Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
April 2, 2017 by Dennis Amith
I do recognize the pure awesomeness of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and its ending still makes an impact each time I watch it. And as mentioned earlier, for a sci-fi action-film, when you come across a film that makes you want to watch it multiple times, you know it’s a winner. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is highly recommended!
TITLE: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
FILM RELEASE: 2017
DURATION: 133 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:39:1), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
RATED: PG-13 (For Extended Sequences of Sci-Violence and Action)
RELEASE DATE: April 4, 2017
Based on Characters Created by George Lucas
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy
Story by John Kroll & Gary Whitta
Produced by Simon Emanuel, Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur
Co-Producer: Kiri Hart, John Swartz, Susan Towner
Executive Producer: John Knoll, Jason D. McGatlin
Associate Producer: Toby Hefferman
Music by Michael Giacchino
Cinematography by Greig Fraser
Edited by John Gilroy, Colin Goudie, Jabez Olssen
Casting by Jina Jay
Production Design by Doug Chiang, Neil Lamont
Art Direction by Alex Baily, Alastair Bullock, Robert Cowper, Jordana Finkel, Lydia Fry, Ashley Lamont, Steven Lawrence, Oliver Roberts, Stuart Rose, Stephen Swain, Gary Tomkins, Helen Xenopoulos
Set Decoration by Lee Sandales
Costume Design by David Crossman, Glyn Dillon
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso
Diego Luna as Cassian Andor
Alan Tudyk as K-2SO
Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe
Wen Jiang as Baze Malbus
Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic
Guy Henry as Governor Tarkin
Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera
Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook
Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso
Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa
Alistair Petrie as General Draven
Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma
Ben Daniels as General Merrick
Paul Kasey as Admiral Raddus
Stephen Stanton as Admiral Raddus (Voice)
Ian McElhinney as General Dodonna
Fares Fares as Senator Vaspar
Jonathan Aris as Senator Jebel
Sharaon Duncan-Brewster as Senator Pamlo
Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous as Darth Vader
James Earl Jones as Darth Vader (voice)
Ingvild as Princess Leia
Anthony Daniels as C-3P0
Valene Kane as Lyra Erso
From Lucasfilm comes the first of the STAR WARS stand-alone films — ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, an epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the STAR WARS timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.
Ten years before the development of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, visual effects supervisor John Knoll who worked on the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy pitched the idea of standalone “Star Wars” stories.
And in 2014, it was announced that the first standalone story “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” would be directed by Gareth Edwards (“Monsters”, “Godzilla”) and a story would be written by Knoll (visual effects supervisor for “Avatar”, “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”, “Tomorrowland”) and Gary Whitta (“The Book of Eli”, “After Earth”) and a screenplay by Chris Weitz (“About a Boy”, “The Golden Compass”, “Cinderella”) and Tony Gilroy (writer of the “The Bourne” films).
The film starred Felicity Jones (“The Amazing Spider-Man”, “Inferno”, “The Theory of Everything”), Diego Luna (“Milk”, “The Terminal”, “The Book of Life”), the voice of Alan Tudyk (“I, Robot”, “Frozen”), Donnie Yen (“Ip Man” films, “Blade II”, “Hero”), Wen Jiang (“Devils on the Doorstep”, “Let the Bullets Fly”, “The Sun Also Rises”), Ben Mendelsohn (“Animal Kingdom”, “The Dark Knight Rises”), Guy Henry (“Holby City”, “V for Vendetta”, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1”), Forrest Whitaker (“The Last Kingdom of Scotland”, “Platoon”, “Arrival”), Riz Ahmed (“Four Lions”, “Jason Bourne”, “Nightcrawler”) and Mads Mikkelsen (“Casino Royale”, “The Hunt”, “Doctor Strange”, “Hannibal”).
The film that was budgeted at $200 million, would become an enormous success as it would go on to earn $1.055 billion worldwide.
And now the film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in April 2017.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” begins with research scientist Galen Erso (portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen) and his wife Lyra (portrayed by Valene Kane) hiding their young daughter Jyn on the planet Lah’mu. Not long after, Imperial weapons developer Orson Krennic (portrayed by Orson Krennic) arrives and approaches Erso to complete his work for the Death Star (a space station that has a superweapon to destroy planets).
Sensing that their daughter did not hide underground as told, Lyra fights against the stormtrooper and is killed. As Erso gives himself up, Jyn manages to escape and is taken in by Rebel extremist Saw Gerrera (portrayed by Forest Whitaker).
Fastfoward 15-years later and cargo pilot Bodhi Rook (portrayed by Riz Ahmed) defects from the empire and smuggles a holographic message from Galen Erso for Saw Gerrera on the desert moon Jedha about the Imperial Army creating a planet killer, the Death Star.
Meanwhile, rebel intelligence officer Cassian Andor enters an Imperial labor camp at Wobani and along with his reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO frees Jyn (portrayed by Felicity Jones). Cassian takes Jyn to Rebel leader Mon Mothma, and in exchange for her freedom, she must rescue Galen so the Alliance can learn about the Death Star.
But in order to find her father, he must find Rebel extremist, Saw Gerrera, who she hasn’t seen for years to help her.
But Jyn is unaware that Cassian has been ordered by General Draven to kill her father father, not rescue him.
What happens when Jyn, Cassian and K-2SO go out to find Saw but also for Jyn to find her father, Galen? And who else will join Jyn in her journey to find her father?
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio).
The film looks absolutely wonderful in HD with closeups showing detail of skin pigments to seeing the detail in clothing. Outdoor scenes are vibrant and the CG utilized for the film is incredible. This is reference quality video and the film on Blu-ray looks fantastic!
For the most part, I didn’t notice any problematic issues with banding or artifacts during my viewing of the film.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Also, included is an English 2.0 Description Audio and a French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.
Dialogue is crystal clear and there is good use of surround channels as chase scenes and shots and explosions can be heard all around. Action sequences are just fantastic to listen to, dialogue and music are crystal clear and yes, like the video, the film on Blu-ray features reference lossless audio. Fantastic!
Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” comes with the following special features on a separate Blu-ray disc.
- The Stories – (1:08:57) Featuring the following featurettes: A Rogue Idea, Jyn: The Rebel, Cassian: The Spy, K-250: The Droid, Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills, Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary, The Empire, Visions of Hope: The Look of Rogue One, The Princess & the Governor, Epilogue: The Story Continues
- Rogue Connections – (4:30) A connection between “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and the previous “Star Wars” films.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” comes with a slipcover, two Blu-rays (for the film and special features), a DVD and a Digital HD code.
If you love “Star Wars”, especially the original trilogy, you will most definitely want to watch “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” which serves as a self-contained storyline that eventually leads to the beginning of “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”.
As a “Star Wars” fan, a person who has watched every film when it first came out in the theater and also a fan who has a large “Star Wars” merchandise collection. Suffice to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect of this film.
Fortunately, watching “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” and having enjoyed it immensely, gave me enough encouragement to know that LucasFilms now owned by Disney is taking every precaution to make sure that these newer films tie-in to the original and that there is true meaning and reasoning for these films to be created, other than for the fact that “Star Wars” films generate huge revenue.
With “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, the connection is quite upfront. We know about the Death Star from “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” and how the Empire created a planet killer that happens to have a significant flaw. How did this flaw come to existence and how was the information passed on to the Rebel Alliance?
The film introduces us to Galen Erso, the scientist responsible for creating the Death Star. Forced to work for the Empire in order to keep his daughter Jyn safe, a cargo pilot named Bhodi Rook defects from the Empire and smuggles a holographic message from Galen to Rebel extremist Saw Gerrera.
Meanwhile, Jyn has lived a life of crime but has been given a second chance by the Rebel Alliance for her freedom, she must find Saw Gerrera (portrayed by Forest Whitaker) in order to get more information about this flaw in the Death Star that the Rebel Alliance can take advantage of the opportunity and destroy it.
Actress Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso, the headstrong, rebellious daughter of Galen Erso, while Mexican actor Diego Luna plays the role of Cassian Andor, who must accompany Jyn in finding Saw Gerrera but also hoping she can lead him to Galen Erso.
The two are joined by K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial robot who serves as the film’s comedy droid thanks to his blunt observations.
Joining Jyn are Chirrut Imwe portrayed by Chinese martial arts superstar Donnie Yen and also another popular Chinese actor Wen Jiang as the heavy weapon toting Baze Malbus.
And of course, there are connections to both Star Wars trilogies. While Peter Cushing who played General Tarkin in the original “Star Wars” trilogy passed away in 1994, with new technology, General Tarkin’s likeness has been created, while British actor Guy Henry supplies Tarkin’s voice. And Anthony Daniels reprises his role as the voice of C-3PO.
For the newer trilogy, Genevieve O’Reilly who played Mon Mothma in “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”, reprises her role for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and Jimmy Smits (who started in “Star Wars: Episode II” and “Star Wars: Episode III”) reprises his role as Senator Bail Organa.
And of course, if you watched “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”, you know which major characters from that film’s beginning, will show up in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” to provide a connection between the two films.
What makes this film so entertaining is that this newfound team that Jyn is a part of, are opposites but know that the threat from the Empire is real and must do all they can to find the information on how to destroy the Death Star and get it to the Rebel Alliance.
I found the story to be captivating, the acting quite solid, the visual effects, set production and costume design to be magnificent and for a self-contained story, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was wonderful. In fact, when I watched in the theater, there was a part of me that wanted to watch it again. And now that I’m reviewing the film on Blu-ray, I think I’ve watched it five times already. That’s how much I really enjoyed this film.
The picture quality and lossless audio soundtrack are both reference quality and you get numerous special features that will surely entertain fans of the film.
But I’m not going to give it a perfect five stars because clearly, they held out on making this Blu-ray release quite definitive. There are no special features, audio commentary or the long special features that we have come to enjoy from a “Star Wars” film. While there will be a Blu-ray 3D release (that will be released the same time as the normal Blu-ray and DVD release), you can’t help but feel that there will be another release that will feature more and longer special features in the future.
And for audiophiles and videophiles, many await news of a 4K Ultra HD release of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”.
But still, I do recognize the pure awesomeness of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and its ending still makes an impact each time I watch it. And as mentioned earlier, for a sci-fi action-film, when you come across a film that makes you want to watch it multiple times, you know it’s a winner.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is highly recommended!
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