unlocks her restraints, and she immediately kicks him, punches another, and smacks another with a shovel as she breaks for the exit. WTF?! Some some hell of a way to say thanks. And from here on out she pretty much acts like a jerk, caring only about herself and not really growing as a character. She does come around, but it's really late into the film and it's pretty abrupt, and by that point I don't really care.

Those were the two main issues that made me not an immediate fan of this movie, but there were others. Grand Moff Tarkin, for example. They used CGI to bring him back from the dead, but it just looked weird. The technology isn't quite there yet and I think they should have simply recast him with a look alike. Even the second time through I don't really know what he was saying because I was too busy staring at his freaky CGI face and thinking how creepy he looked. Then there was Darth Vader. I loved seeing Vader, but it seemed like they could have found a better place for him. His scene at the very end of the film felt right and was way cool, but his scene in the middle felt pointless, like it was just there so we could see him and for no other actual reason. Plus, he had this one really corny line that I can't believe they didn't cut out.

While I obviously did have some problems with this movie, there were good parts as well. It looked and felt like the original film, which was very nice. I liked the new droid K-2SO who looked cool and had a dry sense of humor which added some needed comic relief. I liked the duo of Chirru and Baze, two warriors who used to guard the kyber crystals that power Jedi lightsabers. I wish we could have seen more of them, they were way more interesting than Jyn and Cassian. I also like how it ended... and I'm going to spoil it here so if you haven't seen it then skip to the next paragraph... every one of our main characters die. It didn't have any emotional impact because I never grew to care about these characters, but I still liked that they killed them off and didn't go for the ultra super mega happy ending.

Overall I just found it to be a so-so movie, better by far than any of the prequels but definitely not better than any of the original films or Episode VII. I know they'll be making more standalone Star Wars films and I'm looking forward to them, especially if they finally move away from Death Star plots. Enough with the giant planet-killers already!

This blu-ray release also includes a bunch of extra features:

  • 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.

All these extras are almost like a separate movie unto itself. I enjoyed them but was quite disappointed that there were no deleted scenes. We know there were deleted scenes because pretty much everything we were shown in the trailers were missing from the film, so what the heck? I would have liked to see what was cut and hear about why. Still, there is alot here and whether you loved it or just thought it was so-so, you'll probably be picking it up to add to your Star Wars collection.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story [Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD], released by Walt Disney Studios, is available starting April 4, 2017.

Press Release: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” the first of the Star Wars standalone films, has established its place within the Star Wars universe and the hearts of moviegoers, becoming the seventh highest-grossing film of all time in the U.S. Fans can own the epic action-adventure thriller -- nominated for two Academy Awards® -- early on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on March 24, and on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and On-Demand on April 4.

Never-before-seen “Rogue One” bonus material will take fans behind the scenes with the movie’s diverse, dynamic cast and inspired team of filmmakers. An intimate collection of stories reveals how the film came to life, as well as hidden Easter Eggs and film facts that audiences may have missed in the theater.

Bonus features 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.

* Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is directed by Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla,” “Monsters”) and produced by Kathleen Kennedy, p.g.a., Allison Shearmur, p.g.a. (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Cinderella”) and Simon Emanuel, p.g.a. (“The Dark Knight Rises”). Veteran ILM visual effects supervisor John Knoll, (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) whom shares a long history with the Star Wars films, is executive producer alongside Jason McGatlin (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “War of the Worlds”). The story is by John Knoll and Gary Whitta (“The Book of Eli,” “After Earth”), and the screenplay was written by Chris Weitz (“The Golden Compass,” “About a Boy”) and Tony Gilroy (“The Bourne Legacy,” “Michael Clayton”).

Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything,” “Like Crazy”) heads up the cast and stars opposite Diego Luna (“Milk,” “Elysium”). Joining them are Ben Mendelsohn (“Bloodline,” “Animal Kingdom”), Mads Mikkelsen (“Casino Royale,” TV’s “Hannibal”), Alan Tudyk (“Frozen,” “I, Robot”), Riz Ahmed (“Nightcrawler,” “Jason Bourne”) and Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland,” “The Butler”). The film also welcomes two of China’s biggest stars, Donnie Yen (“Ip Man,” “Blade II”) and Jiang Wen (“Let the Bullets Fly,” “The Sun Also Rises”). In addition, Anthony Daniels (“Star Wars: A New Hope,” “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”) reprises his role of C-3PO, marking his eighth appearance in a Star Wars film.

To create the distinctive and contemporary look of the film, Edwards chose revered cinematographer Greig Fraser (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Foxcatcher”). Visual effects supervisors John Knoll and Mohen Leo (Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man,” “The Martian”) team up with special effects supervisor Neil Corbould (“Black Hawk Down,” “Saving Private Ryan”) and ILM animation supervisor Hal Hickel (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest,” “Iron Man”). Star Wars veteran Doug Chiang (Star Wars Episodes I and II, “Forrest Gump”) and Neil Lamont (supervising art director on “The Force Awakens” and the “Harry Potter” film series) join forces as production designers, and Neal Scanlan (“Prometheus”) returns to do special creature effects, having recently worked on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Additional key crew include costume designers Dave Crossman (costume supervisor on The Force Awakens and the “Harry Potter” film series) and Glyn Dillon (“The Force Awakens” and “Kingsman: The Secret Service” costume concept artist), as well as stunt coordinator Rob Inch (“The Force Awakens,” “World War Z”).

The music is by composer Michael Giacchino (“Star Trek Beyond,” “Zootopia”), with original Star Wars music by John Williams. The editors for the film are John Gilroy, ACE (“Nightcrawler,” “The Bourne Legacy”), Jabez Olssen (“The Hobbit” trilogy) and Colin Goudie (“Monsters”).

DISC SPECIFICATIONS

FEATURE RUN TIME
Approximately 133 min.
RATING
PG-13 in U.S.; PG in CE; G in CF
ASPECT RATIO
Blu-ray 3D Feature Film =2.39:1
Blu-ray Feature Film = 2.39:1
DVD Feature Film = 2.39:1
AUDIO
Blu-ray = English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio,
French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks
DVD = English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital,
English 2.0 Descriptive Audio Language Tracks
LANGUAGES
English, French & Spanish
SUBTITLES
English SDH, French & Spanish

SOCIAL MEDIA

Website: http://www.starwars.com/rogue-one
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StarWarsMovies
Twitter: https://twitter.com/StarWars
Instagram: http://instagram.com/StarWarsMovies
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/starwars

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