Risk is abundant in director Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first standalone franchise entry set outside the greater Skywalker story line with all-new main cast comprised of misfits and outcasts. That risk doesn’t translate into a fairly safe and straightforward Blu-ray release, but the film’s strength more than makes up for any bonus deficiencies.
A lot had to go right for Rogue One to work starting with the performance of Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso. She’s the anti-Luke Skywalker; a reluctant heroine who wants nothing more than to return to a peaceful farming life with her father. Jones plays the character with casual spunk unlike any Star Wars hero we’ve seen to-date, and that in and of itself is refreshing.
Jyn gets a lot of help from a supporting cast including sarcastic reprogrammed Imperial droid who steals every scene he’s in (Alan Tudyk), a pair of characters who might as well be the flesh-and-bone embodiment of R2-D2 and C-3PO (Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen), a conflicted veteran rebel fighter (Diego Luna), and a nearly brainwashed Imperial pilot who finds redemption (Riz Ahmed).
The downside to the fate of these eclectic characters is we don’t get to spend as much time with them as we’d like. Future animation may bring them back, but their chapter in Star Wars lore will go done as short yet powerful one.
One of the riskiest decisions in Rogue One, even riskier than bringing back two Original Trilogy characters via CGI, was to bring back iconic villain Darth Vader for two scenes. By film’s end he’s surprisingly more menacing than ever before, and I cannot help but want to see more of Vader in combat during his prime.
Disney and Lucasfilm correctly opted to place the Rogue One film on its own Blu-ray Disc and the bonus features on a separate disc. That kind of studio move foreshadows a strong feature presentation and Rogue One does not disappoint. All of the unique environments, whether heavy in CGI or not, look fantastic and lifelike with natural depth.
A 7.1 DTS-HD soundtrack is also spot-on, especially during the first Death Star test and final act battle. Make sure the volume is turned up and subwoofer activated during these sequences. You won’t be disappointed.
On paper the Rogue One bonus features appear loaded yet the run-time for them all is barely over an hour. Everything presented, especially insight on the Rogue One team and behind-the-scenes look at creating Tarkin and Leia, is captivating. It seems like there’s much more material available being saved for a later release. Even the Easter Eggs are cut short with a promise that more of them are in there if you look.
- A Rogue Idea
- Jyn: The Rebel
- Cassian: The Spy
- K-2SO: 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
I have watched Rogue One: A Star Wars Story once on Blu-ray following two times in theaters. All three viewing were equally as entertaining and I cannot wait to pop the Blu-ray back in for future viewings.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Combo will be available to own starting April 4th, 2017.
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